Certified Research Administrator

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The Certified Research Administrator (CRA) designation is granted in the United States by the Research Administrators Certification Council to individuals who demonstrate the knowledge necessary to serve as an administrator of professional and sponsored research programs.[1] Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree, possess at least three years of related experience, and pass the Certified Research Administrator examination before being conferred the right to use the CRA designation.[2]

CRA Designation[edit]

According to the RACC, the CRA designation carries numerous benefits to those who hold it, such as recognition among professionals, a sense of personal satisfaction, indication of expertise in the administration of sponsored research endeavors, greater opportunities for employment, greater opportunities for advancement, robust credibility, and the ability to serve as a role model to research peers. The CRA designation is a registered certification mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.[2]

As of June 22, 2010, approximately 1,398 active CRAs are listed in the RACC's online database.[3]


In 1993, the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) was founded as a private non-profit organization. Active CRAs sit on the council and have the role of certifying that an individual possesses adequate knowledge for serving as a professional research administrator of sponsored programs, such as grants.[4]


Candidates must hold a Bachelor's degree and three years of substantial involvement in administrating sponsored research programs, in either a sponsoring, recipient, or self-funded organization. The Research Administrators Certification Council may waive the requirement of a bachelor's degree if an applicant petitions the council and possesses an Associate's degree and at least six years of experience or eight years of substantial experience working with sponsored research programs.[2]

Candidates must pass a written Certified Research Administrator examination designed by the RACC and administered by Professional Testing, Inc., which covers fundamental information necessary for meeting the demands and responsibilities of a career in sponsored program administration.[2]

CRA Exam Curriculum[edit]

The curriculum covered by the CRA examination is referred to by the RACC as the "Body of Knowledge," and has four broad components:

  • Project Development and Administration
  • Legal requirements and Sponsor Interface
  • Financial Management
  • General Management


Every five years, CRAs must recertify to continue using the CRA designation. Recertification applicants are expected to demonstrate continued participation or employment in the field of research administration, including requisite hours of continuing education activities and a collection of several questions for potential use on future revisions of the CRA exam.[2]


  1. ^ *Kulakowski, Elliott C.; Chronister, Lynne U. (2006). Research administration and management. Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7637-3277-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Research Administrators Certification Council". Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "List of Active CRAs". Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "Research Administrators Certification Council". Archived from the original on 29 June 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 

External links[edit]