Why are CROs reluctant to hire hospital CRAs ?

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Hello and welcome to our first podcast.

This podcast is for the warned CRAs that is to say: the CRAs who are informed and therefore have an edge over others. This is a Questions-Answers podcast. I will answer the different questions you raised following the article on mentoring with Jonathan. I would like, at first, thank everyone who took the time to ask questions. It will serve you, but it will also serve those who have not yet asked any questions.

This podcast is for the warned CRAs that is to say: the CRAs who are informed and therefore have an edge over others. This is a Questions-Answers podcast. I will answer the different questions you raised following the article on mentoring with Jonathan. I would like, at first, thank everyone who took the time to ask questions. It will serve you, but it will also serve those who have not yet asked any questions.
It is really the concept of this blog: SHARING.

“Why are CROs reluctant to work with hospital CRAs? How to convince a CRO to trust us when we began at the hospital? “

There are prejudices that are present in the CROs and laboratories toward CSCs. This is related to the fact that the CRA and CSC profession are different. These professions have the same initial training but do not comply.

The CRA does quality control. He goes in the centers, writes reports, and proposes corrective and preventive actions to ensure that Good Clinical Practices are followed at the center. However, the CSC in turn, will instead coordinate research within the hospital or service of the investigator.

These are professions that are different and therefore, a CSC will not do certain things that the CRA does. He will not do accounting at the pharmacy or draft report. He may suggest corrective and preventive actions but this is rather the role of the CRA. This one will also take care of all that is regulatory, that is to say he has documents to prepare for all the regulatory part of the center. These are tasks that the TEC does not do in practice.

So, finally, there are a lot of little things that the CSC is not required to do. This is also the case of some hospital CRAs. When I say hospital CRAs, I mean CRAs working in the public environment and who are for example at Public Hospitals of Paris. There are tasks that are common to these hospital CRAs. For example: report writing, corrective and preventive actions but the regulatory part is not exactly the same in relation to CRAs working for international promoters on studies submitted in the United States.

Other prejudices that can be found are at the average working hours in the public. For example, a CRA arrives at the airport at around 6am and returned home around 22h is classic enough for a CRA. However, for a CSC who works at the hospital, schedules are more conventional although some CSCs may have to do a lot of hours. It may also be the question of language: English. When one is CRA, he has to make conference calls with project managers who are in other countries. He also has to understand different accents: of English, American, Czech, all these people who speak English in the team. Because of the lack of oral practice of English, some CSCs who used rather to work in a purely French environment may have difficulty if they would have to follow conferences. In this case, the situation is complicated because it is necessary to both understand a person who has a different English accent and speak also English and be understood. A sufficient level of English is required.
Last thing, an important point: one must be an expert on pathology. To enter the CRO, it is necessary to have a recognized expertise of 2 or 3 years. The acquired experience can be on therapeutic areas in vogue such as oncology and hematology.

To answer your question “How do you convince a CRO to trust us when we began at the hospital?” I would say you will have to prove that you can adapt yourself to all these difficulties that could meet a CSC. Be aware that a recruiter, looking for a new employee, is rather interested on an experienced candidate as this will enable him to minimize the formation to perform. Note also that some sponsors may refuse, for some diseases, that a beginner works on their project. That is why being a pathology expert can really be a plus compared to others.

First, you must look at your different strengths and work on all the things that might fail you compared to other profiles to find yourself in the best frame. Then, at your CV, you must value yourself and put forward all these things that are important to a CRO. Think also as a CSC, you have knowledge of the medical record that a beginner will not have. This is very useful when you want to do a quality check. This is something that you should not forget to highlight during your interviews. You must make sure that you have good knowledge of all the regulatory part. You should know the use of some documents that CRAs update, write or prepare; such documents as FDA1572, the “Financial disclosure” or confidentiality agreements. You have to know how to complete them because some CSCs do not know it or do not really know about these documents. You should also have some knowledge and also to put them ahead. In short, you need a good CV, a good cover letter to make the recruiter want you and after, you must succeed to value yourself during the interview. It is your personality that will play, each person is different.

“As a regional scientific manager, is there any trip to perform? How to reach this position (training and employment)? How is a day of scientific manager organized? With what contact the regional scientific manager could he deal? Is it a stressful job? “

Farida, from my side, I’m not MSL. I’m not a regional scientific manager. I have met them in my career but I think we need that you have to ask MSLs for more information. I will just tell you what I know ☺

For the first question: are there trips? Yes, there are trips. I know that these are regional trips. So if you are in Isle of France then you will move around in Isle de France. Moreover, it seems to me that laboratories make available to regional scientific managers a company car.

