Career path following a CRA

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Beth in Wilmington, North Carolina

78 months ago

I'm wondering the same thing too. I'm a Masters-level PA looking to transition into the CRA role. I just found this forum today and already am finding it helpful.

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Jay in North Carolina

78 months ago

SwissHam in Ann Arbor, Michigan said: Hi Jay and Beht,
After starting off as an EL you will move to a CRA I, II and then usually a Sr. From here you will usually be given the option to continue on the CRA path, or chose to go on the management path. If you chose to stay with the CRA (maybe you love traveling, maybe you just aren't management type), your next step is a principal CRA. If you go management route, you become a project manager (I, II) where you will oversee the projects/protocols. Most people usually get here and stay for awhile... The next step is associate director of clinical research and then director/vp clinical research.
Also, any type of graduate degree is very helpful on your movement up, especially when you get on the management route... They love PharmD's, MS, MBA, PhD...
Hope this helps!
Chris

Thanks for the reply Chris. That was very helpful indeed. Is CRA experience required to enter the project management path or is there an entry level aside from being a CRA first?

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SwissHam in Fulton, Ohio

78 months ago

Hi Jay,

Not a problem. Entering project management is very different from company to company and even more different between Pharma vs. CRO. If you are at a CRO, you will most likely have to be a CRA first... this may not necessarily be true all the time, but one of my collegues came to the CRO where I currently work with Pharma experience as a project manager and needed to become a CRA first before she could be a project manager at the CRO. One major reason for this is because CROs need to sell the people they want to put on to the project to sponsor. If you are in a pharma company, it is not always this way, as they have their in-house positions that move up to project managers without that on-site experience.

I would personally say your best bet really is to get the CRA experience... It really is a great experience to have and you are able to say you know the inner workings at a site that others may not. It gives you a great base to move forward, and if you get 2+ years (absolute min. 1 year), you will always be able to get another CRA job if for some reason you fall in to hard times. Also, if you move up in a Pharma company as an in-house position, but never have that on-site experience, and are ever let go or want to go elsewhere, you are really limited where you can go as you only have that in house expereince. Since the CRA position combines the in house management with the on-site experience, you really open up all of your options.

Hope this helps!
good luck,
Chris

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Beth in Wilmington, North Carolina

78 months ago

Chris, thenks for your very straight-forward answers. I have asked alot of people and usu get a "beat-around-the-bush" reply. I feel I really understand the basis of prior CRA experience and the pathways available. Jay, thanks for your insightful questions.

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SwissHam in Toronto, Ontario

78 months ago

Not a problem!

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Theresa in Winnipeg, Manitoba

76 months ago

I have a PhD in Animal Nutrition; I am planning to pursue a CRA training; I have almost 7 years experience in pharmaceutical industry QA; as a CRA I am thinking of landing in an in-house CRA position; I don't like traveling everyday every week; Can some one provide me insights on whether this will work for me. What is the salary for an enrry position.

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Rochelle in Hoschton, Georgia

74 months ago

Jay in North Carolina said: Greetings all. I was wondering what the typical (if there is one) career path is following employment as an entry-level CRA. I realize that there are increasing levels of CRA (I, II, III) but over the span of a 30 year career, what positions would you typically be promoted into? Or does it diverge into many different paths the higher up you go? Would having a PhD (mine is in pharmaceutical sciences along with 5 years of postdoc) be an advantage as you go up the scale? I have enjoyed this forum so thanks to all who are posting.

Jay,
I am in a similar predicament. I have a PhD and have 16 years of sales, management, and medical liaison experience. I also took a 10 day CRA course while doing my postdoc. It has been very difficult to break into CRA or CRM positions. I was wondering if you or any one else has any suggestions, possible recruiters who work with entry-level positions? Thank you

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Renee in Dahlonega in Dahlonega, Georgia

73 months ago

Hi, Rochelle I'm in Dahlonega about 35 minutes from you. I work as a Sleep Research Tech/Coordinator Assistance. I just want to let you know that might want to start off in a Coordinator position because they learn everything and they work closely with CRA's. My Coordinator is leaving she just go Married and she is going back to School. I didn't take the position but I'm filling in for her in every aspect of the job. The reason I didn't take the position is because I'm going to School to work on my BS because I two want to move into the CRA field but I have to have my BS in order to do that. I getting the experience I need just by working there and by the time I finish School I will have at least 4yr in the field as well as my BS. If you would like more on my computer please feel free to email me at renee32bate@yahoo.com. I hope this will help.

