Getting Started in CRA

Comments (5)

j.williamson888 in Hayward, California

36 months ago

I have no background in life sciences. I graduated with a BA in Architecture Studies with a Environmental Sciences focus. I am transitioning into a medical career with the CNA, then LVN, then eventually PhD in the long term. Now, I wish to get my feet wet in the medical field while I go to school as a CNA.

A physician friend of mine mentioned three possibilities and would like to know more about all three, but specifically the Clinical Research Associate. The other two are Pharmaceutical Sales, and Drug Safety Assistant.

What I would like to know is, will it be possible to get an entry level position in CRA with no background in it at all?

Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

36 months ago

The clinical research associate (CRA) role is not a role for entry-level candidates to the clinical research field. At minimum, you need at least 2 years of work experience in clinical research and a bachelor of science in the life sciences. A majority of entry-level jobs will also require at least one year of field monitoring experience.

Until you get a BS and entry level experience, it is likely that your resume will go unnoticed for CRA positions. It would be a better fit to try to CTA (clinical trial assistant) and RA (research assistant) jobs. These jobs will help you get the experience while you work on getting the BS.

May I ask why you are going to school to be a CNA? Perhaps this will be able to pay the bills while you get your LVN, but do not consider the CNA to provide you with any thing to build your resume. You may be better off going straight to LVN instead.

j.williamson888 in Hayward, California

36 months ago

I was going into CNA for a job that gave me some experience, an income, and familiar with medical terminology as a foundation. Some LVN programs accept CNA only, as well as experience. There is one requirement, the Ambulatory Care, I would need experience in order to get some LVN jobs, I'm not sure if the CNA can give me that path. It is my hope the experience with CNA during my LVN studies will help me find LVN job after I graduate. I don't want to graduate, having only volunteer experience, and the recruiter saying it must be paid.

I actually noticed that CTA was a better option for me, I'm glad you have confirmed that with me.

What would you do, to get into a profession, graduate with credentials and experience to guarantee all requirements are met to get the job? Is going straight into LVN, minus relevant paid-experience as a CNA better to secure my LVN job? I am going to do volunteer and training with American Red Cross, but again it is not paid, and it doesn't help with the bills.

j.williamson888 in Hayward, California

36 months ago

I am currently applying to Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives jobs and hope it can give me the terminology I need. It fits my background better than the other entry-level options.

I do still need prerequisites for LVN, depending on the program. I have basically only general psychology, physics, calculus, and upper level English course. So depending on the school, I would need biology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, or other. But, not all of those. Given I already have a debt load from my previous degree, I need it as cheap as possible. Which is one good reason to work during my studies.

My current plan is do the CNA this summer while volunteering, and getting work relevant to health. I am applying to aforementioned jobs to get me there, so far all I have been able to get is health fitness sales. I am wondering when I can get my prerequisites out of the way, I am thinking this fall, which means my LVN would start at least next Spring.

Or, I can go into a private school for my prerequisites, jump into LVN this fall for a higher price.


36 months ago

I got my CNA when I was between sophomore and junior year in high school thinking it would be a good part time job for when I got to college. I didn't last long as it was clear I could make more waiting tables than being a CNA and I'd have a more flexible schedule when studying. If your goal is to work as an LVN, I'd say go for it... But reconsider taking "small steps" as it may take you longer and be more costly in the long run.

At this point, I'd suggest narrowing down your goal. The best route to take if you want to be a CRA is quite different than if you want to be in pharma or medical device sales.

If your goal is medical sales careers, I would suggest looking on the Medzilla forums- they have a forum set up for pharma and device sales where you can talk with experts in that industry. The BA will be acceptable as long as you get some medical experience. It appears like this career choice may be the shorter route, but I'd ask the experts to be sure.

If you want to be a CRA, I'd see if you can go into an accelerated RN program. The LVN will not be enough to get you a career as a CRA in today's market. It would have worked six years ago, but not today.

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