Certified Research Administrator

The CRA: What is It and Why Should I Care?

The CRA, or Certified Research Administrator, designation is a fairly recent addition to the professionalization of research administration. It is a nationally recognized credential, although only in recent years has the value of the CRA been embraced by universities, colleges, sponsoring agencies, and others involved in research administration functions. The RACC now offers 3 different types of certifications that can be earned: 

  1. Certified Research Administrator (CRA),
  2. Certified Pre-Award Research Administrator (CPRA), and
  3. Certified Financial Research Administrator (CFRA). 
All exams are administered by the Research Administration Certification Council (RACC). The Council is composed of volunteer individuals, consisting of representatives from a variety of settings, including institutions of higher education, hospitals, private businesses, research institutes and foundations, governmental organizations, national professional organizations, and private educational and research consulting firms. The CRA, CPRA, and CFRA designations provide documented evidence that an individual has been examined by an independent professional organization and found to have the basic knowledge essential to fulfill the responsibilities of a research or sponsored programs administrator. Candidates must pass a 250-question examination developed by the Council and administered by the Professional Testing Corporation. Details about the CRA exams can be found on the RACC website.

Duke's CRA Study Group

Research Costing Compliance supports those wishing to take the CRA exam by providing extensive resources through the CRA Study Group sessions. Because the national exam is so comprehensive and features a very broad cross section of national research administration issues, experience at Duke alone is often not sufficient to pass the exam. RCC’s study group sessions and review materials have proven beneficial to many who have obtained this important national designation. The success rate for those taking the CRA exam from Duke has hovered consistently around 80-100%. As the developer of the CRA test prep materials, please contact Kristy Ford, CRA, with any questions or suggestions regarding the CRA exam and/or materials and resources.

Duke’s CRA Study Group is held by Kristy Ford two times a year to meet the needs of the exam schedule set by RACC. To apply for the next CRA Study Group, complete and submit the CRA Study Group Application to RCC at rcc-cert at duke.edu. Feel free to contact Kristy Ford with any questions about the application or upcoming CRA Study Group.