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Manowar2002B in Wilmington, Delaware

61 months ago

Sorry for changing the topic here, but I am currently in R & D, and I am interested, or should I say curious in taking a career path in the clinical research sector.
To make it more complicated, I am trying to move to Germany to be closer to my girlfriend, who lives in the Stuttgart area.
Does anyone know of clinical research companies in Germany? I am assuming that there are many, but I am having trouble targeting them. Maybe someone knows of any websites geared toward clinical research.
I'm looking forward to everyones response, and thanks.

Jon

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Passionate in Ocoee, Florida

56 months ago

Renee in Dahlonega in Dahlonega, Georgia said: Hi, Rochelle I'm in Dahlonega about 35 minutes from you. I work as a Sleep Research Tech/Coordinator Assistance. I just want to let you know that might want to start off in a Coordinator position because they learn everything and they work closely with CRA's. My Coordinator is leaving she just go Married and she is going back to School. I didn't take the position but I'm filling in for her in every aspect of the job. The reason I didn't take the position is because I'm going to School to work on my BS because I two want to move into the CRA field but I have to have my BS in order to do that. I getting the experience I need just by working there and by the time I finish School I will have at least 4yr in the field as well as my BS. If you would like more on my computer please feel free to email me at renee32bate@yahoo.com. I hope this will help.

Renee,
What are you gonna get your BS in? I have a BS in Psychology but I did a clinical research fellowship during college which sparked my interest in becoming a CRA. I've been looking for CRC positions in my area (Central Florida) but no luck so far. Seems like a lot of companies require nursing degrees or biomedical experience. Should I go back to school for another degree? I'm considering pursuing a Masters in Public Health or Clinical Research Admin....But I'm not which route will allow me to break in to the Clinical Research field. Any advice? Anyone?

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Manowar2002B in Odenspiel, Germany

56 months ago

Your best bet is to do some type of certification course. I would say, that if you have a natural science degree, biology, etc., that you should be ok entering some type of clinical research (CRA for ex.) certification course. I am currently doing one in Germany. I am American, but studied here, and feel that starting out as a CRA may be better here in Europe. The Clinical Trial process runs more smoothly here. The FDA can be problematic. But finally, you want to find a certification cours that also involves an internship, which will ultimately get your foot in the door.
I would not recommend a clinical research degree. I havent heard anything great about them, especially involving any type of entry into the industry.

good luck

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Robert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

56 months ago

Manowar,

Unfortunately, in the states, these 'certification courses' are typically scams. Their 'certifications' are NOT recognized by the industry and none can guarantee a job. I've been a CRA for 5 years now and have never met anyone who has successfully found employment as a CRA after they shell out thousands for the often unaccredited courses.

Getting a degree from an accredited university is a good idea (you can get student aid from the gov't, tuition reimbursement from your employer and the credits are transferable if you want to change your major), but I would say this would be better for someone who already has a job in research and wants to move up, instead of someone who is just looking for a job.

Passionate,

The best way to get your start is to take an entry level position. A BS is fine, especially if you emphasize your research experience. Look for CTA positions, data entry, etc. at your local universities, hospitals and research offices. Get a job there, then use tuition reimbursement from your employer to beef up your credentials. Have them pay for your Master's in Clinical Research and get certified through a legitimate professional organization like ACRP.

Also, don't be looking in just your area- the economy is coming back, but it's still not great yet. You will often have to make sacrifices.

