Starting salaries for clinical research associates (CRAs) are in the region of £22,000 to £28,000. Some graduate positions may offer salaries of around £30,000. It is likely these posts will require some experience in a related area.
With experience and working as a senior CRA/CRA II you can earn a salary of £33,000 to £40,000. In some roles, salaries of up to £60,000 can be reached.
Salaries vary from company to company. Additional benefits, such as a car allowance and bonus are typically offered.
Working conditions vary between companies, although the hours are usually Monday to Friday. Extra hours are worked regularly in the evenings, although weekend or shift work is uncommon.
If you are field-based you will mainly be on the road, dealing with doctors and research nurses in trial centres, GP practices or hospitals. Some companies have in-house, office-based CRA roles with virtually no site visit responsibilities; the focus in this role is on document review and management.
Part-time work is possible as are career breaks. Short term contracts of 6 to 12 months with a company are common, meaning you may work more like a contractor than permanent employee.
Self-employment or freelance work is possible with experience (usually four years or more).
Most UK pharmaceutical companies are located in the south of England. Field-based positions are generally found in key locations throughout the UK. Some jobs, for example in a company laboratory, can be found locally while others are regionally based.
Time deadlines can make the work stressful and work may be done in teams or individually.
The job can involve a lot of travelling, especially if working in a field-based role. You may be out of the office three or four days a week, possibly including overnight stays. Some companies operate a system whereby the CRA specialises in a specific disease area and covers the whole of the UK. Others operate their CRAs on a regional basis.
Working for an international company may involve coordinating trials abroad, in which case a considerable amount of overseas travel would be necessary.
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