Clinical Research Associate

Last Updated:
July 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Clinical Research Associate job description involves managing and overseeing clinical trials of new drugs, medical devices, or treatments. Clinical Research Associates (CRAs) ensure that all trials are conducted ethically, safely and in accordance with national and international regulatory requirements. 

CRAs are responsible for developing study protocols, recruiting and training study staff, monitoring participants’ safety, collecting and analyzing data, and ensuring that all trial documentation is complete and accurate. They also liaise with medical professionals, patients, and regulatory bodies, and provide regular updates to sponsors and stakeholders. 

To be successful in this role, candidates must have strong communication, organizational, and analytical skills, as well as a solid understanding of clinical trial regulations and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards. A bachelor's degree in a relevant scientific field is required, and additional qualifications and certifications are desirable. Clinical Research Associate job descriptions typically require candidates to have previous experience in clinical research or related fields.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct study visits and collect data from study participants
  • Ensure compliance with study protocols and regulatory requirements
  • Perform site monitoring and ensure accuracy of study data
  • Maintain communication with study staff and investigators
  • Create and maintain study documentation and reports
  • Identify and resolve study issues and discrepancies
  • Ensure participant safety and study quality
  • Participate in study initiation, planning, and close-out activities
  • Provide training and support to study staff as needed

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a Clinical Research Associate in the Science industry, you need to earn a bachelor's degree in a science-related field and have some experience in the industry. Some people even choose to get a master's degree or a PhD. It's also helpful to have experience working in clinical research or a related field, as well as knowledge of regulatory requirements and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines. Organizations like the Association of Clinical Research Professionals offer certifications that can demonstrate your knowledge and experience. In addition, good communication and problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work independently are important traits for this job.

Salary Range

If you're thinking about a career as a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) in the Science industry, you're likely curious about the expected salary range. According to Payscale, the average salary for a CRA in the United States is $64,442 per year, with a salary range of $44,000 to $95,000. However, the salary range can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and company size. 

For example, a CRA in California can expect a higher salary, with an average of $82,609 per year. Meanwhile, in Canada, the average CRA salary is CAD $60,758 (USD $45,918) per year, according to Indeed. 

Overall, being a CRA in the science industry can be a rewarding and lucrative career path. As with any job, it's important to do your research and negotiate your salary based on your qualifications and experience.


Career Outlook

The career outlook for Clinical Research Associates (CRAs) in the Science industry is quite promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of CRAs is projected to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. With the increase in demand for new drugs and medical devices, the need for CRAs to monitor clinical trials and ensure their safety is expected to rise. Additionally, the trend toward outsourcing clinical trials to Contract Research Organizations (CROs) is also driving the growth in CRA jobs.

In conclusion, if you're interested in a career as a Clinical Research Associate, there are many opportunities available now and in the future. With a growing demand for new drugs and medical devices and the trend toward outsourcing trials, the job outlook for CRAs in the Science industry is looking bright.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) do?

A: A CRA monitors and supervises clinical trials and ensures that they are conducted in accordance with all applicable regulations, guidelines, and protocols.

Q: What are the qualifications for becoming a CRA?

A: To become a CRA, you typically need a bachelor's degree in life sciences or a related field, as well as previous experience in clinical research or a related field. Additional certifications may also be required.

Q: What are some of the day-to-day tasks of a CRA?

A: A CRA's duties may include site selection, study startup, site initiation, routine site management, regulatory compliance, data collection and management, and study closeout.

Q: What are the challenges of being a CRA?

A: CRA work can be demanding and involve frequent travel, long hours, and strict deadlines. The role also requires strong attention to detail, communication and interpersonal skills, and the ability to work well under pressure.

Q: What are the career growth opportunities for CRAs?

A: With experience, CRAs may advance to senior CRA, lead CRA, or project management roles within medical device, pharmaceutical, or biotechnology companies. There may also be opportunities to move into other areas within clinical research and development.

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