A Guide To The Work Of A Clinical Research Associate

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Being a clinical research associate isn’t a job that suits everybody. If you’re considering taking this career path it is vital to take the time to be absolutely sure that it is the job for you.

Does the clinical research process really engage you? Would playing a role in the ethical and safe running of clinical trials give you job satisfaction? Is your ideal career one that has room for growth and added responsibility? If you’ve answered yes to the above questions, you may very well be the ideal candidate for a clinical research associate post!

So what does it take to be successful in such a role? What is the job description? How about the job duties, expected salary, and potential employers? We asked ICON for their insider knowhow, so, let’s discuss the answers one at a time.

The Job Description For A Clinical Research Associate

A clinical research associate is responsible for showing the benefits, risks and effects of various medicines, both new and existing. To obtain this information, the clinical research associate will set up, monitor and complete clinical trials.

The Job Duties Of A Clinical Research Associate

  • Preparation of case records.
  • Finding suitable study locations.
  • Communication with professionals and doctors during the study period.
  • Thoroughly monitoring the clinical trial, including regular visits to the study locations.
  • Appropriate coordination with the ethic committee (this committee is responsible for protecting the rights and general well-being of the subjects involved in the trial).
  • Accounting for all supplies necessary for the trial.
  • Communicating with medical statisticians to discuss the study results.
  • Ensuring all information entered in the case forms match that found on the clinical notes of the patient.
  • Note-taking throughout the clinical study process.
  • Completing regular progress reports for each study stage.

Educational Requirements For Clinical Research Associates

Having an undergraduate degree in life sciences, medical sciences or nursing is the lowest acceptable educational requirement to apply for an entry-level post in clinical research. If you have a graduate degree you will be able to apply for positions at a senior level and may be favored over other applicants. Of course such a senior post will also mean a higher pay grade.

There are occasions where a person already in an administrative post may be able to progress to the post of clinical research associate without the above-mentioned educational requirements. However it should be noted that the amount of administrative experience would be substantial and may be coupled with additional qualifications.


Necessary Skills For Clinical Research Associates

A specific set of skills are vital to be becoming a clinical research associate. Becoming highly efficient in these skills will open doors to higher-paying positions with increased responsibility.

The skill set needed for clinical research associates is as follows:

  • Knowledge in the areas of; the health care system, legislation related to health care, current practice for regulating health care product development.
  • Ability to analyse journal articles and give an accurate evidence level.
  • Ability to create a clinical development plan.
  • Ability to ensure accurate and legitimate data is used for clinical trials, including protecting the rights, confidentiality and integrity of each subject.
  • A thorough understanding of both the responsibilities and the existing liabilities when clinical trials involve human subjects.
  • An accurate understanding of both the implementation and the maintenance of databases, including the difficulties and limitations which exist.

Expected Salary For A Clinical Research Associate

Several factors play a role in the salary of a clinical research associate. These include the educational level of the applicant, their experience to date, their current work location, whether they are certified and the project funding.

For clinical research associates in the US and Canada, there is no exact information on salary. However, examining the salary of professions which are similar to that of a clinical research associate, for example Laboratory Managers and Clinical Laboratory Technologists, can give a fairly trustworthy idea.