Certified Research Administrator (CRA) - is the certification worth it?
March 3, 2017 1:24 PM   Subscribe

I work in research administration and I'm interested in getting my CRA. But, I don't have a good sense of how much value this certification adds in terms hireability, pay, and (ugh) prestige. If you're a CRA, was it worthwhile? If you decided not to pursue it, why not? If you're a hiring manager, does this certification ever affect your hiring decisions? (I don't plan to leave my current employer anytime soon, so assume I won't be job searching for at least 5 years.)
posted by schroedingersgirl to Work & Money (2 answers total)
I'm not a CRA, but a CPRA. I got the certification because my employer at the time offered to pay for the test and I like taking tests. Going for the CRA would've probably been preferable, since it is applicable to a broader range of jobs, but I was strictly a pre-award person at the time and I honestly didn't want to have to study too hard for the thing. I did study a bit and talked to others who took the test previously so I would know what to expect, but ultimately I relied mostly on my prior job knowledge, and I barely passed. I think it helped me some, but honestly, what helped me more was having a PhD. I have advanced to a directer-level position in about 5 years, and I have seen colleagues who are at least as capable as me (who have a CRA but not a PhD) stuck in lower level RA positions during that same time period.

If you were planning to actively job search soon, I'd say it's worthwhile to get it. I see more and more Research Administration job announcements include a preference for the CRA. So you should probably get it at least before you plan to enter the job market again. Whether or not you should get it now depends more on your employer. My institution payed for the test, but did not offer any additional incentives. I have heard of institutions that offered their RAs a raise for getting the CRA. And if you want to advance within your own institution, you should find out if your higher-ups factor it into their decision making for promotions.
posted by maddieD at 2:54 PM on March 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Go look at some job listings for that type of job and see if they list this certification in the ads. If they do are they listing it as required or preferred?

This is what finally triggered me to do a certification. Even just five years ago barely any ads had my certification listed, now almost all request it.
posted by magnetsphere at 3:40 PM on March 3, 2017

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