Clinical Research Coordinator Career Ladder
Photo of a woman in scrubs sitting in front of a computer

A path for career progression.

In 2022, Michigan Medicine implemented a career ladder for all staff currently performing clinical research coordinator work.


Research is one of the primary missions of Michigan Medicine. Recognizing the talent and expertise of these individuals to our mission as well as professionalizing the role was one of the top priorities identified by department chairs as part of their strategy to transform the clinical trials enterprise at Michigan Medicine. In recent years, the number of individuals performing important work to administer research has increased and the market titles assigned to these individuals have not been consistent across the organization. This series of job titles within clinical research will be a more consistent way to classify employees based on their responsibilities, competencies, and experience. This series also provides employees with a clear path for career progression within Michigan Medicine.

The following are market titles in this career ladder:

  • Clinical Research Assistant (103921)
  • Clinical Research Technician (103922)
  • Clinical Research Coordinator Associate (103923)
  • Clinical Research Coordinator Intermediate (103924)
  • Clinical Research Coordinator Senior (103925)
  • Clinical Research Coordinator Lead (103926)
  • Clinical Research Project Manager (103927)

View the Michigan Medicine policy outlining the required use of the Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) career ladder.

How Do Units Decide What is the Appropriate New Title for Each Staff Member?

A summary of the job descriptions is available in U-M Career Path Navigator, as linked above, and in Michigan Medicine Total Rewards. U-M supervisors and staff can review the detailed job descriptions (requires login) and summary job grid for the most appropriate title based on position responsibilities and an individual’s competencies. After determining the appropriate title, download the respective template (requires login) for job postings.

To ensure consistency of use across the organization, the Senior, Lead or Project Manager titles will require review by CRC Governance Board prior to job posting, candidate offer, and reclassifications.

If the Career Title Requires Certification, Who Pays for Employees to be Certified?

As we professionalize the clinical research coordinator role at Michigan Medicine, professional certification is a key component of career progression in our competency- and training-based framework. ACRP CCRC, SoCRA CCRP, or equivalent certification is required for any positions at CRC – Associate or higher with new employees permitted six months from start date to acquire.

The expense of certification will be the responsibility of the hiring individual (e.g., PI) or central unit (e.g., Department, Division, Center, Institute, Program, etc.). The hiring individual or central unit will be responsible for the costs associated with clinical research coordinators maintaining their certification, such as continuing education and recertification fees. The source of funds for these expenses may include institutional funds, gift funds, or sponsored projects, as appropriate and proportional to the activity of the individual. 

For more information on certification reimbursements, click here

What are the CRC Career Ladder Competencies?

The CRC Career Ladder competency domains:

  1. Scientific Concepts
  2. Ethical and Participant Safety Concerns
  3. Investigational Products Development and Regulations
  4. Clinical Study Operations
  5. Study and Site Management
  6. Data Management and Informatics
  7. Leadership and Professionalism
  8. Communication and Teamwork

These competencies were developed by the Joint Task Force for Clinical Trial Competency, an international team of investigators, educators, and clinical research professionals. This framework defines the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for conducting safe, ethical, and high-quality clinical research.

Additional Resources
Contact Us
Clinical Trials Support Office
Medical School Office of Research
M-CTSU: North Campus Research Complex, Building 520
O-CTSU: North Campus Research Complex, Building 300
2800 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
About Us

The Clinical Trials Support Office is a unit of the Medical School Office of Research, where our mission is to foster an environment of innovation and efficiency that serves the Michigan Medicine research community and supports biomedical science from insight to impact.