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Manowar2002B in Wilmington, Delaware

56 months ago

All of this sounds good. What I really emphasize, if you are going to do a certification course, which in my opinion is enough, make sure the course includes an internship, or trainee program in either a CRO, or a Pharma company. This will at last allow you to get your foot in the door, and gain some exposure. Its not easy to break into this industry, but like I have read several times, just keep trying, and something will come your way, even if its not exactly what you were expecting. You have to start somewhere, and work from there.

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Jason in Pottstown, Pennsylvania

56 months ago

Passionate in Ocoee, Florida said: Renee,
What are you gonna get your BS in? I have a BS in Psychology but I did a clinical research fellowship during college which sparked my interest in becoming a CRA. I've been looking for CRC positions in my area (Central Florida) but no luck so far. Seems like a lot of companies require nursing degrees or biomedical experience. Should I go back to school for another degree? I'm considering pursuing a Masters in Public Health or Clinical Research Admin....But I'm not which route will allow me to break in to the Clinical Research field. Any advice? Anyone?

Your idea sounds like a good route, if you have the time. I have a friend (BS Psych) who took the MSU certificate for CRCs online over 10 weeks. She loved it and said her interview was really smooth being able to talk terms and case studies she learned. She works in oncology research in (eastern PA) hospital now and just loves it.

Next step is a CRA position and further certification. Yes, and the hospital will even pay tuition this time around. Let us know your success.

Here is the MSU link if you like:
nursing.msu.edu/cracrc.aspx?gclid=CL6Lg6KPp6ECFd1n5QodpBDKBw

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Derek in East Orange, New Jersey

54 months ago

Another organization that has legit credentials if you take a CRA training course with them is DIA.

But co-monitoring (going out with a monitor to help out, learn, assist the monitor with their job) beats a certification course if you co-monitor long enough. I'm not saying this because it's my opinion; I say this because it looks MUCH better on your resume. Experience trumps education in pharma research.

One thing to consider with becoming a CRA is the commitment to traveling and depending on your personal life (ie, family, marriage, having a pet) you need to think hard whether this will work. It changes your personal life, your availability to others. I considered becoming a CRA but having childen changed my mind. I didn't want to become an invisible father.

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bce360 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

53 months ago

Hello,

I am completing my Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics with a focus in regenerative neuroscience. I should graduate in about 6 months. I have 3 first author publications, a few 2nd and 3rd author publications, 2 fellowships and am a certified medical writer. I am looking to break into clinical research, specifically as an MSL or project manager. I thought the best way to do this would be to apply for CRA position, however it seems to be difficult to break into without clinical experience. Aside from familiarizing myself with GCP's and FDA regulations, what would be the next step for me to land a CRA job? Also would this be a good start for a MSL or project manager position? And finally when should I begin to apply/how long is the process?

Thanks

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bce360 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

53 months ago

SwissHam in Ann Arbor, Michigan said: Hi Jay and Beht,
After starting off as an EL you will move to a CRA I, II and then usually a Sr. From here you will usually be given the option to continue on the CRA path, or chose to go on the management path. If you chose to stay with the CRA (maybe you love traveling, maybe you just aren't management type), your next step is a principal CRA. If you go management route, you become a project manager (I, II) where you will oversee the projects/protocols. Most people usually get here and stay for awhile... The next step is associate director of clinical research and then director/vp clinical research.
Also, any type of graduate degree is very helpful on your movement up, especially when you get on the management route... They love PharmD's, MS, MBA, PhD...
Hope this helps!
Chris

Chris,

I am completing my Ph.D. and have a number of publications, employments in hospitals/medical companies but no clinical experience. What do you think is the best way to proceed breaking into the CRA field? I see internet certifications but I am not familiar with the field enough to know which is legit and which are not. Aside from learning the GCP and FDA guidelines, what is the next step?

Thanks

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Smith in Marysville, Ohio

53 months ago

A PhD is too advanced of a degree for a CRA and your skills and experience don't really line up with what a CRA does. Typically CRAs have clinical experience as a nurse or CRC in order to even be considered for the CRA job. The CRA position is NOT entry-level...it requires a special skill set and lots of experience in clinical research. This clinical knowledge is necessary for a CRA because you need an intimate knowledge of clinical medicine.

