How to Advance Your Career Through Clinical Research Certification

Marie Cuccia
June 20th, 2019

What is Clinical Research Certification?

Clinical Research Professionals (CRPs) come from many backgrounds, ranging from nursing and pharmacy to business administration/statistics and many more. Clinical Research Professionals work in a wide range of settings as well, including cancer centers, academic and private institutions and various organizations. These varying experiences contribute to CRPs unique knowledge and expertise in the research industry.

These Clinical Research Professionals may become certified in their roles through various examinations provided by organizations such as The Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) or The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA). Certification establishes a standard of knowledge, education and experience is recognized by the clinical research community. The standards in place are set to promote recognition and continuing excellence in the ethical conduct of clinical trials.

The principles on which the evaluations are conducted were created in accordance with previously established standards and definitions of Good Clinical Practice (GCP). The Clinical Research Professional certification process reflects a common strong foundation of knowledge and practice in research regulations and GCP.

What are the advantages of certification?

Professional Advancement

  • Certified CRPs can take their profession to another level by becoming well-versed in the core body of knowledge defined by the certifying body.
  • Commitment to ongoing professional development and expanding their knowledge and area of expertise.
  • Gaining skills through rigorous certification and assessment necessary to lead in their field.
  • Demonstrating their competence as a qualified, ethical clinical research professional as validated by a third party; also verifying their ability to apply standards to their profession.

Commitment to Quality Standards

  • Commitment to following a code of ethics defined by the certifying body.
  • Commitment to protection of human subjects.
  • Compliance with regulations and quality of the data collected.

Sets CRP Apart from the Crowd

  • CRPs who gain certification show their commitment to the internationally-recognized standards set themselves apart from those who do not have certification.
  • Individuals who are certified may use certified clinical research professional (CCRP) designation to help facilitate career advancement including greater responsibilities, leadership opportunities and recognition.

How to get Certified

Certifications vary depending on the organization providing the assessment. SOCRA provides one general certification for Clinical Research Rrofessionals: the CCRP program. This certification is offered to all persons working in clinical research regardless of whether they are independent or affiliated with a research institution/CRO/SMO/sponsor or government provided the applicant meets the eligibility requirements.

ACRP, on the other hand, provides specialized certification programs for different clinical research roles that all have different requirements for application. They provide six separate certification programs depending on your role in the clinical research industry, each with separate examinations and designations.

ACRP offers specific examinations and certifications for different research professionals including Certified Clinical Research Associate (CCRA), Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC), Certified Principal Investigator (CPI), ACRP Certified Professional (ACRP-CP), ACRP Medical Device Professional Subspecialty (ACRP-MDP), and ACRP Project Manager Subspecialty (ACRP-PM) programs.

Although there are many clinical research certification programs online, always be sure to confirm that the program is reputable and widely accepted within your field before continuing.

Gaining clinical research certification can offer many benefits in the field – rigorous application review and examination demonstrates to potential employers your specific skillset and experience necessary to succeed in a given role.

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