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
Clinical Research Associate Salaries
Average Base Pay
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.
Years of Experience Distribution
Clinical Research Associate Insights
“When I first started I was amazed at the team work and how wonderful and helpful everyone was.”
“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”
“Pay is not anywhere close to market rate and they don’t factor cost of living.”
“Really enjoyed being surrounded by so many brilliant people and got to learn new things every day.”
“4. Management does not listen to its staff and any concerns fall on deaf ears.”
“The people I work with are great and I love the work I am doing everyday.”
“Good work life balance for me because I live close by and get to work flexibly.”
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.
Clinical research associates get paid well. The average pay for clinical research associates in the United States is $4,082 per year. This can vary based on experience, with clinical research associates who have more experience earning up to $6,121 per year.
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.