There are only TWO professional organizations that offer legitimate certification for CRA. They are SoCRA and ACRP. ACRP is the only organization that can give you the title of Certified Clinical Research Associate. ALL others are scams. There are a few universities that can offer you a Master's degree in Clinical Research if you are interested.

I think you are really low-balling yourself unless there's something about being a PhD that really appeals to you. There are plenty other options that are better suited for your education and experience (e.g., medical writer, protocol design, data management or consulting). Give them a try first. I think you'll be much happier and more challenged.

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bce360 in Wayne, Pennsylvania

53 months ago

Smith

Ultimately I would like to become either a project manager or medical science liaison. All of these prefer a higher degree from those I've spoken with in the field, they have suggested starting as a CRA, hearing these options you've intrigued me. Do you suggest any other jobs... and how do you get involved in data management or consulting? The goal for me is to get involved in the managerial side of clinical research rather than bench work.

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Smith in Uniontown, Ohio

53 months ago

bce,

I would start by using sites like Indeed, Medzilla or Monster. Also research small CROs/biotechs and device companies-they are more likely to give someone a chance than the big names.

Because job titles change from company to company- don't lock yourself into a few keyword searches- be as broad as you can. You'll have to look at a bunch of job postings that don't really fit, but you may find your dream job. Also, try searching for jobs that require a Master's degree or PhD just using the keyword 'research.'

Once you find the job posting, really read the job description. Match up the skills you have to what they want and adjust your resume and cover letter to show how YOU are the candidate they want. Don't just use a 'one size fits all' generic resume and cover letter. Use your cover letter to analyze why you'd be a good fit, but also address any weakness you see and your plan for overcoming them.

Also, you are going to need some management experience- no education or certification will help overcome that goal. You may have to take a management job on the bench research side to gain the necessary experience you'll need to move up.

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Angelica chy in Baltimore, Maryland

53 months ago

hello!
I am a nurse who has experience working as a study coordinator and I will be getting my certification as a CRA this september. I am really interested in doing a fellowship, but i dont know where...or where i can look for.. please do you know where i can do a fellowship?

Thank you

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schatzpup@gmail.com in Waltham, Massachusetts

51 months ago

A family and a pet restricts my travel and hence cannot take up a CRA position. Someone suggested CRC positions. Is that true? I have Ph.D as well with 5 years biotech industry experience. I am looking for career growth as well.

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Robert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

51 months ago

schatzpup@gmail.com in Waltham, Massachusetts said: A family and a pet restricts my travel and hence cannot take up a CRA position. Someone suggested CRC positions. Is that true? I have Ph.D as well with 5 years biotech industry experience. I am looking for career growth as well.

A CRC position is much more suited for someone with an RN or BS. A CRC works for the MD and works directly with patients, so patient-care skills are an absolute must.

Since you have a PhD, I would say positions along the lines of Medical Writer, high-level data management or maybe something in preclinical development would be better suited for your degree. I would just try searching broad terms in job bases like 'research' or 'clinical research' and see which jobs require a PhD, or at least an MS. Also, reach out to local universities to see what they are offering. University jobs pay a lot less than industry-based jobs, but you need a start somewhere.

I think the main limiting factor in your search will be your location. You'll probably have to move to a high-research area (like NJ or the RTP area in NC) in order to get a job at your level in clinical research.

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Sadua in Austin, Texas

49 months ago

An MS degree is higher than what an entry-level CRA requires. Since you have no experience and are educationally overqualified, it is likely that employers won't feel you are a good 'fit' for the CRA position, even if you do go to a CRA course. I've found that CRA courses are not as beneficial as getting an entry-level job and working your way up (while you are getting paid!) is a better way to get into the industry rather than paying thousands for a course that can't guarantee a job.

Also, consider that a CRA must travel 4 nights a week, will you be okay with you away from the home and traveling out of the state 4 nights a week? Often for newlyweds that want to start a family, CRA is not the best fit for personal life.

