Clinical Research Coordinator Career Ladder

Michigan Medicine is implementing a career ladder for all staff currently performing clinical research coordinator work.

Why is this happening?

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. By creating a new series of job titles within clinical research, there will be a more consistent way to classify employees based on their responsibilities, qualifications, and experience. It will also provide employees with a clear path for career progression within Michigan Medicine.

How will this change affect staff?

All staff in the current job titles of Clinical Subjects Associate (CSA), Clinical Subjects Coordinator (CSC), Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC), and Clinical Research Project Manager (CRPM) will be evaluated and mapped to the appropriate new market title.

There will not be a decrease in their current rate of pay.

Some staff may move from exempt to non-exempt status under FLSA. If this happens, staff will maintain their current vacation or PTO accrual.

What market titles will be affected by this change?

The following job titles are affected (followed by job code):

  • Clinical Research Project Manager (102879)
  • Clinical Research Coordinator (102878)
  • Clinical Subjects Coordinator (100655)
  • Clinical Subjects Associate (102635)

What new market titles have been created?

The following market titles have been created:

  • 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)

How were these redesigned titles decided?

A team comprised of Michigan Medicine Human Resources professionals, administrators, faculty, and staff performing this work collaborated to develop the new set of titles and criteria.

How will units decide what is the appropriate new title for each staff member?

A survey tool created in REDCap will collect information from staff to assist supervisors and Human Resources in mapping employees onto the new CRC Career Ladder with the correct title. The tool itself is not a decision-making tool and is only used to efficiently gather critical information. 

When will this change take place?

Employees will be moved to new titles beginning in June 2022.

    Additional Questions and Answers

    Why is the manager title no longer used for those moving from Clinical Research Project Manager to other titles (i.e., Clinical Research Coordinator or Lead)?

    The new Clinical Research Coordinator Project Manager position continues to remain in the professional job role. Administrative supervision of three or more FTE is not a requirement for this position. However, as part of the Clinical Research Career ladder requirements, the CRPM still is expected to have “oversight” of three or more regular employees. This oversight can be direct (functional and admin), functional (i.e., direct day-to-day assignments, but not HR administration) or remote such as in the case of multi-institutional trials where the staff is the coordinating center point of contact, managing clinical research coordinators at other sites.

    How will employees be informed of any changes to their title?

    Units will work directly with employees affected by this change.

    Will this process impact an employee's salary?

    Not all employees will receive an increase in salary. Department managers, along with clinical research leadership, will review their employees to determine an appropriate salary, taking into consideration the employee’s new job title, education, and experience.

    How is a job title's FLSA exemption status determined?

    The FLSA establishes provisions and standards to determine overtime pay, hours worked, record-keeping plans, and child-labor provisions. Staff at Michigan Medicine are either classified as performing “exempt” or “non-exempt” work based upon regulations of the FLSA. The determination of “exempt” or “non-exempt” work is made by Human Resources in accordance with FLSA criteria. FLSA regulations provide an exemption from overtime pay for staff employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and/or outside sales staff.

    For employees whose exempt status is changing, how does this impact their payroll distribution dates and PTO/vacation accrual?

    Employees moving from Monthly to Biweekly:

    • Change is effective as of June 12, 2022
    • Employees' monthly paycheck for the period June 1, 2022 – June 11, 2022, will be a percentage of their monthly salary (8 out of the total 22 workdays in June, M-F, equaling about 36% of the monthly salary)
    • Current employees maintain their existing vacation or PTO accrual

    Employees moving from Biweekly to Monthly:

    • Change is effective as of June 1, 2022
    • Full biweekly paycheck distributed on June 3, 2022, for pay period May 15, 2022 – May 28, 2022
    • Three-day biweekly paycheck distributed on June 17, 2022, for pay period May 29, 2022 – May 31, 2022
    • Full June monthly paycheck distributed on June 30, 2022, for pay period June 1, 2022 – June 30, 2022
    • Employees may experience an increase in their full June vacation or PTO accrual 

    What are additional details for employees that moved from exempt to non-exempt that maintain their legacy vacation or PTO accrual?

    • Vacation or PTO accruals are not term-limited and do not end unless the employee is terminated. Being rehired later does not maintain or “re-trigger” the legacy status.
    • Maintaining current vacation or PTO does not apply to RIF candidates. RIF candidates who are exempt can be offered and moved into a role that is non-exempt.
    • An employee can transfer into another non-exempt role in a different department at Michigan Medicine or within the University of Michigan and will maintain their current vacation and PTO.

    When will impacted staff see adjustments to their pay?

    Monthly pay date: June 30, 2022
    Bi-weekly pay date: July 1, 2022
     

    Are employees eligible for merit in September?

    The merit program recognizes employees’ performance for the work they do. Employees meeting the eligibility requirements for the FY23 merit program (July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, performance year) are eligible for a merit increase. Decisions regarding merit are still in process. Once a decision has been made communications will occur accordingly with Michigan Medicine leaders.

    If the new career title requires certification, who will pay 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. The Medical School Office of Research will fund the certification costs for existing employees and those hired by June 30, 2022, who are placed in a title that requires certification. The Medical School Office of Research will reimburse departments for the application and exam fees for ACRP or SOCRA certification/recertification or an equivalent certification as determined by the CRC Governance Board, for clinical research coordinators mapped to titles that require certification and who pass the examination prior to January 1, 2024.

    For current employees who will require certification in the future as part of their career progression, as well as clinical research coordinators hired after June 30, 2022, 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.). Ongoing, 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.

    Who is financially responsible for an increase in a clinical research coordinator's salary?

    The individual or central unit who hired the clinical research coordinator is fiscally responsible for a change in salary. Opportunities to re-budget within a sponsored award are allowed and, depending on budget expenditures, may be possible. Please consult with your research administrator for each project. Principal Investigators may also consider using other sources of money, such as discretionary or start-up funds. Principal investigators should work directly with their department/division administrator to follow relevant department policies and practices. For coordinators employed at a central unit level, the unit will be responsible for the costs associated with an increase in salary. In some cases, this may result in adjustments to recharge rates.

    Where can I find the new job descriptions and job posting templates?

    To view job descriptions via the job grid, click here (requires login). Once HR has processed all changes, a summary of the job descriptions will also be available in the typical locations – U-M Career Path Navigator, Michigan Medicine Total Rewards, etc.

    Detailed job descriptions by role can be found here (requires login). To download templates for job postings, click here (requires login).

    What are the competencies for a Clinical Research Coordinator?

    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

    Are there any exceptions allowed to keep my current title?

    No. The current market titles will no longer be available, and everyone within the noted job titles will be transitioned into a new market title. Supervisors still have the option of providing a different appropriate working title when needed. However, Michigan Medicine employees engaged in interventional clinical research are required to be placed on the CRC Career Ladder. 

    Will there be a pay change processing pause to accommodate this project?

    Yes, Michigan Medicine has issued a pay change processing pause in effect from Monday, February 28 to Friday, July 15, to the following market titles:

    • Clinical Subjects Associate
    • Clinical Subjects Coordinator
    • Clinical Research Coordinator
    • Clinical Research Project Manager

    Click here, for more information.

    Where can I find resources or additional information related to a change from FLSA exempt to nonexempt?

    Overtime Pay | Human Resources University of Michigan (umich.edu)

    Fair Labor Standards Act | Human Resources University of Michigan (umich.edu)

    Questions?

    Contact CRC Career Ladder Leadership Team at CRC-Career-Ladder-Questions@umich.edu.