What does a Clinical Research Associate do?
Clinical Research Associate (CRAs) are responsible for coordinating and overseeing the execution of studies and clinical trials. They have a hand in everything from recruiting study participants to creating study documentation, collecting patient data, and performing quality assurance audits to ensure study protocols are being followed. CRAs usually work for pharmaceutical companies, hospital research departments, or clinical contract agencies.
A bachelor's degree in nursing or a related health science concentration is typically required for this position. This requirement may occasionally be waived if a candidate has had significant prior experience working in a clinical environment. For success as a Clinical Research Associate, candidates should possess superior organization skills, strong attention to detail, and excellent analytical thinking skills.
- Recruit and enroll study participants
- Input clinical research data into electronic data systems
- Coordinate patient visits and procedures related to research
- Act as resource for study participants by answering questions and explaining related procedures
- Ensure the study site is compliance with all local and federal laws and regulations
- Monitor study sites and activities to ensure the the appropriate industry protocols and terms of the study are being followed
- Oversee the hiring and training of staff members who are working on the study
- Create thorough documentation of study protocol and update it as needed
- 2+ years of prior clinical research experience
- Must possess superior analytical and creative thinking skills
- Excellent attention to detail and the ability to keep detailed, accurate records
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Understanding of laboratory procedures and equipment
- Advanced organizational and planning skills
- Proficiency in MS Word and Excel programs
- Ability to stand for extended periods of time
- Must be fluent in English and posses solid writing abilities
How much does a Clinical Research Associate make?
Clinical Research Associate Career Path
Learn how to become a Clinical Research Associate, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Average Years of Experience
Clinical Research Associate Insights
“Helping people feel good about themselves has been one of my favorite things about working at Sephora”
“Parking wasn’t the best had to take a shuttle and took awhile to get to work”
“Really enjoyed being surrounded by so many brilliant people and got to learn new things every day.”
“Pay is not anywhere close to market rate and they don’t factor cost of living.”
“Its faced paced but my manager is amazing and they let you grow in your career.”
“I have worked at MD Anderson for 11 years and I am proud to work for such an amazing institution.”
“All of my line managers have been fantastic people and have been dedicated to growing my career.”
“I have a great team and I am very supported in both my ongoing research projects and personally.”
Clinical Research Associate Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of clinical research associates
The typical day of a clinical research associate includes planning and managing clinical research projects for pharmaceutical companies. They may recruit participants, coordinate schedules, input data, and oversee trials. In their career, clinical researchers may also be in charge of ensuring that researchers follow all local and federal regulations.
Working as a clinical research associate can be rewarding, as they have the opportunity to make a difference in medicine. The best part about the job is that it's an important position, ensuring research studies collect the right data, while also following ethical and legal responsibilities. Becoming a clinical research associate requires a background in research.
Working as a clinical research associate can feel overwhelming at times, as they manage multiple aspects of the research process. One challenge of the job is that they're responsible for ensuring the safety of patients and may need to work nontraditional hours to accommodate different research participants' schedules.