In a world where knowledge is a major player in daily life, being a clinical research associate or CRA can be advantageous. Not only is this profession competitive in terms of salary, but it also provides a good chance for travel and working alongside other professionals. The opportunity for growth is big, and it is generally a favored profession. How exactly does one become a CRA?
Building the right foundation
One of the most basic steps to becoming a clinical research associate involves laying out the proper foundation for the future job. In this type of field those who hold degrees that are associated with the nature of work are at an advantage. For those still in school, obtaining a degree in the area of science and behavioral science will help a lot. Those with degrees unrelated to these may choose to take a few subjects that will help gain more knowledge in these areas.
Some relevant degree subject areas within medical science that may increase your chances:
- Cell biology
Since the profession entails facilitating research procedures, it will not hurt to do some research of your own. Learn as much as you can about the industry so that you do not start off in the dark. Whether it is learning the lingo, finding the right connections or even finding out where to get jobs, having such information on hand will be beneficial in the long run. This is one industry and profession where it will pay to know the right people.
If you don’t have a profile at LinkedIn yet, it’s about time to get one. It’s completely free of charge and will greatly increase your chances to find a job. It may take some time to get the right connections and find the best recruiters, so start today.
Brush Up on Skills
More than just monitoring the research process, collecting and recording data CRA’s must be able to communicate with others very well. Both oral and written communication are key aspects in research work. If these are not among your strong points, then it will be good to start practicing in these areas. Additionally, other skills such as computer literacy and being able to work with various software programs is important as well since these are often involved in the job.
Although this is not a necessary step, it may prove to be advantageous. Not all companies require this, but it may help a whole lot to become a certified CRA. Check with the local research council on how you can get a certificate. More often than not an exam is taken after meeting the requirements. There are many resources online and offline that can be used to prepare for this.
In this type of industry experience will definitely be a strong point. Those who have familiarity are more likely to be hired than inexperienced CRA’s. Gaining experience can be done by becoming a volunteer for researches. Although you may not be monitoring and will be participating as a subject, it will still give you hands on experience. Research institutes and schools are two good places to get this kind of experience. Another good opportunity to gain know-how in clinical research is by becoming a research intern. Although this position is often unpaid it will give you some background and experience for your resume.
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