Best way to break into a clinical position

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Comments (13)

2BaCRA in Englewood, Colorado

58 months ago

I have taken two different online "CRA" courses and have 10 years of laboratory experience but can not seem to get a foot in the door to work in a clinical capacity. Anything from a recruiter, to coordinator, to ideally a cra would be ideal. Anyone know of other ways to get into being a CRA, such as other training/education areas or a company that is more likely to hire for entry level type positions?

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Robert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

58 months ago

a bachelor's degree in science or a nursing degree (RN, no less) is an absolute must. you are wasting your time and money without this degree.

i would invest in basic nursing skills and go into being a coordinator at a research site or a doctor's office OR if you are better with numbers or paperwork, i would apply for data management positions at a CRO. you cannot jump all the rungs on the ladder and go straight to being a CRA. every CRA job posting i've ever seen requires at least 1 or 2 years experience in clinical research.

i wouldn't invest in any more online CRA courses, you should get an entry-level job in research first and then use their tuition reimbursement program to pay the cost of training or certification.

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Lookintob CRA in Denver, Colorado

58 months ago

Thanks for the comments but if you would read my post I have 10 years of research experience and two bachelors degrees. I also am not looking to jump into a CRA position, and I have applied to entry level coordinator, data management and what not. Was hoping someone could give in site into programs/companies that are more willing to help break into the field.

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Robert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

58 months ago

uh, i did read your post and it doesn'tt say anything about two bachelor's degrees or any experience in clinical research. research in the laboratory is NOTHING like clinical research. you would be entering a completely new and different field and that requires starting at the bottom.

-clinical research is done on real, living, breathing human beings with multiple disease processes occurring all at once. lab experience may give you knowledge of diagnostic criteria or the physiologic effects of disease, but the symptomology, face-to-face patient care and treatment options typically are not a focus of someone who works in the lab.

-to be a CRA you should have comprehensive knowledge of 21 CFR 50, 56, 312, 314, 812, 814, etc. occasionally, some lab workers will have knowledge of 21 CFR 58, but not all will. subject safety is a main focus of most trials and you won't get that working with cells or chemicals in the lab.

-the data collection processes, entry and handling are completely different. lab trials are not usually done at 100 different locations all over the country (or continent).

-the nature of the job is very different as well. most CRA's are out-of-state 4 days a week, every week. my company will often look for entry-levels that have previous business travel experience because the travel can be stressful for some

right now, you do have all the qualifications to work as a CRC or an in-house assistant to a CRA except for NURSING skills (very important- many companies specifically request) but you cannot expect every company to be hiring in this economy. there are thousands of CRA's that are laid off and looking for work and are snapping up those entry-level positions to stay afloat. now is not the time to change industries when so many experienced workers are out of a job and compete with you for every application you submit

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2BaCRA in Englewood, Colorado

58 months ago

If anyone has any useful comments that answer my questions about possible companies/programs that are out there please let me know. I already know the background of clinical research, the regs and what not. Looking more into companies and programs rather than a definition of what clinical research is...already know this. Thanks.

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rum in Newberg, Oregon

57 months ago

2BaCRA in Englewood, Colorado said: I have taken two different online "CRA" courses and have 10 years of laboratory experience but can not seem to get a foot in the door to work in a clinical capacity. Anything from a recruiter, to coordinator, to ideally a cra would be ideal. Anyone know of other ways to get into being a CRA, such as other training/education areas or a company that is more likely to hire for entry level type positions?

try finding a coordinator position at your local medical university. these tend to be willing to give inexperienced coordinators a try since they also tend to pay the lowest.

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Foxyfi in London, United Kingdom

57 months ago

Look for a clinical trial administrator position for 6 months. Try universities. The pay is rubbish but its a foot in the door

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PASSIONATE in Ocoee, Florida

57 months ago

Robert from Pittsburgh, PA:

Thank you for the valuable insight! I live in Orlando, FL but clinical research doesnt seem popular here. I am single with no kids,love to travel, BS Psychology, 26 yrs old and I will be pursuing a Masters degree (possibly in Public Health?).... If I was to relocate to have more job options in the clinical research field, what cities would you recommend moving to? I want to begin buidling my way up from the bottom so what do you recommmend?

Thank you in advance!
Alecia

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Robert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

56 months ago

There are 2 ways to get a chance:

1. Nursing/Patient Care Route- Florida is loaded up with clinical research sites where you can be a CRC or 'study coordinator.' I don't think that you'd have to move too far in you can work with patients every day. I would google something like 'clinical trials orlando' or go to clinical trials.gov and see the locations where there are current trials. i would send your resume out to all the locations and write a good cover letter about why you want to be a study coordinator.

2. Data Management/CRA assistant- The 'hot beds' for these in-house workers are in New Jersey, Phili, and some places on the west coast. There is also 1 company that hires entry level people in Cinci. Since these are inhouse positions, you'll likely have to move out of Florida. You'll work with data, resolve queries and help the CRAs.

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PASSIONATE in Ocoee, Florida

56 months ago

Robert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: There are 2 ways to get a chance:

1. Nursing/Patient Care Route- Florida is loaded up with clinical research sites where you can be a CRC or 'study coordinator.' I don't think that you'd have to move too far in you can work with patients every day. I would google something like 'clinical trials orlando' or go to clinical trials.gov and see the locations where there are current trials. i would send your resume out to all the locations and write a good cover letter about why you want to be a study coordinator.

2. Data Management/CRA assistant- The 'hot beds' for these in-house workers are in New Jersey, Phili, and some places on the west coast. There is also 1 company that hires entry level people in Cinci. Since these are inhouse positions, you'll likely have to move out of Florida. You'll work with data, resolve queries and help the CRAs.

OMG! Thank you soooo much for your tips! I'm on it!..... I'll post an update later:-)

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archana in Trabuco Canyon, California

56 months ago

Hi,

I am looking for entry level jobs in California, can someone pl. suggest me. I have a Ph. D in Neuroscience and done a course in CRA.
Any recruiters if u guys know. Any tip?

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Stephen in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

7 months ago

I live in Pittsburgh as well, with a degree in Biology, and I applied to Novum. They have a CRA school and train recent grads (and they are very strict about that) to be CRA's. They say any degree can apply. I also went to a SOCRA Clinical Research Course in San Francisco....and since then I have had 1 face to face interview and 2 phone interviews but no job as yet. At that course I met other people (one guy had a degree in Marketing and he was a CRA). It's unfair how Novum and other companies will hire people without a science degree, while leaving the people with Biology degrees out in the cold.
I have been working as a pharmacy technician to get by, and at this point I feel like I wasted my time getting a degree in Biology. I am in a Catch 22 situation that I cannnot seem to crawl out of......cannot get the job without experience, cannot get experience without the job.

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

7 months ago

Hi Stephen,

Keep working as a pharm tech getting experience. Too many young people these days do not understand the way of working their way up. Ages 15 through 22 should consist of gap-free part time employment without exception. This IS experience. Then after that it'll be at least five years of transitional employment until your real career begins.

In the majority of cases, I cannot sympathize with those who say a hiring decision was "unfair" to them. (The exception being cases of nepotism/cronyism/etc.). Businesses are around to make money and they choose the best people they can to make money. Perhaps the marketing major had a better personality, a willingness to travel more frequently or showed the skills to work with CRCs and PIs more than you did in interviews. A biology degree doesn't mean you are owed a job in your field. The marketing major's first choice was obviously not a biology career either.

I know there are loads of data management, research assistant and CRC jobs at UPMC that are open. The typical career path to a CRA job is first several years experience as a CRC or as a person in the file room. Where will your career begin?

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