How to reach this position?

In general, these are people who have a high scientific level. Either Masters 2 or the Doctor’s degrees in biology because this profession is equivalent to the Regional Medical profession that has been increasingly open to scientists. You can also perform a Master 2 in Pharmaceutical Marketing. I knew a MSL who made this training there and I think it can help.

How is a day of scientific manager organized?

I do not know because I’m not MSL ☺ but it is better that you find a MSL to ask him.

With what contact the Regional scientific manager could he deal?

In general, he deals with KOL (Key Opinion Leader). These are actually Doctors, often department heads or professors who are in hospitals that make clinical research and with whom they try to keep in contact and good communication on the development of molecules. The MSLs make presentations at conferences on the molecule which they are responsible.

Is it a very stressful profession?

I do not know but I think yes. I think it is as stressful as the CRA profession but I’m not sure ☺

“We have already had an email exchange last year in an article on the salary of CRA in CRO. I want to know if, with your experience, you had built a general idea about the salary range of CRA according to the junior grade etc.?
Thank you for the podcast. This must surely change articles written. “

Hacène, yes, I have in mind the salary range of the CRA but what I recommend you to do is download the EBook that is on our blog. You will find a part that talk about salaries of junior CRAs. We also have links to studies that have been done on the wages of CRAs. You can see all the salaries of CRAs or Project Manager. This will give you an idea, so do not hesitate to go there!

“I would like to enter the world of work as CRA, how? “

Rose, to enter the world of work as a CRA, you must already ask yourself if you have the qualities required for this profession. I recommend at first to download our EBook precisely because it speaks of different qualities for this profession. Then, once you are sure this is really the profession that suits you, you just have to do some training. There are private programs that are fine for this, including Sup Health training which I myself followed ten years ago. It is a training that is deemed enough so you can do it. You will make training of approximately 3 months that, then, will bring you to an internship where you can practice the profession in the hospital, in CRO, laboratory or in cooperative groups or association of physicians who are clinical trial promoters. You can do your internship in these various entities.

However, it is necessary that you have a scientific background (your experience and your qualifications); you have to make sure that you have at least a Bachelor Degree in Biology. Often, to do this job, they hire more people with Master 1 or Master 2 in Biology, Chemistry and also nurse or doctor profiles, profiles of foreign doctors. There are also pharmacists who do this job. So you must also have the right qualifications for this profession.

“Hi Vanessa! My question concerns the Project Manager profession. I worked 6 years in the pharmaceutical industry and have performed CRA training but due to health problems, I was discouraged from doing this profession. Instead, I was advised to opt for the Project Manager profession. But it takes experience to reach this position. 
Meanwhile I took evening courses to validate a biological engineering degree to access the desired position and, the icing on the cake, is an MBA in Management and Biology. With this course, do you think that there are opportunities to access the Project Manager position with the degrees that I prepare and the experience I have gained in the pharmaceutical industry? “

Laetitia, I think with the degrees you prepare, you can try to work in a biotechnology laboratory or in a company that manufactures medical devices. You have a Biological Engineering degree and I think it might interest them as well as the MBA. So it would be rather to do product development in this type of structure. So try to find out about that!

However, for the project manager profession, if six years in the pharmaceutical industry were not years as CRA, it seems a little difficult to become project manager despite the degrees you have obtained. In general, it is better to work as a project manager with experience as CRA. This profession requires knowledge in terms of Management. It also requires knowledge of the profession in order to make the right decisions on the evolution of the project. If you have not been CRA and that you have no knowledge of Good Clinical Practices, it may be complicated to be reliable toward your team and other people working with you. So I think you should redirect yourself to another type of position that is more in product development in biotechnology laboratories or medical device company.

” Hello! I have a Biotechnology-health Research Master but I am having trouble to find a job. I begin to be interested in CRA profession but I have a doubt about two things: should I undertake private training or do I undertake the training at the university as part of an Inter-university diploma of CRA-CSC profession and also on the CRA Labor market in Lyon. Will I have opportunities to find a job as a beginner? I thank you in advance.”

