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Clinical Specialist Careers

Clinical specialists work alongside other technologies to carry out lab experiments and tests. Their specific duties vary depending on their training and specialty. However, these duties may include analyzing samples for bacteria, checking blood and urine samples, and preparing cell cultures.

Clinical specialists may also work with clinical technicians to clean equipment and take care of the laboratory. They report to the head clinical specialist or to the scientist in charge of the project.

These professionals have to do a relatively limited range of tasks on a continuous basis. Thus, focus and concentration are critical skills for the job. Others include critical thinking, precision, and communication.

To become a clinical specialist, you need a bachelor's degree in medical technology or related fields. The educational requirements are flexible depending on the role you're filling and the organization's nature.

What Does a Clinical Specialist Do

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.

Duties

Registered nurses typically do the following:

  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Administer patients’ medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
  • Observe patients and record the observations
  • Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatment

Most registered nurses work as part of a team with physicians and other healthcare specialists. Some registered nurses oversee licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides.

Registered nurses’ duties and titles often depend on where they work and the patients they work with. For example, an oncology nurse may work with cancer patients or a geriatric nurse may work with elderly patients. Some registered nurses combine one or more areas of practice. For example, a pediatric oncology nurse works with children and teens who have cancer.

Many possibilities for working with specific patient groups exist. The following list includes just a few examples:

Addiction nurses care for patients who need help to overcome addictions to alcohol, drugs, and other substances.

Cardiovascular nurses care for patients with heart disease and people who have had heart surgery.

Critical care nurses work in intensive-care units in hospitals, providing care to patients with serious, complex, and acute illnesses and injuries that need very close monitoring and treatment.

Genetics nurses provide screening, counseling, and treatment for patients with genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.

Neonatology nurses take care of newborn babies.

Nephrology nurses care for patients who have kidney-related health issues stemming from diabetes, high blood pressure, substance abuse, or other causes.

Rehabilitation nurses care for patients with temporary or permanent disabilities.

Registered nurses may work to promote public health, by educating people on warning signs and symptoms of disease or managing chronic health conditions. They may also run health screenings, immunization clinics, blood drives, or other community outreach programs. Other nurses staff the health clinics in schools.

Some nurses do not work directly with patients, but they must still have an active registered nurse license. For example, they may work as nurse educators, healthcare consultants, public policy advisors, researchers, hospital administrators, salespeople for pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, or as medical writers and editors.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). They provide direct patient care in one of many nursing specialties, such as psychiatric-mental health or pediatrics. CNSs also provide indirect care, by working with other nurses and various other staff to improve the quality of care that patients receive. They often serve in leadership roles and may educate and advise other nursing staff. CNSs also may conduct research and may advocate for certain policies.

How To Become a Clinical Specialist

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses also must be licensed.

Education

In all nursing education programs, students take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. BSN programs typically take 4 years to complete; ADN and diploma programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete. All programs include supervised clinical experience.

Bachelor’s degree programs usually include additional education in the physical and social sciences, communication, leadership, and critical thinking. These programs also offer more clinical experience in nonhospital settings. A bachelor’s degree or higher is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.

Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs (bachelor’s, associate’s, or diploma) qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse. However, employers—particularly those in hospitals—may require a bachelor’s degree.

Many registered nurses with an ADN or diploma choose to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree through an RN-to-BSN program. There are also master’s degree programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, and accelerated programs for those who wish to enter the nursing profession and already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) must earn a master’s degree in nursing and typically already have 1 or more years of work experience as an RN or in a related field. CNSs who conduct research typically need a doctoral degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, registered nurses must have a nursing license. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Other requirements for licensing vary by state. Each state’s board of nursing can give details. For more information on the NCLEX-RN and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Nurses may become certified through professional associations in specific areas, such as ambulatory care, gerontology, and pediatrics, among others. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a higher standard, and some employers require it.

CNSs must satisfy additional state licensing requirements, such as earning specialty certifications. Contact state boards of nursing for specific requirements.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Registered nurses must be able to assess changes in the health status of patients, including determining when to take corrective action and when to make referrals.

Communication skills. Registered nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients in order to understand their concerns and assess their health conditions. Nurses need to explain instructions, such as how to take medication, clearly. They must be able to work in teams with other health professionals and communicate the patients’ needs.

Compassion. Registered nurses should be caring and empathetic when caring for patients.

Detail oriented. Registered nurses must be responsible and detail oriented because they must make sure that patients get the correct treatments and medicines at the right time.

Emotional stability. Registered nurses need emotional resilience and the ability to manage their emotions to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses.

Organizational skills. Nurses often work with multiple patients with various health needs. Organizational skills are critical to ensure that each patient is given appropriate care.

Physical stamina. Nurses should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as moving patients. They may be on their feet for most of their shift.

Advancement

Most registered nurses begin as staff nurses in hospitals or community health settings. With experience, good performance, and continuous education, they can move to other settings or be promoted to positions with more responsibility.

In management, nurses can advance from assistant clinical nurse manager, charge nurse, or head nurse to more senior-level administrative roles, such as assistant director or director of nursing, vice president of nursing, or chief nursing officer. Increasingly, management-level nursing positions are requiring a graduate degree in nursing or health services administration. Administrative positions require leadership, communication skills, negotiation skills, and good judgment.

