Range of typical starting salaries: £18,000-£22,000.
Salaries with five years' or more experience: £25,000-£40,000.
Salaries vary from company to company. Those working freelance could earn up to £50,000. Benefits, which may include a car, are generally provided and bonuses may be paid.
Working conditions vary between companies, although the hours worked are usually Monday to Friday. Extra hours are worked regularly in the evenings, although weekend or shift work is uncommon.
Field-based clinical research associates (CRAs) are mainly 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; these CRAs focus on document review and management.
CRAs may work in teams or individually.
Part-time work is possible as are career breaks. Short term contracts of 6-12 months with a company are common, meaning CRAs may be more like contractors than permanent employers.
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.
Work requires a smart dress code.
Time deadlines can make the work stressful.
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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