I would try to get in on the R&D side instead of the clinical side. It'll fit much better with your degree and be better for your new marriage.

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Nita in Rochester, New York

49 months ago

Hello,
I am a foreign medical graduate with 8 mths of Internal Medicine residency training and 3 mths of hands on lead CRC experience. I am looking to transition to full time CRA position. Any advice?
Thank you.

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Massa in Mount Vernon, New York

49 months ago

Nita in Rochester, New York said: Hello,
I am a foreign medical graduate with 8 mths of Internal Medicine residency training and 3 mths of hands on lead CRC experience. I am looking to transition to full time CRA position. Any advice?
Thank you.

Nita,

The position you have as a lead CRC now is exactly the type of experience you need to foster to get that first CRA job. Stick with your CRC position and network with the CRAs that visit your site to learn about opportunities for entry level CRA jobs. Most companies will want at least 1-2 years as a CRC before they'll consider hiring you as a CRA.

Keep up the good work. You don't need any courses or additional certifications with your credentials, you just need a little more CRC experience and you'll be hired in no time!

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Sadua in Austin, Texas

49 months ago

Nita in Rochester, New York said: Hello,
I am a foreign medical graduate with 8 mths of Internal Medicine residency training and 3 mths of hands on lead CRC experience. I am looking to transition to full time CRA position. Any advice?
Thank you.

Hi Nita,

I would recommend staying at your CRC position for at least another year. Employers really value CRC experience and it will make you a better CRA when the time comes for you to move up to CRA role! Unfortunately, the foreign medical degree won't help you too much in try to move through this phase more quickly.

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Judy in Woodinville, Washington

47 months ago

I am a foreign medical graduate with a bachelor degree of clinic medicine(MD)and a master degree of Imaging diagnosis. I had interned in almost all the clinical departments. When I was in my graduate school, I designed and performed a few clinical research in radiological area. Now I am planing to apply a clinical trials certificate program and looking for a full time CRA position. Any advice?

Thank you!

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HARI in Seoul, Korea, Republic of

47 months ago

Hello! everybody,
This is not a reply but another question.
I need your previous advice!!!

I graduated in Nursing in Korea and worked as a RN for 2.5 years in Korea.
Then, I've started working as a CRA ar glocal CRO since 2008 so now I have over 2 years CRA experience.
I'm planning to immigrate to canada within 2 years and applied to get permenant residence permit.

In canada, I'd like to keep building my CRA career...but here in Korea it's not easy to find the information.
I think canadian companies would not accept my whole career since local regulations would be a lot different from Korea.
However, I'm fine even if they don't consider my whole experience....For me, most important thing is to start woking as a CRA in Canada.
To get a job in cadana, what should I do? I have a RN license of both Korea and US but I think it would be better to get a Canadian RN license.
What do you think about it??
Also, I found that I could take CRA training course....such as GCP refreshment course...or....the course to get CRA certificate.
Do you think it's worth to take one year's CRA course?? I know one univ in Toronto..

Otherwise, I think that it would be helpful to take one year's RN refreshment course...to make community...and...get job information....
After graduation, do you think it's helpful to work as a RN or as a CRC in hospital??

Do you think what is required for me to start to work as a CRA in canada?????

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HARI in Seoul, Korea, Republic of

47 months ago

Hello! everybody,
This is not a reply but another question.
I need your previous advice!!!

I graduated in Nursing in Korea and worked as a RN for 2.5 years in Korea.
Then, I've started working as a CRA ar glocal CRO since 2008 so now I have over 2 years CRA experience.
I'm planning to immigrate to canada within 2 years and applied to get permenant residence permit.

In canada, I'd like to keep building my CRA career...but here in Korea it's not easy to find the information.
I think canadian companies would not accept my whole career since local regulations would be a lot different from Korea.
However, I'm fine even if they don't consider my whole experience....For me, most important thing is to start woking as a CRA in Canada.
To get a job in cadana, what should I do? I have a RN license of both Korea and US but I think it would be better to get a Canadian RN license.
What do you think about it??
Also, I found that I could take CRA training course....such as GCP refreshment course...or....the course to get CRA certificate.
Do you think it's worth to take one year's CRA course?? I know one univ in Toronto..

