Getting a CRA position, is it better to start out as a project assistant or CRC?

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Comments (16)

Drew P in Chicago, Illinois

66 months ago

Which of the two is more relevant and likely to lead you into a career as a CRA?

Also, does it matter if you are an assistant at a biotech company vs. a CRO? There are a lot more biotechs hiring these assistants than CROs..

It seems like the project assistant and CTA jobs require barely more than a high school diploma......

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Drew P in Chicago, Illinois

66 months ago

Why is it that a CTA doesn't even require a college degree?

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DouBles in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

47 months ago

You can't get a CRA job without clinical research experience, so for your first few years, you need to 'pay your dues' in an entry level positions.

80% of the CTAs I know have a BS or a BA. If you have good organizational and support skills and work better in an office environment, the a CTA or project assistant position is the best for you. Since you already work for a CRO, you will have the insider information and you'll know when they start hiring for entry-level positions. You are also more likely to get the job as most companies like to promote from within OR steal their competitor's CTAs.

CRCs need a completely different set of skills. CRCs should have patient care skills and have a wide range of therapeutic knowledge. For their first few years in clinical research, they'll work for a physician and act out the protocols with them. This pathway may take a little longer to move into a CRA position, but it really makes you a better CRA.

There is another route to make yourself eligible to pursue a career as a CRA, data management. Data reviews and managers oversee the data collection process. These people also work for CROs.

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sarwar_clinic@hotmail.com in Glen Head, New York

47 months ago

I m an experienced foreign medical graduate having worked in multiple medical discipline and approximately for five years as Clinical Research Coordinator outside USA.
I m an energetic person and a permanent resident of USA.Inspite of that there are multiple vacancies in all states of USA but nobody is accepting me to call for an interview,insterad they prefer to call a simple High school diploma holder or B.S in Biology.
Can you help me finding a job for me any where in USA,and please provide me your E-mail ID,so I would be able to e-mail you my resume.

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sarwar_clinic@hotmail.com in Glen Head, New York

47 months ago

CRA should preferbly be choosen as foreign medical graduate with minimum of five years postgraduate experience and must be a citizen or Green card

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Anlipa in Austin, Texas

47 months ago

Sarwar,

I do not agree that foreign medical grads are the best fit for a CRA position. FMG typically struggle in the CRA position because this position is not in line with their skills.

CRAs need excellent communication and English writing skills. As a CRA, you speak, train and discuss action items with investigators and coordinators everyday. The poor grammar and syntax of your post reflect substantial inefficiencies for IMV report writing, the main deliverable that a CRA provides.

I've had to monitored after many FMG and because their interests and education lie in different areas, they don't give the proper focus necessary to proper documentation practice, compliance to the regulations or protocol. The job is not challeging enough for FMG, so typically, they tend to quit after 2-3 years for something more challenging.

Because of the poor communication skills and because FMG aren't the best 'fit' for a CRA position, most companies prefer CRAs to be RNs or BS for good reason. Occasionally, when consider the promotion from CRA to CTM, a Master's degree will be beneficial, but not necessary.

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CRA in Fairfield, Connecticut

47 months ago

I agree with Anlipa - Another thing I have seen is that Medical Students/Foreign MDs typically believe they can review the data from a medical point of view. This is really not what a CRA should do - this is the responsibility of the PI. As a CRA, you can question if items are AEs/SAEs (lab values, events, etc.), but it is ultimately up to the PI to ensure all subjects are protected.

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sarwar_clinic@hotmail.com in Glen Head, New York

47 months ago

How do you think that a high school graduate or BS can analyze data or understand the sign symptoms of volunteers if they are not medical
graduates.Hence I do think FMG from any distinguished institutions of any country with a command of english language or TOEFL score more of than 650, should given preference, if during interview they can proof that they have knowledge of research protocol and methodology and GCP

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duh in New Brunswick, New Jersey

47 months ago

Clinical data is not analyzed by a CRA nor any medical decision/evaulation can be made by a CRA in Clinical Trial.
With your medical degree, you need to find a job in drug safety and assess adverse event cases.

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Merideth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

47 months ago

My preference for hiring an entry-level CRA is:

1. RN, BSN, CCRC
2. BS, CCRC
3. Any bachelors or RN degree with clinical research experience
4. Foreign medical grad
5. RNs or BS without clinical research experience.

The skill level of an experienced RN often exceeds that of a foreign medical grad that couldn't match or pass the US exams when looking at US case studies. They know how to go in there and quickly find what is important to the trial while I find medical grads see things from a doctor's prospective, not one of a CRA. I've been on monitoring visits with foreign medical grads and they go off on tangents and tend to focus efforts in the wrong places. The fact is that in the USA, most of the care given to patients is done by nurses who require a tremendous ability to prioritize work and multitasking.

