A SAS Clinical Associate is an individual who is competent at using SAS programming skills for clinical work. Recent studies show that SAS analytics skills for clinical research are the most valuable skills to cultivate. Career opportunities are plenty as demand for SAS talent has an increasing trend with more than 80,000 customer sites around the world.
The job of a SAS Programmer can be both challenging and rewarding. There are many opportunities for technically inclined individuals who would like to work in the area of Drug Development.
Statistics is used in all stages of pharma product development life cycle which normally goes through following three stages –
Biostatistics plays an important and essential role in the research and development of drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices. Familiarity with biostatistics combined with knowledge of SAS can lead to a rewarding career that adds value and positively impacts and transforms patients’lives.You need to know and understand the various FDA requirements in relation to clinical data submission standards and also good GCP understanding to aid in your clinical programming career.
Responsibilities of a Clinical Associate
Clinical Associate with SAS skills is responsible for building programs to create SAS datasets from the clinical database, external data sources and other sources while following any clinical study’s protocol or statistical plans.
Requirements of a Clinical SAS Programmer
A Clinical SAS programmer should be knowledgeable about various standards of CDISC (Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium). CDISC is an open, non-profit organization whose goal is to develop global standards for packaging, reporting clinical research data. It also supports electronic acquisition, exchange, submission and archiving of clinical trial’s data to improve medical research, product development and related areas of healthcare. Familiarity with SDTM, ADaM and TLF/ TLG is required for anyone aspiring to pursue a career in this field.
Pursuing a Career in SAS
Undergraduate students should consider pursuing a degree in mathematics or statistics. If that is difficult, some courses in statistics or a minor in one of these areas will be helpful.
For graduate students in statistics or biostatistics, courses in survival analysis, multivariate analysis, and experimental design are recommended. For all students, courses providing exposure to the SAS programming language or the SAS statistical procedures are considered good.
Professionals considering a career change CAN explore these areas through enrolment in professional studies courses and certificate programs. Many universities today offer certificate programs in biostatistics. A number of programs care offered completely online. Most programs consist of regular university courses, many of which are offered through their academic departments. Some of these programs require a formal application process and admission into any program.
There are many companies that employ entry- level clinical SAS programmers.A good starting point would be clinical science departments of various universities. There are several good CROs who offer entry level jobs and also provide training to SAS clinical programmer. Major pharmaceutical companies look for people with 3-5 years of experience but good programming skills and a solid understanding of clinical environment can easily get you there.
Salaries of Clinical SAS programmers range from 58000 US$ to 85000 US$ per year depending on educational qualifications and number of years of experience. Click here for more details on Clinical Research.