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SAS offers new clinical trials programming certification

Exam tests real-world expertise in high demand by health and life sciences industry

CARY, NC  (13. Jul. 2011)  – SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services and the de facto industry standard for clinical data analysis and reporting in the life sciences/pharmaceutical industry, today expanded its Global Certification Program offerings with the introduction of a new credential – SAS Certified Clinical Trials Programmer using SAS9.    

The exam for the credential will have a clinical trials programming focus and require proficiency in areas such as data manipulation/integration, production of data listings, tables and figures according to a Statistical Analysis Plan, and the generation of graphs and reports.  Basic knowledge of clinical trials and statistical methodology also will be required in orde r to pass the exam. 

"Customers have been asking for a way to help affirm the skills and knowledge of programmers who use SAS to create, validate, and maintain programs necessary for the capture and analysis of clinical trials data," said Larry Stewart, Vice President of the Education division at SAS. "SAS is so prevalent across this industry, a certification that is specific to clinical trials programming skills using SAS is a natural fit. With such wide interest, we were able to bring together a broad cross-section of practitioners and hiring managers from academic research organizations, contract research organizations and pharmaceutical companies, as well as industry consultants and SAS Press authors, to help define and develop the exam."

A broad cross-section of practitioners and hiring managers from 10 pharmaceutical and life sciences companies and organizations helped define and develop the exam. The development team defined the key skills and knowledge that are most common for the clinical trials programming job role, and included clinical trial scenarios, data sets, lab data and terminology on the exam that replicates what certification candidates would encounter on the job.

"The objective knowledge of taking the certification exam is important, but so is the real-world experience that certification candidates receive in the process," said Matthew Becker, Senior Director of Statistical Programming for PharmaNet. "The development team wanted the exam to touch on the things a clinical trials programmer does, from data management to report programming, and we used actual pharmaceutical data examples to that end. Not only will the certification help prepare candidates for that job role, but it will also provide managers with a snapshot of the areas in which their current clinical trials programmers could strengthen their skills."

The Clinical Trials Programming using SAS9 exam contains some sections on foundational SAS programming techniques that are also tested in the SAS Base Programming exam. To acknowledge the skills that have already been tested and demonstrated, an accelerated Clinical Trials Programming exam version will also be available for those candidates who hold a current SAS Certified Base Programmer using SAS9 certification. The accelerated exam version will not retest a candidate on their foundational programming skills. 

"I often talk to SAS programmers who are interested in joining the pharmaceutical industry as a programmer," said Ralf Minkenberg, Senior Statistical Programmer at Boehringer Ingelheim.  “And now with this exam, which covers the additional fields specific to clinical trials programming – where regulation and validation are important issues – those with a SAS programming certification can also take a step toward working in our industry.”

Registration for the exam is now available. See the SAS Global Certification Web site for full details.

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