What is a medical monitor and how does a person become one?

Dan Sfera
2 min readJan 14, 2016

Unless you are in the clinical research industry, you won’t really know or have a reason to know what a medical monitor is. I recently received a call from a potential client who is a non-practicing physician who owns a couple of laser hair removal clinics and wants to become a CRA. I told her that as a licensed M.D. in the United States, she is over qualified for this position. The good news is that she has the opportunity to become medical monitor and she didn’t even know it until I suggested it to her. I believe that there are many people out there that may fall into this same category and are unaware of this potential career opportunity. Being a medical monitor is a great career choice: it has less relative workload than what is required from a CRA, it requires minimal amount of travel, and pays significantly better than a typical CRA salary. There is still a huge demand for medical monitors in the clinical research industry. Most medical monitors are Pharm Ds or MDs who are not actually seeing, treating or even researching the patients in a study. Their job duties pretty much entail answering questions from sites and other physicians who are actually seeing, treating and researching the subjects in a clinical trial. Typically, a medical monitor starts out as a PI who owns their own research site or work for an academic institution and eventually comes in contact with a CRA who mentions the idea of being a medical monitor. The catch is, this individual needs some clinical research experience before any CRO or Sponsor would be willing to hire them. The easiest way to gain experience is to open your own site. It doesn’t have to be expensive or big and my team can consult for you for a small fee and help set everything up. We can get you research studies and find you study coordinators. Once you have done enough studies and roughly add 10–15 protocols under your CV, you will have enough experience on your resume for a CRO to potentially hire you. The experience you acquired as well as connections you made will allow you to apply for the clinical monitor position.

In summary, to become a medical monitor, a physician should become a PI at either an academic institution or own a clinical site of their own. Owning a site can cost you some capital but you will gain more experience faster and get hands-on practice in a clinical research setting. Once you are hired, you can hire someone to oversee your research clinic and generate passive income while you are working full time as medical monitor.

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