Otherwise, I think that it would be helpful to take one year's RN refreshment course...to make community...and...get job information....
After graduation, do you think it's helpful to work as a RN or as a CRC in hospital??

Do you think what is required for me to start to work as a CRA in canada?????

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Randy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

47 months ago

Amita ,JERSEY CITY,NJ in Jersey City, New Jersey said: hi I am just fresher and starting a new field in CRA. I have completed pharmacy in INDIA and did certification in CRA. Can any one help me to where should I step in this field. I am trying like more than 6 month but there is no response. I am getting response from agency which offer me training for 650$. They dont give promise to get a job. Do any one know this type of any agency which help or should I join? Thank u every one for posting.

Hi Amita,

I do not recommend getting any more training. You already have certification in India, you do not need any more training.

I think you are looking at the wrong job. In the USA, you cannot start in clinical research with a CRA position. It is required that you have several years of clinical trial experience before applying for your first CRA job. No education, training or certification will allow you to skip the required years of previous clinical trial work experience.

There are many training scams out there, many of them try to take advantage of foreigners looking for jobs. If I ever recommend any courses to foreigners looking for a job, it is English language training because impeccable written communication skills are absolutely necessary. For example, if you used some of the prose errors you made in your post in your cover letter, I would throw out your resume as soon as I encountered one of those language errors.

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Wannesia@gmail.com

44 months ago

I am completing Assoc. Degree, Certificate I, Certificate II in May. I will continue to complete Data Management Cert. My background is Clerical data entry, Nursing assistant, Mental health, and I am registered with the state as a Medical Assistant. My life situation is keeping me from continuing to do BS or Masters in any field; which would be beneficial, but my life situation is not allowing me to continue with that path. I have no experience in clinical trials research outside of fieldwork for college. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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narasi in Thiruvananthapuram, India

38 months ago

Dear all,
Any one please guide me. I done my M.Sc in biotechnology (2009). I learned Base SAS and advance SAS from one real time working professional. Currently i'm working in one private hospital as a stem cell coordinator since 1 1/2 years for 10,000 salary. My job profiles are maintain trials data in MS Excel sheet, giving counseling to patients, Coordinate with doctors and paramedical staff during trial. Now i want to migrate to real clinical trial sector. Based on my experience which role suit for me. What about career growth and what salary i can expect. Please give me your ideas.
Thanks in advance

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Swangirl89 in Baden, Germany

38 months ago

Manowar2002B in Odenspiel, Germany said: Your best bet is to do some type of certification course. I would say, that if you have a natural science degree, biology, etc., that you should be ok entering some type of clinical research (CRA for ex.) certification course. I am currently doing one in Germany. I am American, but studied here, and feel that starting out as a CRA may be better here in Europe. The Clinical Trial process runs more smoothly here. The FDA can be problematic. But finally, you want to find a certification cours that also involves an internship, which will ultimately get your foot in the door.
I would not recommend a clinical research degree. I havent heard anything great about them, especially involving any type of entry into the industry.

good luck


I'm in Stuttgart looking to don the same thing. I have a Bachelors in physiology. What is the certification course you have taken?

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narasi in Thiruvananthapuram, India

38 months ago

Thank you for your reply. Is sas certification is useful to enter into clinical data management. If not which software companies are using. Generaly what are the major roles involved in clinical trials. What is growth of CDM when compare with CRA.
Thanks in advance

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Sonya in Westfield, New Jersey

38 months ago

I found this on craigslist as CRA training in 12 months.

It's the American Scientific Research asrnj.com/

looks like a scam for sure. Glad I came across this forum.

Thanks guys -- I am unemployed for months now and I really hate this misleading ads to scam individuals who are serious in finding a job or a new career.

