Current CRC, how much experience required to be a good CRA candidate?

Comments (5)

TaylorLJew in Porter Ranch, California

36 months ago

Hi there,

I am currently working as a clinical research coordinator (1 year experience) at a cancer research center with previous years experience (2 yrs) as a clinical lab tech and project associate (central lab vendor with Quest). I know the next step in my career is to become a CRA, but it feels like even the bigger CROs aren't giving me a chance to interview with my background (BS Biology). I am working at networking with the many CRAs I work with, gathering references from CRAs and the pharma companies alike. I know I should be patient, but I can't fight these anxious feelings that my goal of becoming a CRA is close, especially because I know I want to go into this field.

My question much experience as a CRC is needed before I stand out amongst the crowds also applying for the same position? 1.5 years? 2 years? I want to be able to get a CRA I or II position with my experience, but will take anything I can to get my foot in the door as a CRA. Also, which companies are more lenient with non-CRA experience? I've heard ICON, PPD, Parexel, Quintiles, but don't want to apply yet and get shot down.

I would love to hear back from anyone in the same boat and how long they worked as a CRC before hearing some positive news in the CRA world.

I am in southern US, 10 minutes from international airport. Hope this helps!

Thanks again for the advice and help :)

Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

36 months ago

I think 2 years is a good minimum to start applying to CRA I jobs at the major CROs; however, right now the big companies have a lot of needs, so I would not wait. Apply today at those big (and small) CROs- you can always try again next year.

CRCs my company is hiring for CRA 1 roles on average have 5 years.... But many have upwards of ten years for personal reasons (wanted kids to grow up before they started traveling so much).

As a baseline, you should also have a Bachelor's of Science degree. It doesn't matter if it's nursing, biology or healthcare.... It should just be a BS. Also, you must work in every phase of a study (start up, initiation visits, monitoring visits and close out visits) and know GCPs about the monitor's responsibility at each visit.

You will not get a CRA 2 position- by definition, you need CRA experience to be a CRA 2. But, if you see a job offer on a website for a CRA 2 job- apply anyway. If you get hired, they will give you the right title. When I was looking to change jobs two years ago, I was at the senior level but could only find job posts for CRA2 - I applied anyway and ensured that when I was hired, my job title would reflect my experience level. The 1, 2, 3, senior and princlal levels are just a measurement of experience and job duties do not differ by levels.

TaylorLJew in Nashville, Tennessee

36 months ago


Thanks for the insight. Does it make a difference or have more weight if my CRC experience is strictly in Phase I oncology studies? I've been told having this vs. phase II/III protocols looks good because of the complexity of the study itself (ie target lesions/RECIST, AEs, conmeds, PKs and PDS).

Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

36 months ago

I would try applying to PRA now if you have Phase I oncology study experience.

Phase I monitoring requires a specific skill set. It's a lot different than doing a Phase II/III/IV study, so your specialized skills are both a positive and negative. It's good because you really know the area unlike 80% of the other monitors out there, but then a negative because you may not have to broad knowledge of the more common clinical studies.

TJ123 in Nashville, Tennessee

36 months ago

Thanks for the heads up, Mather.

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