CRA BASICS, TIPS AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR ENTRY LEVEL CLINICAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATES OR THOSE INTERESTED IN BECOMING CLINICAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATES
A lot of people have been emailing me questions which are totally welcome and encouraged. I have been getting the same question over and over again and figured I should address it here once and for all. I want to become a clinical research associate, should I get a CRA certificate? I have my qualms about CRA certification because I believe that they are not necessary. If you already have a Bachelors of Science in a Health field or a Nursing degree or even a masters in science but ultimately have no experience a certificate is not going to help you. Employers want experienced CRAs and the only way to get experience is to work in the field. When do you get certified? Despite my qualms there is a time to get certified. After you have experience. Why? Because experience plus a certificate can boost your chances of getting a higher level position. Also most reputable certificate programs require a certain number of years of experience before you are eligible to receive a certificate anyway! What program do you recommend? ACRP – Association of Clinical Research Professional SoCRA – Society of Clinical Research Associates These professional clinical research networks offer a wealth of information and networking opportunities in addition to information of certification. Do you have a Certificate? Well I have been working in the industry for a few years and have yet to feel the need to get certified. Why? I don’t think it will hurt me professionally but at this point I don’t think it can help much either. I want to stay in the position I am in for several more years. My company will ultimately pay for certification in the future. So I will wait until then.
Feel free to keep emailing me your questions.
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Sara, thanks so much for your blog, it’s great that you’re providing input and guidance to others looking to join the clinical research industry! In terms of the value of certification, many employers look for certification to demonstrate an objective measure of knowledge in an individual. ACRP certifications are role specific (CRC, CRA and CPI) and are demonstrative of an intermediate level of knowledge, which is why there’s a two year experience level required to sit for the exam. These exam questions are based on the actual duties performed by individuals in these roles and provide not only a personal sense of accomplishment but also to provide assurance to colleagues and employers that the individual has the knowledge and ability to perform at a high level in each role.
Personally I’d love to see certification become a requirement of our roles. As clinical researchers we are equally responsible for protecting patients as those treating them so for me, it’s hard to believe there is no enforced standard of practice. For now we’ll have to keep acknowledging employer support as a measure of validation but I personally took the step to get certified and have maintained my certification for over 14 years because I feel it’s an important illustration of my on-going dedication to the profession.
I look forward to continuing to read more of your blogs.
Yes I agree with everything you said. Which is why I must point out for beginner CRAs or individuals with no prior monitoring experience CRA certification is not an option and it is better to gain experience in the field prior to attempting to become certified. I don’t agree with you that it should be required for all CRAs to be certified unless experience is no longer a requirement for certification eligibility otherwise, how could any new CRAs enter the position?
I appreciate your comment.
I stumbled upon your blog when I was searching for people working in cra jobs and just to know what to expect in that field. I hoped that I would get a position when I acquired the knowledge but it has not happened. I was about to give up as every role that comes up seems to be looking for people with experience.
Thanks for this post. I now know that those of us with limited experience can still get the chance. It’s just a matter of time.
Thanks for taking the time to post. We all have to start from somewhere. Don’t give up!
I’m new in Houston and want to get trained in CRA and have a career too. Please advice me on steps and where to begin.