Clinical Biostatistician and SAS® Programmer Careers: Impacting Patient Outcomes

May 23, 2016

Last month, the Eliassen Group Biometrics and Data Solutions team continued its University Outreach Program with a career seminar at Rutgers’ Department of Statistics and Biostatistics. The event focused on key roles that are critical to the clinical trial process: Clinical Biostatistician and SAS Programmer. With the continued growth that is occurring within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, it’s no doubt that there are some excellent career opportunities for those who are seeking to get into this field. So what do these opportunities look like and what can job seekers expect? Below, we cover some key considerations:

What is the job outlook for clinical biostatisticians and SAS programmers?

With a 20% projected growth rate according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and a high job satisfaction rating as surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management, there are some fantastic opportunities for career growth. These roles also typically offer flexibility in location and schedule, making them highly attractive options for job seekers of all ages and stages. Additionally, clinical trial data solutions professionals have the ability to positively impact patient outcomes and healthcare as a whole which makes the work incredibly rewarding and provides lifelong learning opportunities.

The Responsibilities of a Clinical Biostatistician

  • Provides statistical expertise in design of clinical trials.
  • Sample size calculation and estimate trial power. 
  • Establishes randomization scheme. 
  • Provides statistical support to clinical team in preparing analysis plans (SAP) for reporting clinical trials results and statistical methods to be used.
  • Supports QA/QC to ensure the production of high quality statistical reports in a timely fashion. 
  • Presents and discusses results with clinical groups and regulatory.
  • Collaborates with clinical/medical writers on production of integrated clinical and statistical reports.


The Responsibilities of a SAS Programmer

  • Implements analyses specified in the protocol or the Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP).
  • Builds standardized source and analysis datasets from clinical database.
  • Develops analysis specifications and algorithms.
  • Writes SAS programs to generate tables, listings, and figures and analysis datasets.
  • Performs quality control on statistical outputs.
  • Communicates with statistics, data management, medical writing and clinical representatives.
  • Documents analysis and keeps record of programming and validation.
  • Prepares package for electronic submission.

A Day in the Life…

So what does a typical day look like for a clinical biostatistician/SAS programmer? These roles are extremely analytical and offer the ability to work with multi-disciplinary teams using statistical analysis to understand and interpret data. With fairly flexible schedules, there is a great deal of communication and collaboration with the study team and the day usually involves developing statistical output, fixing bugs, and supporting statistical requests. Working on SAP, professionals provide a statistical review of outputs.

How can you improve your odds of getting noticed for a biostatistician or SAS programmer role?

First, be sure that you cater your resume towards the specific position you are applying for. Make sure you highlight the keywords found in the job requirements on your resume appropriately so that potential employers can easily see if there is a skills match. It’s also critical to showcase your relevant experience and academic projects or internships with applicable dates. And be ready to explain your resume in non-technical terms, indicating your results and sharing your potential for growth.

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