Career Development

What Does a Clinical Specialist Do?

Find out what a clinical specialist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a clinical specialist.

Clinical specialists are medical professionals who specialize in the treatment of specific conditions or diseases. They may work with patients one-on-one, in groups, or as part of a larger team. Clinical specialists commonly treat patients with rare or difficult to diagnose conditions that general practitioners cannot effectively manage on their own.

Clinical Specialist Job Duties

A clinical specialist typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing health care services such as physical examinations, medical tests, and consultations with other medical professionals
  • Performing diagnostic testing using lab equipment such as x-ray machines, ultrasound devices, electrocardiographs (EKGs), and other machinery
  • Maintaining medical records for each patient interaction, which may include taking notes about appointments, updating insurance information, and filing claims with insurance companies on behalf of patients
  • Performing initial assessments of patients’ health status and history, including physical examinations and diagnostic tests such as blood draws or urinalysis tests
  • Performing specialized treatments such as administering IV fluids or injections of medication
  • Diagnosing patients with conditions, diseases, injuries, or infections, and recommending treatment plans to help them recover
  • Conducting research to develop new methods of treatment, analyze existing data to identify trends and patterns, or create new models based on existing theories
  • Educating patients about their conditions and treatment options, as well as how to manage their health on a day-to-day basis
  • Communicating with other medical professionals about test results and diagnoses to ensure proper care is provided to patients

Clinical Specialist Salary & Outlook

Clinical specialists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of patients they treat.

  • Median Annual Salary: $72,500 ($34.86/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of clinical specialists is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

As the large baby-boom population ages and people live longer, demand for clinical specialists will increase. As people age, they are more likely to have chronic conditions, such as arthritis or heart disease, that require ongoing medical care. Clinical specialists will be needed to treat these patients and to ensure that their conditions are controlled.

Related: Clinical Specialist Interview Questions and Answers

Clinical Specialist Job Requirements

A clinical specialist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: A clinical specialist must have a master’s degree in a related field, such as nursing, psychology or social work. The master’s program will provide the clinical specialist with the knowledge and skills needed to work with patients in a clinical setting.

Training & Experience: Clinical specialists receive most of their training through internships and residencies. During these periods of supervised clinical experience, clinical specialists learn how to work with patients, how to manage patient files and how to communicate with other medical professionals.

Clinical specialists can also receive on-the-job training to learn more about the specific services and procedures of a facility.

Certifications & Licenses: Clinical specialists need to earn a license to practice. Each state has a different process for getting a license, but they typically require a completed doctor of medicine (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) degree and completion of clinical rotations.

Some states require doctors to pass an exam before granting a license, so check the requirements in your state.

Clinical Specialist Skills

Clinical specialists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is another skill that clinical specialists need to be successful in their careers. They often work with other medical professionals, patients and members of the public, so they need to be able to communicate effectively with all of these groups. This can include speaking with patients about their treatment plans, explaining medical procedures to other medical professionals and communicating with patients’ families.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings and perspective. Clinical specialists use empathy to help patients overcome their mental health challenges. For example, if a patient is dealing with anxiety, a clinical specialist might use empathy to understand the patient’s feelings and perspective and then offer them resources to help them overcome their anxiety.

Time management: Time management is another skill that clinical specialists need to have. This is because they often have multiple tasks to complete in a day and they need to prioritize their work. For example, they may need to review patient files, conduct patient assessments and complete other tasks. They need to be able to manage their time well so they can complete all of their tasks in a timely manner.

Organization: Clinical specialists often have to manage multiple tasks at once, so it’s important for them to have strong organizational skills. This can help them prioritize their work and ensure they meet all of their deadlines. Clinical specialists may also have to keep track of patient information, so it’s important for them to have organizational skills to ensure they don’t mix up any records.

Medical knowledge: Medical knowledge is the ability to understand medical terminology and procedures. This is an important skill for clinical specialists because it allows them to accurately assess patient needs and provide the right treatment. Medical knowledge also allows clinical specialists to understand medical research and treatment options.

Clinical Specialist Work Environment

Clinical specialists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and nursing homes. They may also work in research laboratories or in the pharmaceutical industry. They typically work full time, and some may work evenings or weekends. Many clinical specialists are on call, which means they may be required to work at odd hours or be on call for emergencies. The work can be stressful, and clinical specialists must be able to handle a high degree of responsibility and be able to make quick decisions.

Clinical Specialist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how clinical specialists work. Clinical specialists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Telehealth

The growth of telehealth is a trend that is quickly changing the way that healthcare is delivered. By using technology, patients can now receive care from doctors and specialists without having to leave their home or office.

This trend is having a major impact on the medical field, as it allows patients to get the care they need without having to travel to see a doctor in person. It also allows doctors to provide care to more patients, which can help to reduce wait times and improve access to care.

Clinical specialists can take advantage of this trend by becoming certified in telehealth services. This will allow them to provide care to patients across the country, increasing the reach of their practice and improving patient satisfaction.

More Focus on Patient Experience

As hospitals and clinics focus on providing better patient experiences, clinical specialists will be in high demand.

Clinical specialists are professionals who have expertise in specific areas of medicine, such as cardiology or oncology. They are often responsible for managing the care of patients with complex conditions, and they work closely with other members of the healthcare team to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

In order to be successful in the future, clinical specialists will need to be able to not only provide excellent care to patients, but also understand how to make their experience in the hospital or clinic as positive as possible.

How to Become a Clinical Specialist

A clinical specialist career can be a great way to get started in the healthcare field. As a clinical specialist, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a variety of patients and learn about different medical specialties. You may also be able to specialize in a certain area of medicine, such as oncology or cardiology.

To become a clinical specialist, you’ll need to complete an accredited training program and pass a certification exam. You can find programs that specialize in different areas of medicine, such as oncology or cardiology.

Advancement Prospects

Clinical specialists may advance to become managers of clinical services or directors of rehabilitation programs. Some may open their own private practices. Some may become consultants to hospitals, nursing homes, or other health care facilities.

Advancement often depends on the ability to secure funding for new programs or services. Those who are successful in this area may be promoted to positions with more responsibility. Some clinical specialists may also advance by becoming involved in research.

Clinical Specialist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are passionate about developing groundbreaking medical treatments that improve the lives of patients worldwide. We are currently seeking a clinical specialist to join our team and help us bring our latest products to market. The ideal candidate will have experience in the medical field, preferably in a clinical setting, and will be able to provide expert input on the product development process. He or she will also be responsible for conducting clinical trials and gathering data to support the product’s efficacy. The clinical specialist will play a key role in ensuring that our products meet the highest standards of safety and effectiveness.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Educate and train staff on new products, services, and software related to clinical care
  • Assist in the development of educational materials for patients and families
  • Serve as a resource to staff regarding best practices for patient care
  • Collaborate with other departments to ensure optimal patient outcomes
  • Develop and maintain relationships with key opinion leaders in the field
  • Attend trade shows and conferences to stay up-to-date on new developments in the clinical field
  • Identify opportunities for process improvement and make recommendations to management
  • Implement new processes and procedures in the clinical setting
  • Monitor compliance with regulatory standards and make recommendations for changes as needed
  • Evaluate new products and services for clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness
  • Prepare reports and presentations for upper management
  • Participate in research studies as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing or related field
  • Master’s degree preferred
  • 5+ years of clinical experience in a hospital setting
  • 2+ years of experience in a specialty area, such as cardiology, oncology, etc.
  • Current RN license in good standing
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work independently and with a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Certification in specialty area
  • Teaching experience
  • Experience with research and data analysis
  • Familiarity with electronic medical records systems


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