The Association of Clinical Research Professionals

Clinical Research Workforce Preparedness Evaluation of Graduates of Academic and Commercial Clinical Research Programs – Pilot Project

We’re offering a unique opportunity for recent graduates like you to stand out from the crowd by proving you have the competency required to thrive in clinical research.

Getting that first “real job” after graduation can be a daunting task—especially with so many employers looking for professionals with experience. But ACRP is here to help!

If you’re interested in improving your employment prospects, please submit the form below and we will contact you to share more information.

Program Background

Despite a growing number of academic programs in clinical research, the industry at large, doesn’t recognize the credentials of the graduates as beings sufficient for entry level roles because the graduates do not have two years of “formal” work experience.  Current certifications in clinical research require a minimum of 2 year’s experience to sit for a certification exam. Institutions are partnering with the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) to evaluate the baseline competencies for graduates from our clinical research programs. Our hypothesis is that new graduates will pass ACRP exams at equal or higher rates than individuals with a minimum of 2 years’ experience in clinical research. If proven true, then providing graduating students access to an ACRP certification exam will enable the further demonstration of their knowledge and competency thereby enhancing a hiring organization’s confidence in recruiting, training, and retaining these new graduates as valuable members of their research teams.

We are inviting you to participate in this pilot project.  Graduates from our clinical research programs will be offered the opportunity to sit for either ACRP’s Entry Level Knowledge Assessment [ELKA] or ACRP-Certified Professional  Certification Exam [ACRP-CP] exam.  You will be eligible to participate if you have completed your formal academic training within the past 6 months.   If you agree to participate, you will be randomly assigned to take either ACRP’s ELKA or ACRP-CP exam.  A description of each exam is provided below.  Regardless of the cohort to which you are randomized, application and exam fees will be waived.  You will not receive any compensation to participate but, should you pass the exam, you will receive the acknowledgements as noted below.

The pass-fail rates of the new graduates will be compared to the historical benchmark results and if the results are positive this will inform future decisions for including one or both ACRP exams as part of our formal academic curricula.

ELKA Exam and Logistics

The ELKA is a 50-question exam built to test the foundational knowledge competencies for clinical research professionals.  It is based on the Joint Task Force Competency Domains and is offered as an on-line exam.  Participants to this cohort will have a 2-week window from the invitation to complete the exam.  Participants will work through each question in sequence until they get the correct answer.  ACRP staff will be notified once the exam is complete and they will evaluate the number of attempts required to pass each question.  If the participant receives 80% or greater pass rate over two attempts for each question, they will receive a certificate acknowledging that they have passed the exam and will be able to share this certificate with prospective employers.  In the event the student does not receive a passing grade, they will be notified however no certificate will be provided.

ACRP-CP Exam and Logistics

The ACRP-CP exam is a 125-question test that incorporates knowledge and application questions.  This is also based on the competency domains.  Candidates will then have a specified window in which they can take the exam.  The exam windows for the Spring exam cycle are typically end of February to mid-March and for the Fall exam cycle, mid-October to mid-November.  Participants will complete an application form and upon receipt, they will be provided information as to how to schedule the test which is proctored by Prometric at one of their testing schedules.  Participants will schedule the date and location of the testing center at their convenience but it must take place within the exam cycle testing window.  The candidates are allowed ~ 3 hours to complete the 125-question test and will have only one opportunity to take the exam.  Upon completion of the exam, the candidates will receive their exam scores on-site.  Upon successful passing of the exam, the candidates will receive a certificate acknowledging their certification status and will be able to use the ACRP-CP designation.  It will take several weeks for ACRP to receive the information from Prometric and for participants who pass the ACRP-CP exam, ACRP will provide them with a certificate acknowledging their certification status which they can provide to prospective employers.  The status will be maintained for 2 years and the participants will be eligible to maintain their certification following standard procedures as outlined on ACRP’s website (ie, obtain continuing education credits),  Candidates who fail the test will not receive the certificate and will not be allowed to use the ACRP-CP designation.  Should a candidate not pass the first exam, the candidate could pursue additional testing independently and at their own cost.

We encourage you to consider participating in this important pilot project.  Should you pass one of these exams, this additional credential, on top of your academic degree/certificate may enable you to obtain a job in the clinical research field more quickly than other graduates not participating in the study.  No reports or publications will identify individual participants either back to their academic programs or to the public.

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