Gear your educational goals accordingly to become a clinical data specialist. You will need a Bachelor's degree at minimum, preferably in a science-related field or an equivalent area of study.
Plan to have some practical experience in programming in order to become a clinical data specialist. Typical programming platforms include PL/SQL (Procedural Language/Structured Query Language) and SAS (statistical software). While this isn't usually mandatory, it is helpful in landing you the position.
Be familiar with basic Clinical Data Management Systems, such as those designed by Oracle. Oracle Clinical (or OC) is specifically used by the clinical data specialist as a means to define and validate protocols used in clinical studies.
Be aware that excellent interpersonal skills are required to become a clinical data specialist, since the position mandates that you coordinate with several departments to retrieve, validate and analyze clinical data.
Know what else is expected of you in order to become a clinical data specialist. Typically, your primary duties will include developing systems to document and test clinical data studies, to identify, analyze and report trends and to perform quality control checks to ensure data integrity for medical review and implementation.
Make sure you're familiar with the procedures guided by Good Clinical Practice standards as set forth by the Federal Drug Administration (see Resources below).
Work your way up to a senior or level II position. Once you've mastered the skills and experience required for an entry level position, you can start looking at management jobs. Most management level jobs require the supervision of data transmission, as well as the training of new clinical data specialists.