Without Clinical Research we would live in a completely different world.  The study and approval of life-changing drugs and devices have impacted the life expectancy and the quality of life for everyone.  Many want to be a part of that impact by becoming a Clinical Research Associate or Monitor.  If you are looking for a job as a Clinical Research Associate or Monitor this article is for you.

Start with a strong educational foundation

Simple and straight forward, if moving into a CRA Role is your goal, I highly recommend you start with a strong educational foundation.  Most of the Sponsors and CROs we work with require their CRA applicants have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a Life Science or Health related field.  While ‘equivalent experience’ is considered with some of our clients, you are going to be much more competitive and have many more options with a relevant degree.

Additionally, those candidates with previous experience in the medical industry are particularly well-suited for the CRA role.  We see a lot of candidates with a medical background enjoy working as CRAs because it gives them the opportunity to still have an exceptionally positive impact to patients without being ‘bedside’.

Build Job-related Skills & Attributes

The role of a CRA is a very independent one.  There are many ‘fast-track’ courses in existence with the single goal to teach individuals how to monitor.  Gaining regulatory knowledge and understanding how to perform Source Data Verification (along with other monitoring tasks) is critical; however, many individuals under value how important it is to develop the soft skills required to be an effective CRA.

The importance of critical thinking: the decisions a CRA makes when monitoring a site will affect the quality of research performed at that site.  Monitoring has to be ‘interactional’ and thoughtful…not administrative and transactional.  Too often we see CRAs ‘check boxes’ without digging into trends and root causes.  A great CRA is a terrific critical thinker and problem solver…not just a ‘box checker.’

Ability to relate and adapt to all personality types: navigating the dynamics of site staff, dancing around aggressive and forever shifting deadlines, and continually correcting seasoned professionals can all be challenging.  Having the type of personality that can connect to team members at all different levels within the organization is exceptionally important.

Be a self-motivator:  be one of those CRAs who doesn’t have to be managed.  Do what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it.  Raise your hand when you have a problem, question or need help.  And proactively work towards resolutions without being prompted to do so.

Just be honest:  In a field where transparency and ethics are paramount, a CRA needs to not only be self-motivated, educated, and experienced.  The CRA needs to have strong core values in order to deal with the daily tasks and challenges of the position.

People who do a great job are in this industry because they want to be. A great CRA wants to make a difference, help solve problems, be a part of curing illnesses and improving the vitality of lives.

Reference Xtalks Interview with Angela Roberts: How to Land a Job as a Clinical Research Associate