When I am considering hiring for a CRA I position, the Experienced RN who has worked for several years as a CRC will always be my top candidate.

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sarwar_clinic@hotmail.com in Glen Head, New York

47 months ago

duh in New Brunswick, New Jersey said: Clinical data is not analyzed by a CRA nor any medical decision/evaulation can be made by a CRA in Clinical Trial.
With your medical degree, you need to find a job in drug safety and assess adverse event cases.

Thanks for your precious advise.

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sarwar_clinic@hotmail.com in Glen Head, New York

47 months ago

Thanks for your precious advise,I appreciate your comments.

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rabitlet in Redlands, California

44 months ago

Merideth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: My preference for hiring an entry-level CRA is:

1. RN, BSN, CCRC
2. BS, CCRC
3. Any bachelors or RN degree with clinical research experience
4. Foreign medical grad
5. RNs or BS without clinical research experience.

The skill level of an experienced RN often exceeds that of a foreign medical grad that couldn't match or pass the US exams when looking at US case studies. They know how to go in there and quickly find what is important to the trial while I find medical grads see things from a doctor's prospective, not one of a CRA. I've been on monitoring visits with foreign medical grads and they go off on tangents and tend to focus efforts in the wrong places. The fact is that in the USA, most of the care given to patients is done by nurses who require a tremendous ability to prioritize work and multitasking.

When I am considering hiring for a CRA I position, the Experienced RN who has worked for several years as a CRC will always be my top candidate.

Thanks for your notes. I've got an idea how to become a competent CRA. I am BSN with RN license and have one year of experience working for a nursing registry.

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Karen in Clearwater, Florida

43 months ago

Merideth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: My preference for hiring an entry-level CRA is:

1. RN, BSN, CCRC
2. BS, CCRC
3. Any bachelors or RN degree with clinical research experience
4. Foreign medical grad
5. RNs or BS without clinical research experience.

The skill level of an experienced RN often exceeds that of a foreign medical grad that couldn't match or pass the US exams when looking at US case studies. They know how to go in there and quickly find what is important to the trial while I find medical grads see things from a doctor's prospective, not one of a CRA. I've been on monitoring visits with foreign medical grads and they go off on tangents and tend to focus efforts in the wrong places. The fact is that in the USA, most of the care given to patients is done by nurses who require a tremendous ability to prioritize work and multitasking.

When I am considering hiring for a CRA I position, the Experienced RN who has worked for several years as a CRC will always be my top candidate.

With this in mind.. I am RN,C-OB, BSN,CCRC with 7 years as a coordinator do you know of anyone hiring entry level positions for CRA. I have multiple therapeutic areas ( endocrinology, cardiovascular, women and men health, pain, arthritis, etc)

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Neela in Irvine, California

40 months ago

Yes,I think nurses are better fit for the position. I have worked with some FMG during internship and some RN, they lack passion to work in the field. this is somthing that they have to do, because they can't do anything else in their field. I also saw things that completely violeted GCP because of their detailed medical knowled

Thats my experience. I am sure some FMG are better motivated that I just havent met.

Anyway,

I too struggled to find a job in this field. I really find the field very interesting. I went to Bio school with BSc, not to go to medical school but to pursue patient and drug researh. Little I knew at the time how tough this field is.

With the chicken and egg story I was not able to locate a good job. I even volunteered at sites which were too small to hire me. I have done lot of reserach and went to socra meetings regularly. Everytime I got interview, my lack of experience came in the way, perticularly in this economy. But I used that time to talk to these managers and even directors to ask for their advice. I made decision to go back to school and get second degree in nursing. Some said medical assistnat degree and working as CRC would be enough. But I really want to be a strong candidate not just now but in future. I am passionate about this field and I want to give 110%. So I decided to go back to school. I took classes for 1 1/2 year. And now I am starting BSN program that is one year. I hope all this will be worth it. After this, I hope to get a CRC job in well known hospital or entry level position in CRO. I also plan to continue school with MS in public health.

Getting into nursing school was very tough with 4-5 hours of nerve breaking interviews and testing. Classes that are 6 hours in lenth with lab and now nursing school.

I hope somone will recognize my enthusiasm in this field. If anyone who is in this field have two words of motivation, please let me know. Motivation keeps me going I can use some now.

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Pat in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

40 months ago

Karen in Clearwater, Florida said: With this in mind.. I am RN,C-OB, BSN,CCRC with 7 years as a coordinator do you know of anyone hiring entry level positions for CRA. I have multiple therapeutic areas ( endocrinology, cardiovascular, women and men health, pain, arthritis, etc)

I know the big 3 CROs are hiring experienced nurse coordinators by the dozens now- appearantly a lot of new contracts are coming up and they want CCRC's. Of course it depends on what city you live in, but it's worth checking out.

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