Certified Research Administrators (CRA) Study Session

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The Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) offers three exams: Certified Research Administrator (CRA), Certified Pre-Award Research Administrator (CPRA) & Certified Financial Research Administrator (CFRA). This Reference Guide focuses on the CRA only; interested parties can find information on all three exams at www.cra-cert.org.

Why take the CRA Exam?

Passing the CRA provides independent confirmation that you have a basic level of knowledge of research and sponsored programs administration. It gives personal and professional satisfaction, and the ability to demonstrate to yourself and others your commitment to the profession.

When and how can I take the CRA exam?

There are two testing periods, one in May and another in November of every year. To take the exam, you must apply at the Research Administrator’s Certification Council’s CRA website www.cra-cert.org.

  • The exam fee is $385, which must be paid by the employee or the employee’s campus/department.

What is the CRA exam like?

The 4-hour 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%.

Visit the RACC Body of Knowledge webpage for a detailed outline of content areas that may be on the exam, and links to various resources.

What are the CRA exam requirements?

  1. Bachelor’s degree and three (3) years of professional experience in research or sponsored programs administration either in a sponsoring or recipient organization or the equivalent in a self-funded organization; OR
  2. Associate degree and five (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
  3. No degree and six (6) 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 (this requires completion of a Petition Application).

Note: To maintain your CRA designation, you will be required to recertify every five (5) years.

Before applying for the CRA exam:

NOTE: RACC is currently monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic in the U.S. and Internationally. Prometric Test Centers have adopted Social Distancing Policies.  For more information please go to the following link. https://www.prometric.com/covid-19-update/social-distancing-policies. Thank you for your patience. Stay safe and be well.

  • Review the Body of Knowledge from RACC
    • Create a personal study plan and schedule
      • Focus on your areas of concern within the Body of Knowledge
      • The recommended amount of study time correlated with a passing grade is 40-60 hours in total
  • Take a free practice test from WizIQ
  • Email CRA@vt.edu to join the free Virginia Tech study program (Next session starting in September)
    • You will receive an email with activation instructions, once received complete the set up
  • Join FB Workplace Group 2020 RF CRA Study Group by contacting learning@rfsuny.org
    • Share tips and resources as you find them in this group
  • Invite another member of the study group to study with you in an area of shared interest

After applying for the CRA exam, you may consider requesting additional study resources from the central office. Please speak with the Learning & Development Manager for prior budget approval:

  • Sign Up for quizlet.com, $11.99 (Search for the folder called “Virginia Tech CRA Prep”)
  • Consider purchasing a study guide from Amazon, $50
  • Invite an outside speaker to host an in-depth training session for the study group, $TBD