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DC804 in New York, New York

33 months ago

SwissHam in Fulton, Ohio said: Hi Jay,

Not a problem. Entering project management is very different from company to company and even more different between Pharma vs. CRO. If you are at a CRO, you will most likely have to be a CRA first... this may not necessarily be true all the time, but one of my collegues came to the CRO where I currently work with Pharma experience as a project manager and needed to become a CRA first before she could be a project manager at the CRO. One major reason for this is because CROs need to sell the people they want to put on to the project to sponsor. If you are in a pharma company, it is not always this way, as they have their in-house positions that move up to project managers without that on-site experience.

I would personally say your best bet really is to get the CRA experience... It really is a great experience to have and you are able to say you know the inner workings at a site that others may not. It gives you a great base to move forward, and if you get 2+ years (absolute min. 1 year), you will always be able to get another CRA job if for some reason you fall in to hard times. Also, if you move up in a Pharma company as an in-house position, but never have that on-site experience, and are ever let go or want to go elsewhere, you are really limited where you can go as you only have that in house expereince. Since the CRA position combines the in house management with the on-site experience, you really open up all of your options.

Hope this helps!
good luck,
Chris

Hi Chris,

I am currently a hosptial based CRC- run all the trials within the hematology/oncology trials- both industry sponsored and PI initiated. I am looking to transitioning into industry and specifically looking into project management positions. Do you think this transition is possibl, without having industry CRA monitoring experience? I am also CCRA certified and have my Masters degree. Please let me know your thoughts!

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

32 months ago

Hi DC804,

Unless you have significant project management experience from a similar industry, a CRO will not hire anyone into a management role without CRA experience. My though is that if you are leading a group of CRAs, it's really best that you know what the job involves.

For example: How will you know what makes a good monitoring report without ever having to write one? The CRA role requires significant travel, in just the site assignment process, you have to know if it's even possible for a CRA that lives in Denver to get to Wichita via air for their normal workday. How will you handle your stressed-out overtraveled CRAs when you know nothing about what life is like being on the road four days a week? How will you know which vendors are out there and which ones offer the best service?

With your oncology experience, you are very much in demand- I'd try to get that first CRA role and then work on the PM transition.

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Mandy in Singapore, Singapore

32 months ago

Hi, I am a foreign medical graduate with PhD in Biomedical Engineering. I have 1 year Clinical Experience in Infectious Diseases. I would like to go into clinical research but I don't want to do the bench work. I would like to work full time CRA position. Can you please give me some advice?
Thank you very much in advance.

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Mandy in Singapore, Singapore

32 months ago

Hi, I am a foreign medical graduate with PhD in Biomedical Engineering. I have 1 year Clinical Experience in Infectious Diseases. I would like to go into clinical research but I don't want to do the bench work. I would like to work full time CRA position. Can you please give me some advice?
Thank you very much in advance.

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tinys225@gmail.com in Plainfield, New Jersey

24 months ago

hi all..plz reply me to this question
i completed biomedical engineering from india .Right now i am in new jersey..will i be able to get any job...or i should go for higher studies? if so what course should i take? Can i go for some certificate programs like drug safety and pharmacovigilance

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PJ in Bronx, New York

24 months ago

Can you be more clear? What type of jobs are you interested in?

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nam81 in White Plains, New York

23 months ago

Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: Hi DC804,

Unless you have significant project management experience from a similar industry, a CRO will not hire anyone into a management role without CRA experience. My though is that if you are leading a group of CRAs, it's really best that you know what the job involves.

For example: How will you know what makes a good monitoring report without ever having to write one? The CRA role requires significant travel, in just the site assignment process, you have to know if it's even possible for a CRA that lives in Denver to get to Wichita via air for their normal workday. How will you handle your stressed-out overtraveled CRAs when you know nothing about what life is like being on the road four days a week? How will you know which vendors are out there and which ones offer the best service?

With your oncology experience, you are very much in demand- I'd try to get that first CRA role and then work on the PM transition.

@ Mather,
I've MS in Mol Bio and MPH in Epidemiology and am looking for the career in clinical research. I've been applying to many places via modzilla, careerbuilder, monster but no response since I'm lacking an experience. I don't want to do any certificate in clinical research since they're all scam. So, where should I start from to gain an experience. Also, can you please elaborate what are duties and responsibilities of CRA and PM? Thanks.

