Clinical Research Associate

Make sure clinical research studies obey all safety regulations.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$89,000 – $155,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Clinical Research Associates do?

Baseball games have Umpires; clinical trials have Clinical Research Associates. Newly developed medications and other forms of treatment need test subjects to monitor for negative side effects. Acting as a Messenger between the sponsor and the researchers running the trial, a Clinical Research Associate ensures that all tests follow strict safety guidelines. They verify all data collected from the study and check that studies comply with Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards.

Clinical testing is a tricky maze to navigate. As a Clinical Research Associate, you see to it that the well-being of the participants is not violated and that the staff properly reports any negative reactions or experiences. Without safe, accurate trials, no new medications could reach the market.

Often, you work as a freelance Consultant, going between the sponsor of the trial and those running the trial itself. You visit different research sites to check on safety guideline compliance and verify the data collected. It involves a lot of paperwork that you must double-check and file, such as Case Report Forms. At the end of the trial, these forms help researchers write up a report of their findings.

You’re present in each step of the clinical trial, from its conception and planning to follow-ups with patients to see that they still feel fine months afterward. Ensuring accurate, reliable test results makes all the difference between a life-saving medication and one that makes patients violently ill.

Should I be a Clinical Research Associate?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: CRA

    How to Become a
    Clinical Research Associate

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