How to get CRA training?

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

Hi Ann,

NEVER pay a dollar for CRA training. Never! Your employer will pay you to go to the training courses they find will be beneficial.

There is only one way a CRA can get certified and this is through either of our professional organizations (ACRP or SoCRA). Any other 'certificates' or 'certifications' are NOT recognized in the industry.

Entry level CRA jobs are jobs that are not for people that have never worked in clinical research. Before you even look at CRA jobs, you should have at least 2 years work experience in clinical research as a CRC, data manager, regulatory assistant, clinical trial assistant or other position.

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Anns in Charles Town, West Virginia

29 months ago

Mather,
Thanks for your input!

How do I go about CRC job hunt? Do they require any special qualifications..?

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

Hi Ann,

I looked on this website for "Clinical Research Coordinator" positions in my area. The qualifications for the first job that came up on my search were:
- RN/BSN with current licensure in the State of Pennsylvania.
- Minimum 2 years clinical experience.
- Oncology experience is preferred.
- Research experience is preferred.

Although this particular job post wants an RN, I've worked with my foreign medical grads that have been able to get around that and have secured CRC positions. I've also worked with CRCs that just have a Bachelor's degree but mainly do regulatory and let nurses do blood draws and other clinical assessments.

I would look at all the job postings in your area and see what they are looking for and emphasize the skills you've gained that fit what they are looking for.

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Evren in Rotterdam, Netherlands

20 months ago

Hi Mather,

I live in Holland and I graduated as research scientist in 2011 but I cannot work as CRA because I do not have any experience or training or certificate of CRA or ICH GCP. Whenever I read a job position I read that CRA training is a must. What do you suggest me to do?

I cehecked other jobs such as regulatory affairs or clinical trial assistant but I did not find anything.

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Mather in Ansonia, Connecticut

20 months ago

Hi Evren,

First, I have to give you the disclaimer that I am NOT familiar with Holland's clinical research environment. I live in the USA and have that prospective, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Can you give me more information about your background and your motivation for pursuing the CRA career?

The most important thing to realize about the CRA job is that it is not a job appropriate for people who have never worked on human clinical trials before. The CRA job is a mid-career position. Some people have gotten lucky, so I don't discourage you from trying, but realize that chances are slim. You will get ample GCP training in a CTA or CRC position. Your employer should pay for this training.

NO company provides a legitimate "certification" for CRAs prior to having one year seniority in the CRA role. You get the CRA job first and then in two year you can sit for the certification test (see ACRP or SOCRA websites for more details. I don't know any details about Holland, but in the US/Canada/LA thus is how it works.

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Evren in Rotterdam, Netherlands

20 months ago

Hi Mather,

I am very happy about your quick response. I studied Human Nutrition-Health and Disease. During our study we're specilized on clinical trials. We as students work in clinical trials (study design) and collect data, analyze the data by SPSS and write scientific articles. The problem in Holland is as far as I see US or UK based companies are looking for CRAs but this is not a training given in our studies. To get into the company is hard without an experience. To be able to get into a company I thought GCP and CRA training might help because even in some internships you have to hold this certificate.

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mad_scientist in Seattle, Washington

20 months ago

I think people everywhere run into the problem of every clinical research-related position requiring experience, but how the heck do you get experience if you have to have experience to get they jobs?? Even the CTA positions want 6+ years of experience, now.

I am a biomedical scientist with a phd trained in cancer research. I have been applying for every clinical data coordinator or research associate position that opens up in my area, and no one seems interested. Although the data coordinator positions say they only want someone with a bachelors degree, they won't even look at me, despite my phd, because they want someone with at least 1+ yrs previous clinical research experience. It's a hard bite to swallow for someone who's spent 25 years of their life in education. I have even completed a training program in design, management, and regulation of clinical trials through the largest cancer center in the nation, but that still isn't "experience."

So, how do I convince these companies to hire me? I have 6 years experience with cancer research, but apparently that counts for nothing.

Can anyone suggest things, selling points maybe, for myself that I should use? Key Words for my resume or cover letter?