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Mather

23 months ago

Hi Nam,

I would suggest that you concentrate your initial search on academic medical centers. Epidemiological and Molecular studies are not very common for the CROs, so academia seems like a better fit. I would suggest to begin your career in coordinating before you try to move onto CRA roles.

Basic Roles:
CRC: Good starting point for people who are interested in clinical research- they actually does "hands on" research activities where the research is being conducted under the supervision of a PI. For example, consenting subjects, organizing schedules of patients/doctors, assembling and submitting data, regulatory, budget, etc. They may have a team of several research assistants or nurses that work with them or they could do it all themselves.

CRA (also called a monitor): a job that requires at least two years work experience in research (I.e., as a CRC, CTA, data management or regulatory/documentation specialist). No degree or training program will give you that work experience to become a competitive entry-level CRA applicant, so it's not a career for someone new to the industry. Monitors travel to the places where CRCs and PIs work to monitor their study conduct.

PM (also called CTM): a job that requires at least 5 years of CRA experience or other significant project management experience. They manage a group of CRAs, data managers and work with other department heads (biostatisticians, regulatory, and scientific teams). They manage budgets often in excess of $1 million and teams of over 10 employees.

I trust that you will do your own research for a more robust description of each role.

Just to point out, I noticed several grammatical issues in your post. Flawless English language skills are essential in clinical research because we have so much documentation and communication to do. Science skills/knowledge really come second to communication skills in this industry.

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Carol in Pompano Beach, Florida

23 months ago

Hello Mather,

I am considering the posibility of doing some contract work. What are the Pros and Cons. Do some contract positions qualify for per diem?

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Carol in Pompano Beach, Florida

23 months ago

When searching for contract work, is it preferable to go through a consulting agency or deal directly with the company.

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

22 months ago

Hi TJ,

2 years experience is all you need to get a job. No additional training is required - in fact I caution you about it because many people have created scam companies to get money, especially from immigrants. Of course, more work experience is always better. Extra education is not really valued at your stage in your career.

Your biggest obstacle will be visa requirements. With unemployment so high in the US, there are many equally qualified applicants who don't need all the extra burdens of visa sponsorship so finding a job tends to be very difficult. It is not an easy life.

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Meg in San Antonio, Texas

18 months ago

Howdy! I have an MS in Biology and about 2 years experience as Research Assistant. I would like to know the following,

1. Does anyone think companies will offer a CRA position for a fresher like me in this field? I only have experience in wet labs but nothing so far on the clinical side.Will any recommendations be helpful for the same?

2. Do I need to be a CRA in order to be eligible to get CRA certification from ACRP?

3. If not, then will having a certification enhance my prospects of landing an entry level CRA position?

Looking forward to hearing your valuable insights on this topic!

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

18 months ago

1. Anything's possible- but New CRAs typically need clinical research experience working on trials with human subjects in some capacity. The CRA job is not a position for people new to clinical research.

2. Yes, you must have two years of full time work experience to qualify to sit for any certification exam.

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Maripa in Boston, Massachusetts

16 months ago

Mather, I am a bit lost and would really appreciate your advise. I have Master Degree in Biotechnology and have been employed by the academic research institution in the capacity of PM for the last 5 years. Recently, I have been wanting to make a move to the pharma industry. I have sent hundreds of resumes and applied for PM (or project lead) positions with no luck. I was then told by a recruiter that my experience in the hospital (site) setting would not be enough and I would have to become a CRA first, I would then need to in that position for 2 years and can them move up the ladder. Well, little did I know that I would be getting an offer for a Sr CRA position. I am torn now...do I go for it or do i keep looking for a PM position. I have people whispering in both ears-some say that if I take a step down, it will take me a while to come back up; others say that in order to go up, I have to come down first. what gives? I am so lost I do not know what to do.. And by the way, this job offer was through a connection and I have not gotten any other offers at all...not even an interview.

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