While holding a certification in the clinical research field is not required for most positions, it has been our experience candidates who have earned certain certifications find it of enormous benefit.
As you likely know, a certification is simply a formal recognition of your job skills, experience, and performance, and will validate your knowledge and skills to other professionals. Currently, there are over 25,000 certified CRAs in the United States.
You might be wondering, “If a certification is not required, why should I bother with it?”
Here are a few benefits to being a certified clinical research professional:
- According to the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, “evidence has indicated that that regulators believe certification reduces risk to research subjects” and it is widely believed that “there are fewer errors, lower costs, more rapid turnaround, and greater safety in clinical trials when certified professionals are involved.” Long story short, being certified will give hiring managers more confidence in your abilities.
- For CROs, holding a certification will increase your company’s marketability.
- A certification will make you more competitive in the industry and afford you a better professional standing. Said differently, if given the choice between two candidates with equal education and experience, a hiring manager will be more likely to hire the candidate with a certification.
- Holding a certification is a “bargaining chip” for negotiating a great salary once offered a position.
- If a candidate is new to the field or only has a few years of experience, being certified is essential. While holding a certification is not a substitute for years of clinical trial experience, it will validate your skills and knowledge to the hiring managers and give them the confidence to hire you.
- Lastly, a major benefit of taking and passing a CRA certification exam is personal satisfaction. Your skills and experience will not only be validated to the hiring managers, but to yourself. Certifications are less than $200 and many can be taken online. Why not spend a few hours and a little money to take the exam? It will do nothing but benefit you in the long run.
As a clinical research associate, positions for which you are applying may or may not require you to hold a certification. The bottom line is that while it may not be required, holding a certification will do nothing but help you in the long run. Being certified helps to reaffirm your job skills, industry and trial knowledge, and experience to hiring managers and yourself.
Written by Katie Fidler
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