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Mather in Saint Louis, Missouri

20 months ago

I do not think that data coordinator positions or research assistant positions are appropriate for someone with a PhD. Look for jobs at the PhD level that relate to your academic background. You are basically caught in the "overqualified" trap. You have educational credentials that are well beyond what any entry level position needs, but not enough real world work experience to get the jobs you want. (((This is why I believe that grad schools should require two years of full time work prior to entry and that graduate programs should always be offered so the student can work a paying job at least part time in thief field of study, but I digress)))

The "overqualified" trap is a hard one to get out of. You just have to keep searching until you find someone willing to take a chance on you. Use your network of colleagues, research professionals, hospital affiliations and universities to bolster your resume with work experience. Search job boards for positions that require PhDs- you will soon find that companies will have vastly different names for the same position, so keyword searches often won't work for you.

Your six years of cancer research counts a lot- but not to someone that wants a lowly data coordinator. Hire an experienced clinical research recruiter to help you write your resume. You need to apply to the right position with the right skill set with the right resume.

Some suggest not putting your PhD on the resume, but I think it's important to disclose.... Even if education is at the bottom of the resume, employers won't feel deceived later on when you ask for a raise and disclose the information previously withheld.

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mad_scientist in Bothell, Washington

20 months ago

You are exactly right that I am stuck in that trap. It is one of the really ridiculous things about having a phd in a biomedical science field....there are SOOO many career choices for us, but anything outside of the academic research realm is ridiculously hard to get because the only experience we have is almost entirely restricted to working in a research laboratory.

I contacted a clinical research recruiter not long ago and was told that I was wasting my time trying to communicate with recruiters because the companies they hire for won't even let them submit the name of someone without clinical research experience. Hence why I have stooped to applying for data coordinator-type positions. I make crappy pay as a post-doc, doing something that really isn't getting me anywhere closer to my career goal, so I might as well make crappy pay doing something that IS getting me closer to where I want to be.

Do you know where I can find the type of clinical research recruiters who help with things like resumes? I am sure that would be a big help, but I'm not really sure where to look for those kinds of people....the only recruiters I can find on searches are the ones working for the big CRO companies, and I'm pretty sure those aren't the kind of people who help with resume writing ;)

I have literally applied to over 70 positions, most in the Seattle area. There is no deficit of CRA or MSL positions available in the Seattle area, but every single one, without fail, lists 2+ (some say 5+) clinical monitoring experience or clinical research experience as an absolutely essential requirement. I still apply to them, but to no avail.

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Evren in Rotterdam, Netherlands

20 months ago

Hi Mad_Scientist (sorry I dont know your real name)
Maybe that web site can help you to organize your cv.
craconnection.com/en/resume-services/clinical-research-resume-template.html

Maybe you can apply some research jobs in Holland because they are offen looking for post-docs and Phds. For Holland this CRA thing is very new and studies are conducted in hospitals interaction with the universities.

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laura in Hollywood, Florida

15 months ago

I'm getting a masters in Biomedical sciences. I'm volunteering at a emergency room at a hospital, have worked as a dental assistant. I just want to know how doable/hard is it to get a CRA job without clinical research experience?

Thank you

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

15 months ago

The CRA role is not a role for people without several years of clinical research experience. The role requires an experienced candidate.

I would estimate the chance of someone with no clinical research experience getting a CRA job to be about 1%. Typically, people with 5 years experience as a CRC or CTA need to fight to get their first chance at a CRA job.

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xiang in Detroit, Michigan

12 months ago

mad_scientist in Bothell, Washington said: You are exactly right that I am stuck in that avail.

Hi, Mad_scientist, I totally understand you, coz we are exactly in the same situation, and thousands of post-doc as well. There are tons of postdoc who are stuck at the stage of postdoc, no way to get out.Faculty position in academia is so few and so competitive to get. You have to have PhD from top-tier unv and have recommendation from big bull. R&D position in industry are few as well. Some people say that to be postdoc is like in purgatory, you have to try really hard to see the light. However, where is the light? We can't even find a entry level job as assistant. so pathetic!

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jules in Scottsbluff, Nebraska

12 months ago

Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: Hi Ann,

NEVER pay a dollar for CRA training. Never! Your employer will pay you to go to the training courses they find will be beneficial.

There is only one way a CRA can get certified and this is through either of our professional organizations (ACRP or SoCRA). Any other 'certificates' or 'certifications' are NOT recognized in the industry.

