We asked Michelle, a CRA at Covance, to give her story and describe why she loves her job!
A day in the life of a CRA is never really consistent, which is one of the very great aspects of this job. Some days you wake up and might go straight to the airport to travel, to go to a site. Other days you might come in to the office, to have an office day or two, and then start traveling again. So if you’re gonna go to the airport and travel you would go to the site and you would monitor the study. There you would talk with various physicians and different coordinators at the site, and make sure that the study is running well. Really, every day is different. Its one of the best parts of this job. When you’re traveling, you could go to multiple sites a week, or you could go to one site a week. But a typical day is either traveling, or coming in to the office and take care of some office duties.
The best part about being a CRA
The thing I like most about being a CRA is the fact that every day is a new adventure. This job is definitely not boring. Its always something new. I have met some really interesting people on the way, who have all kinds of different backgrounds, and it is so interesting to hear their stories as I travel. the traveling part is definitely something I like much about this job. You get to see places you never thought you would go, I was just in small town outside New Jersey, and that is never a town I would pick on the map to go to, and it was very beautiful. So its things like that I like, where its never a dull moment. You’re always going to a new city, meeting somebody new with a good story. As a CRA you get to experience all that and its something very unique about this job.
The thing I like most about working for a big CRO is that my company is very nurturing, everybody seems to have each others back. If you have questions you can go to just about anybody in the company. It doesn’t matter their rank, it doesn’t matter what job they have, or even if they’re on your team. They usually point you in the right direction. Its a very welcoming environment. And its a fun environment to. Everyone works really hard, but at the samt time they are willing to get to know each other. And its a very open, helpful and welcoming environment.
About CRA training
The initial training I received as a CRA was actually a wonderful experience. I personally did not have any monitoring experience before I came into this job so I went through a 3 month process of training. This was a very guided process, I never felt I was thrown in to a situation that I didn’t feel comfortable with.
I also had a mentor that helped to guide me, and I had a manager that helped guide me, on top of other trainers and other CRAs. Everybody was helping everybody. So during that 3 month process I got to learn everything about monitoring, from actually going to the site to federal regulations. You learn the most important in a couple of months. It was a great experience, and once I was out on my own I felt very comfortable, and I also did know where to go if I had questions after leaving training. During my third year I also took a course and exam to get a CRA certificate, which I highly can recommend once you have gained some experience.
How to advance your career
I think that the career advancing opportunities at a large CRO are almost unlimited. One of the highlights of my company is that they are very willing to let you advance your career, if you put you’re time in and if you show that you’re dedicated to the company. Then they are dedicated to you. And I think that the skills that you learn as a CRA sets you up to advance in clinical research. Whether its going into regulatory area or whether its moving up to management etc. The exposure you get as a CRA is excellent. You get to see a little bit of everything, and its a great job to actually advance your career.
I can highly recommend a career in clinical research!
Is there something you would like to ask Michelle? Write your comments below and she will answer!