The role of the clinical research associate is very important in clinical trials to ensure that medical devices, new treatments and new drugs are approved for patients' use.
This field is taken as a certificate program course in many schools. You may also discover the availability of associate degree programs depending on the school. These programs can be completed in two years and can be offered through both the online and the hybrid formats. Hybrid formats combine both online and on-campus courses together.
If you opt for an online program, different platforms like emails and discussion boards are used to ensure and promote interaction between the students as well as with the lecturers. Online learning platforms are used to upload the syllabus, course materials, lectures and assignments. Some online programs include field work as part of their requirements, in order to gain first hand experience working with clinical trials and patients. Depending on the school, they may have a list of approved clinical research institutes and other facilities. Otherwise, you will have to find a facility for yourself and get the school's approval.
These certificate programs are generally designed for professionals that are already in the medical fields like medical assistants, nurses etc, and are interested in moving to the field of clinical research. They may therefore ask for a copy of your CV or resumé or they may ask for a letter from your employers to verify that you have the needed medical experience. Some programs may require just an undergraduate degree in a medical science or life science related field.
Clinical research associates are trained to assist clinical researchers and investigators in the coordination, administration and management of clinical trials. During this training, different courses will be taught revolving around subjects like safety procedures, subject recruitment, regulatory requirements, drug development, accountability, trial management, medical terminology etc.
The importance of the role of the clinical research associate means that companies that conduct clinical trials are usually very selective, the need to comply with strict regulations often inform their decision when making a choice of their clinical research associate. It is therefore very difficult to get a job as a clinical research associate without previous experience of clinical trials. Many companies require around at least two years experience in clinical monitoring as a clinical project assistant or clinical trial administrator before considering applicants for this important role.
In applying for the post of a clinical research associate, ensure that you read the job description and indicate or highlights the relevant experience on your curriculum vitae. Your cover letter should be specific to the company you're applying to. Do not use a one-for-all cover letter. Personalize your cover letter to each company and highlight the skills that fit the specific requirements of the role. Not all companies advertise their vacancies, so you can try to find out about other unadvertised vacancies, you might get more chance with that.
Good luck as you take the bold steps.