What does a Clinical Research Assistant do?

Learn all about Clinical Research Assistant duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Clinical Research Assistant.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

A clinical research assistant (CRA) is a professional who performs various research-related tasks to support the work of clinical researchers. CRAs typically work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. They may also work in pharmaceutical companies, contract research organizations, and academic research institutions.

The specific duties of a CRA vary depending on the employer and the type of research being conducted. However, CRAs typically have responsibility for some or all of the following tasks:

  • Identifying and recruiting patients or participants for clinical trials
  • Conducting interviews with patients or participants to collect data
  • Managing patient records and databases
  • Monitoring patients or participants during clinical trials
  • Collecting and analyzing data from clinical trials
  • Preparing reports on trial results

CRAs must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a scientific discipline such as biology, chemistry, or nursing. Some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree or higher. In addition, CRAs must have excellent communication and organizational skills.

Clinical Research Assistant job duties include:

  • Assist in the development of clinical research protocols.
  • Obtain informed consent from research participants.
  • Schedule and confirm appointments for research procedures.
  • Perform data collection and entry according to protocol.
  • Monitor research participants for adverse reactions.
  • Maintain accurate and complete research records.
  • Assist with the preparation of presentations and reports.
  • Participate in site visits from sponsors and auditors.
  • Recruit research participants as needed.

Clinical Research Assistant Job Requirements

A clinical research assistant (CRA) is a professional who assists with the conduct of clinical trials. CRAs are typically employed by pharmaceutical companies, contract research organizations (CROs), or academic medical centers. They may also be self-employed. The job requirements for a CRA include a bachelor’s degree in a scientific discipline, certification by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), and experience working in a clinical research setting.

Clinical Research Assistant Skills

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Time management skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to work in a team environment
  • Strong computer skills
  • Medical knowledge
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem solving skills

Related: Top Clinical Research Assistant Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Clinical Research Assistant

A Clinical Research Assistant (CRA) is a professional who assists in the conduct of clinical trials. The CRA’s role is to ensure that the trial is conducted according to the protocol and that all data is collected and recorded accurately.

To become a CRA, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in a scientific discipline such as biology, nursing, or pharmacology. You will also need to have excellent communication and organizational skills. Experience working in a research setting will be helpful but is not required.

Once you have the necessary qualifications, you can begin searching for CRA positions at clinical research organizations or pharmaceutical companies. Many CRAs start their careers as research coordinators or project managers and then transition into CRA roles.

If you are interested in becoming a CRA, you should be prepared to work long hours and travel frequently. The job can be demanding but it is also very rewarding. You will have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge medical research and make a difference in the lives of patients.

Related: Clinical Research Assistant Resume Example

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