Clinical Research Associate (CRA) Training and Degree Programs
Clinical research associates (CRAs) assist in performing controlled trials on drugs. Find out about the training and degrees programs you'll need to enter this field, see what courses are required and learn about online study options.
What Degree Programs and Training are Available?
Clinical research degrees are available at different degree levels, for example, the Associate of Applied Science in Clinical Research Coordination, Bachelor of Science in Clinical Research and Master of Science in Clinical Research. You can find training through courses that place an emphasis on mathematics, reading comprehension, biology and research.
You may consider a certificate program in clinical research to supplement your degree from another academic field. Clinical trial management courses are also available and offer additional training for current CRAs.
|Program Level||Certificate, associate, bachelor's and master's degrees|
|Course Topics||Data analysis, protocol development, advanced writing, biostatistics|
|Program Format||On campus or online|
|Job Duties||Controlled trials, protocol development, environment maintenance|
|Median Salary (2019)||$63,337 (for all clinical research associates)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||13% growth (for all medical scientists)**|
Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Courses Will I Take?
The length and requirements of your program will depend on the degree type. For example, associate and bachelor's degree programs generally require general education and elective courses in addition to your major courses. Master's degree and certificate programs generally require core courses. Some common topics you may find at all degree levels include:
- Research methods and design
- Protocol development
- Data analysis
- Clinical research
- Advanced writing
Can I Study Online?
You can find certificate and degree programs in clinical research online. These programs may be beneficial if you are pursuing advanced study as a CRA or preparing to enter the field while continuing to work. The online coursework is similar to on-campus programs and depending on the program, you can complete any fieldwork or internship requirements at a location near you.
What Is a Clinical Research Associate?
As a clinical research associates (CRAs), you work with research teams and test subjects to perform controlled trials on pharmaceutical drugs. Your work also includes developing protocols, maintaining controlled environments or analyzing data, to prepare drugs for regulatory approval and widespread use.
According to O*Net OnLine, many clinical research coordinators, including CRAs, had a bachelor's degree. O*Net notes that your preparation for this career can also come from vocational studies, related experience or on-the-job training.