Why is it so difficult to find a CRA job? Hoping recruiters to answer...

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Comments (13)

Kurapika in Santa Monica, California

20 months ago

I understand that a significant level of professionalism, knowledge, and experience must be need to work in a field that involves human safety. However, with a MS degree in CLinical Research & CCRP ceritification I feel that I know more than alot of the CRA's I've worked with. I've been in the search for CRA jobs but with no avail primarily because I don't have the mandatory 2 years monitoring experience. Does the monitoring experience really that important where it supersedes a solid knowledge in clinical research? I have to say that alot of the monitors don't know what they're doing because they've been learning the wrong things from the very start.

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

20 months ago

As someone who interviews CRAs, there is nothing worse than the "I know more than the CRAs that I have worked with" attitude from someone who has never been a CRA. As CRAs, we've been there and it was a harsh reality getting through that first year of monitoring. We know that we had no idea what we were in for as new monitors. Trust me, the first year of monitoring felt like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and going through fraternity hazings all at once.

Monitoring experience is something of great importance. It's not only the professional but also the personal issues as well. A lot of new monitors just can't hack being on 150+ flights a year and only seeing family on Friday and Saturday. It costs a company ~$50,000 to train a new CRA and it is all wasted when they find out that the new CRA cannot handle the job six months down the line.

I know it seems like I've come down on you kind of hard, but that attitude is a huge pet peeve of many of my colleagues. It's appropriate to approach this transition with a more humble attitude.

Here are some standard tips for getting your first monitoring job:
1. Be willing to relocate
2. Be willing to travel 100%
3. Be willing to take a pay cut
4. Don't just apply at the big companies, do your research and find out the names and contacts for small companies.
5. Submitting an application online and waiting for a phone call is a terrible job search strategy for any professional field, including clinical research. It's important to TALK to people.
6. Be an excellent CRC- Most monitors I know are eager to refer their best CRCs to their company because if you are hired, they will get a hefty recruitment bonus.
7. Talk to your monitors, know their story and their tips.

The most attractive candidate for a CRA 1 job has:
-RN/BSN
-CRC experience for at least two+ years
-Worked in multiple therapuetic areas
-Computer skills
-Flawless writing skills
-Is willing to go anywhere, anytime

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TJ123 in California

13 months ago

Hey Mather,

What would the expected salary be for an entry-level CRA from a big CRO be? They are looking to hire a group of new CRAs w/ 2+ years of research exp. I have 2 years as a CRC and 2 in DM. Would they be considered CRA Is? I guess I don't like the "entry-level" part of the titles :P

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

13 months ago

Depending on your qualification, you should get anywhere between 45-65k. A person with no research experience could only pull 45k- but if you have an advanced nursing degrees and a robust clinical research background you could get 65k.

Most people will end up in the middle.

All entry level (aka "new") monitor is considered a CRA 1. The only difference between a CRA 1 and a CRA 2 is just time in the role. Senior CRA titles also denote more experience as a CRA.

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Beck in Kingston, Pennsylvania

12 months ago

Is it an absolute must to have an RN/BSN? Could you get a job with a degree in say, biology?

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SPD DMN

12 months ago

RN/BSN or any life-science BS is fine.

When it comes to the CRA role, the degree really doesn't matter- it only matters that you have a Bachelor's degree. What matters most is the number of years experience working in clinical research.

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xiang in Detroit, Michigan

12 months ago

Hi,Mather, you are always very helpful. I benefited a lot from your post

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toureyacine9@yahoo.fr in Saint-contest, France

11 months ago

Hi every one,
I am French, I currently live in France but I am preparing to move to canada.
I had a masters degree in public health, I have been working for almost 4 years as a CRC.
Now, I am registering witn the CRA-School Canada in order to get a certificate in CRA/CRC.
I find that your comments are very helpfull and usefull for me.
I would like you to tell me a litle about my backround and my experience I have in abroad ( not in canada, that's why I am training in CCRA).

If all will going well, I will get my visa in 4 months.
Could you tell me if it will be hard for me to get a job as a CRA i a CRO or in a biotechnological company.

I thank you in adavnce for your response.

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Hussam in Hackensack, New Jersey

11 months ago

Hi everyone,
im a medical doctor and i got my medical degree from outside America.
I am wondering if i can get a CRA job in the US or not? and if i need a clinical research experience even if i hold MD degree?

thanks.

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

11 months ago

Hussam,

If you were a doctor in another country, the CRA role is far below your expertise.... However CRAs possess a very specific skill set where no advanced degree will substitute for experience. CRA is not an entry level position and clinical research experience is a minimum entry requirement.

I would look into taking the boards and working to become a clinician in the USA and use the skills and training you worked so hard to master.

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Hussam sh in manhattan, New York

11 months ago

Mather,
Thank you for your reply.
1-If clinical research experience is needed to get a CRA job, so how can i get such experience?

2-I am very interested in clinical research and have been working as a clinical research volunteer at a hospital here in the US , Do you think it might help?

3-Do you know if i can get a clinical research coordinator job at a hospital in the US with only my MD degree or they will ask for a clinical research experience as well?

4- i know alot about clinical research process like protocols , GCP , consent.

Regards.

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Mather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

11 months ago

The CRA job is really a mid-career job. There are many jobs that lead into a possible promotion into the CRA role. People become CRAs usually by working in one of the following jobs for 2+ years:
- Clinical Research Coordinator / Study Coordinator
- Data Manager
- Clinical Trial Assistant

All you need for these careers is a bachelor's degree or nursing license.

I would only volunteer as a last-resort- you have to make a living.

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Hussam sh in manhattan, New York

11 months ago

Mather,
Thank you for providing me with these information.
What i have understood that they consider clinical research volunteering as an experience,,is that correct?
my volunteering role was like a clinical trial assistant.

Regards.

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