CRA – Certified Research Administrator


CRA Exam: To find out when the next CRA Exam will be administered, please access the link to the CRA Exam Information at RACC. There you will see the application deadlines and also the two-week time frame for taking the exam. If you are interested in taking the exam please submit your application to Debbie Shoe three weeks prior to the application deadline. She will coordinate the submission of all applications and payment to the Professional Testing Corporation.

CRA Credits: Traditionally, the standard CEU formula is 1 CEU = 10 contact hours.This is used as the standard by NCURA and other Research Administration professional organizations. Further info from RACC about Education Credits – Educational activities may include teaching, serving on professional journal or newsletter review boards, writing articles, serving on boards of relevant national associations, participating in workshops and seminars, as well as academic courses at an undergraduate or graduate level. Academic credits will be considered as contact hours. These should include forty (40) hours of continuing education OR activities without CEU’s which are equivalent.

What are the benefits of the CRA?

  • On-going professional development
  • Professional recognition
  • Marketability‐ advancement opportunities
  • Respect from clientele
  • Serve as a leader in the profession

Who is eligible to sit for the CRA exam?

In order to qualify to sit for the CRA exam you must meet one of the below requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree and 3 years of professional experience in research or sponsored programs administration either in a sponsoring or recipient organization or the equivalent in a self-fund organization; or
  • Associate’s degree and 5 years of professional experience in research or sponsored programs administration either in a sponsoring or recipient organization or the equivalent in a self-fund organization; or
  • No degree – 6 years of substantial research administration experience.

What is the exam like?

There are two testing periods, one in May and another in November of every year.  In order to take the exam you must submit an application at the CRA website at See NC State University’s specific instructions above in the CRA Exam section.

Exam fee is $350 (NCSU will pay for the first exam. Should future exams be necessary the fee will be the responsibility of the applicant)

You will be required to take the exam through the Professional Testing Corporation at an approved exam site.  The exam consists of 250 computerized multiple choice questions with the below categories and allocations:

  • Project Development and Administration 30%
  • Legal Requirements and Sponsor Interface 30%
  • Financial Management 25%
  • General Management 15%

What are the re-certification requirements?

To maintain your CRA designation you will be required to re-certify every 5 years. You will need to complete a re-certification application which describes your activities over the last 5 years in research administration.  You will be responsible for tracking your contact hours which can include participation in workshops/conferences, presentation given, writing articles, etc.  The number of contact hours of education needed for re-certification is 80.  You will also be required to submit 3 exam questions for possible use in future exams.

What resources are available?