Entry level CRA jobs are jobs that are not for people that have never worked in clinical research . Before you even look at CRA jobs, you should have at least 2 years work experience in clinical research as a CRC, data manager, regulatory assistant , clinical trial assistant or other position.

Hi, I am a

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jules in Scottsbluff, Nebraska

12 months ago

Hi, I am an RN with 5 years experience as a CRC. How do I get resumes to these companies to get noticed?

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Susan in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

10 months ago

Hi, I am a biomedical scientist with a PHD in Cancer research interested in becoming a CRA. Thanks a lot for all your input. I got a lot of my questions answered just by reading these comments.
Can anybody tell me if it is worth doing the graduate course in CRA training? It is called the Graduate training in CRA (offered by some universities as an online certificate course). I realize it is not certification (only the ACRP or SoCRA can give certifications) but apparently it gives the required clinical research experience. Is this true or even worth doing?
Thanks a lot for your help

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Lorie France in Saint-contest, Quebec

10 months ago

Hi SUSAN,

I am training whith CRA-School based in montreal. Contrary to what you say, it deliver a certification after completing the final exam. The coordinator's name Svet Kristof
Good Luck,

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Sara

10 months ago

Hi am a CRA I have blog where I talk about some of the basics of being a CRA check it out beginnercra.wordpress.com/. I plan on including some hands on stuff how to get started the right things to say on an interview. I also offer coaching so if you are interested please check it out at beginnercra.wordpress.com/

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Sonia in Sherbrooke, Quebec

9 months ago

Lorie France in Saint-contest, Quebec said: Hi SUSAN,

I am training whith CRA-School based in montreal. Contrary to what you say, it deliver a certification after completing the final exam. The coordinator 's name Svet Kristof
Good Luck,

Hi Lorie,
I want to do this training in Montréal, and I would like to have your reviews about that. Thank you.

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Lola from France in Caen, France

9 months ago

Hi Sonai,
I am currently registered in this program. At the beginning, I had some doubt, but now I am very satisfied with their talent and their available.
So If you agree, We can have more discuss in this matter.
You can e-mail me at lola_bee@hotmail.fr
Get in touch,

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Hussam sh in manhattan, New York

4 months ago

Hi Mather ,

Hope your doing well !
I had a discussion with you before regarding CRA career in US for foreign doctors.
I would like to ask if clinical research exp as a CRA gained from arabic speaking country is considered if i want get a clinical research job in the US?

Thanks alot,

Hussam.

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Hussam sh in manhattan, New York

4 months ago

Hi Mather ,

Hope your doing well !
I had a discussion with you before regarding CRA career in US for foreign doctors.
I would like to ask if clinical research exp as a CRA gained from arabic speaking country is considered if i want get a clinical research job in the US?

Thanks alot,

Hussam.

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Haider in Metuchen, New Jersey

3 months ago

Hello Mather,
I am a foreign medical doctor, can you please advice how to get started in the clinical research field. I understood from your posts that CRA is not for entry level, but you mentioned to start with CRC,data manager, regulatory assistant, clinical trial assistant. what do I need to start with one of these job titles?

thanks in advance

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

3 months ago

Hello Haider,

As previously stated above, I do not think a CRA job is an appropriate position for a foreign medical grad/doctoral candidates. There are many other jobs in clinical research that are more commensurate with your training, experience and education.

I think from now on I'll make a promise to myself to only entertain the questions of doctoral-level candidates asking about CRA jobs to those who can raise their right hand and repeat, "I think that the best place for my talents is to be in a job where I no longer make any medical or scientific decisions, will not analyze the results of studies and will not design protocols. Instead, I would like a job where I will best away from my family 4 days a week, spending a bulk of that time ensuring what one screen is the same thing on another screen, dealing with paperwork, counting pills and managing others."

The CRA job isn't very much about science or medicine- it's more of a job where you need a little science/medical background to enable you to work with people and make sure they get things done. I think even a CRC job will be better for you than a CRA job because at least CRCs (aka: research nurses) actually work with patients.

Instead, I suggest you look at these positions:
1. Medical Science Liaison
2. Medical Monitor
3. Protocol Writer
4. Pharmacologist
5. Clinical Research Investigator

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