Hadia, I will start with the question on the market in Lyon. In Lyon, there are companies that make clinical research, medical device companies, and biotech labs and there are also some CROs. So you can have your chances in Lyon. Regarding training, you should know that the inter-university diploma of CRA profession is an IUD that is rather recognized in the hospital field. Private courses are recognized both in the hospital but also in CROs and pharmaceutical companies. I recommend a private training type Sup Health where you will have three months of training and six months of internship. I think with your Biotechnology Research Master, you could then redirect yourself to biotechnology laboratories to assist in the development of new molecules for these laboratories.

“After two years of reflection, I finally decided to settle as CRA freelance, entrepreneur status. The blog article helped me a lot. I participated in the entrepreneurship workshops. I have an appointment with a provider who will accompany me in this project close to my heart. My wish is to share with colleagues who have passed the step. My question is: would it be possible to you, Vanessa, to give me some of your precious time an interview or by telephone to enlighten me with your rich experience of the part contract and negotiation? Thanks in advance.”

Safia, I would have granted you this time with pleasure but unfortunately, I cannot because I have to prioritize my work to the detriment of these exchanges. From my side also, I have to work. In fact, if I give time to each person or phone interview, I will not have time for my personal activity. Unfortunately, I’m not going to help you anymore except through articles and podcasts. For all that is contract and negotiation, I recommend you to do training with Chambers of commerce on these topics. Then you can find contract models online or get help from a lawyer.

“I would like to know how to get a CRA position having an experience of 4 months or at least a 6-month internship in a CRO? Thanks Vanessa. “

Assia, you must know that this is not necessarily that you have four months experience as an intern that you are disadvantaged compared to others. At least you have an experience! ☺

As short as it is, you have one in clinical research and that as CRA. What you should do is to look at what your strengths are. I think I have talked a bit about it in one of the questions asked to me earlier. I can also recommend you to take the time to download our EBook because, in it, we explain how to find a job. You must look at your strengths, English, and expertise you have gained. You must also present your CV well and put yourself enough ahead to find more easily and get a CRA position.


“Hi Vanessa, I have a PhD in Neuroscience. After, I pursued a Master in Management because my goal was to become rather a clinical Manager. Today, I am logistic project manager of a clinical trial. It is a service company in the pharmaceutical. Please, give me a tip to advance my career.”

Lisa, I do not know after how long you arrived at this position of logistic project manager but I think it is a good evolution. After, Clinical Manager, if you speak about profession of clinical trial manager, it is rather a CRA evolution. In fact, the direction you took is a little different. So, if you would like to become a manager of clinical trials, I think you should restart on CRA training. There, you start in the logistic and it is still a little bit different. You can also become Manager in everything that is logistic. There are logistic Masters that exist. You have to clarify the reason why you want to become Clinical Manager. It would really allow me to understand why you want to have this type of position, knowing that, currently, you got engaged in logistics.

Thank you all to have listened to me and I thank again those who ask me questions. Thanks Faridah, Melissa, Hacène, Rose, Laetitia, Hadia, Safia, Assia and Lisa for their questions. I hope this has helped you and you will be better able to engage in the CRA profession. What I recommend to you all is to download our EBook on how to become CRA where you will find lots of advice. This is a summary of several articles that have been made on the blog. This EBook allows you to centralize all the information in one book. It is much easier to find the answers to all the questions you ask about this profession.
We hope to do about 2 podcasts per month. Anyway, if we do not do two, we will at least do 1. The podcasts will be question and answer or other topics we will discuss with you.

That is it, thank you all to have listened to me and I wish you all a good day.



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5 années il y a

Bonjour Vanessa, avant tout je voulais te remercier et remercier ton équipe pour votre travail et les conseils que vous nous donnez. Cela nous aide beaucoup Bravo….;;; Cette idée de PodCast est vraiment génial,,, Actuellement, je recherche un poste de chef de projet en recherche clinique, j’ai été approché par des boites de recrutement basé à Londres pour des poste en cdp homebased. Que pensez vous de ces sociétés, sont elles fiables? Aussi n’ayant jamais été en homebased, quel conseil me donneriez vous? et que peut on prétendre en termes de salaire en ayant eu 1.6 mois d’expériences en tant… Lire la suite »

5 années il y a

Bonjour Vanessa,

Je vous remercie grandement pour cette réponse très complète ! Je pars deux semaines en Écosse en Juin et je postulerai à mon retour. Je vais davantage travailler mes points faibles mais je reste confiante car je suis très motivée ! Merci à vous,