Next stop: Clinical Research Associate (CRA)
Becoming a clinical research associate is not a walk in the park. Co-ordinating and managing clinical trials is a prestigious job, therefore very popular!!!
If you have already searched for available CRA jobs, you definitely noticed that almost all of them require previous experience. You then get trapped in the same old argument ‘how to get experience if nobody hires me’.
As many other professions, CRA has its own Trojan horse. This is clinical research technician/ assistant/ data manager. If you see any of these jobs being advertised and you are interested in a clinical trial career then do not hesitate to apply. This would be your opportunity to enter the world of clinical trials, familiarize yourself with the terminology and most importantly get the experience that everybody craves for!!!
The down side of clinical research technician is that you will have to do tasks that some might call boring and not really challenging, but it is worth the effort. After completing at least one year on this post you can start applying for CRA positions. Clinical research organizations (CROs) might prove more beneficial for your early career steps than international pharmaceutical companies. The reason is that you can easily get involved in many different aspects of a clinical trial as wells as co-ordinate more than one trials.
Interestingly, PhD graduates are preferred for CRA jobs and they tend to climb up the career ladder reasonably fast. For example, once you start a CRA position it is possible to become senior CRA in a couple of years. Not bad at all!
The everyday life of a CRA would involve liaising with medics and hospital staff, prepare data-collection reports, co-ordinate the correct completion of trial questionnaires, visit hospital sites to obtain feedback and make sure that the clinical data collection runs smoothly. You will also be responsible to establish collaborations with new hospital sites and train the stuff according to the standards and regulations of the trial!
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