Some nurses move into the business side of healthcare. Their nursing expertise and experience on a healthcare team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care businesses. Employers—including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, among others—need registered nurses for jobs in health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance.

Some RNs choose to become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners, which, along with clinical nurse specialists, are types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs may provide primary and specialty care, and in many states they may prescribe medications.

Other nurses work as postsecondary teachers in colleges and universities.

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Average Salary
$77,980
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
12%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
36,788
Job Openings

Clinical Specialist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Clinical Specialist

Top Careers After Clinical Specialist

Clinical Specialist Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for a Clinical Specialist

Clinical Specialists in America make an average salary of $77,980 per year or $37 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $123,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $49,000 per year.
Average Salary
$77,980
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Architect? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range78k - 145k$107k$107,214
New York, NY
Salary Range68k - 130k$94k$94,308
Saint Paul, MN
Salary Range66k - 116k$88k$87,566
Austin, TX
Salary Range61k - 112k$83k$83,018
Phoenix, AZ
Salary Range61k - 111k$83k$82,620
Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ
Salary Range59k - 114k$82k$82,355
$38k
$145k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Clinical Specialist
Clinical Specialist
Keystone Human Services
Keystone Human Services
06/30/2021
06/30/2021
$37,60806/30/2021
$37,608
Epidemiology Clinical Specialist-Infection Prevention Dept
Epidemiology Clinical Specialist-Infection Prevention Dept
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Nationwide Children's Hospital
06/23/2021
06/23/2021
$62,56806/23/2021
$62,568
Clinical Specialist Anesthesia
Clinical Specialist Anesthesia
Legacy Health
Legacy Health
06/12/2021
06/12/2021
$45,26706/12/2021
$45,267
Clinical Denial Specialist
Clinical Denial Specialist
Randstad
Randstad
06/08/2021
06/08/2021
$42,13706/08/2021
$42,137
Clinical Rehab Specialist PRN
Clinical Rehab Specialist PRN
HCA
HCA
06/05/2021
06/05/2021
$78,97206/05/2021
$78,972
See More Recent Salaries

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Clinical Specialist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Clinical Specialist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Clinical Specialist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Clinical Specialist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Clinical Specialist Demographics

Gender

female

65.4 %

male

28.7 %

unknown

5.9 %

Ethnicity

White

69.4 %

Black or African American

11.3 %

Asian

8.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.5 %

French

4.2 %

Hindi

3.0 %
See More Demographics

Clinical Specialist Education

Majors

Nursing
27.2 %

Degrees

Bachelors

51.7 %

Masters

15.6 %

Associate

12.9 %

Top Colleges for Clinical Specialists

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

4. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

5. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

7. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

8. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407

9. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

10. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Clinical Specialist That You May Like

Design and Interpretation of Clinical Trials
coursera

Clinical trials are experiments designed to evaluate new interventions to prevent or treat disease in humans. The interventions evaluated can be drugs, devices (e.g, hearing aid), surgeries, behavioral interventions (e.g, smoking cessation program), community health programs (e.g. cancer screening programs) or health delivery systems (e.g, special care units for hospital admissions). We consider clinical trials experiments because the investigators rather than the patients or their doctors selec...

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) + Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) (Vouchers Included)
ed2go

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) + Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) (Vouchers Included)...

Addiction Treatment: Clinical Skills for Healthcare Providers
coursera

This course is designed with a singular goal: to improve the care you provide to your patients with substance use disorders. By delving into a model case performed by actors, seven Yale instructors from various fields provide techniques to screen your patients for substance use disorder risk, diagnose patients to gauge the severity of their use, directly manage treatment plans, refer out to treatment services, and navigate the various conditions that may limit your patient's access to treatment...

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Top Skills For a Clinical Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 14.1% of clinical specialists listed procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and emotional stability are important as well.

Best States For a Clinical Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a clinical specialist. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, California, New York, and Wyoming. Clinical specialists make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $99,944. Whereas in California and New York, they would average $98,784 and $93,184, respectively. While clinical specialists would only make an average of $91,181 in Wyoming, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Connecticut

Total Clinical Specialist Jobs:
363
Highest 10% Earn:
$176,000
Location Quotient:
1.48
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Wyoming

Total Clinical Specialist Jobs:
61
Highest 10% Earn:
$147,000
Location Quotient:
1.37
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New York

Total Clinical Specialist Jobs:
1,286
Highest 10% Earn:
$166,000
Location Quotient:
1.35
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Clinical Specialist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ clinical specialists and discovered their number of clinical specialist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that United Allergy Services was the best, especially with an average salary of $45,663. Medtronic follows up with an average salary of $85,304, and then comes Genentech with an average of $115,315. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a clinical specialist. The employers include Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, and Philips Electronics North America

1. United Allergy Services
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$45,663
Clinical Specialists Hired: 
407+
2. Medtronic
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$85,304
Clinical Specialists Hired: 
247+
3. Genentech
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$115,315
Clinical Specialists Hired: 
184+
4. Humana
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$69,200
Clinical Specialists Hired: 
102+
5. St. Jude Medical Center
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$92,839
Clinical Specialists Hired: 
63+
6. Boston Scientific
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$78,746
Clinical Specialists Hired: 
62+

Clinical Specialist Videos

Updated October 2, 2020