Research Admin Certification Herbert B. Chermside 09 Jun 1998 14:55 EST

Clifford Shisler, Chairman of the RACC Board, gave me these comments on the
difference between a commercial training venture and a national
certification based on standards set by professional research
administrators demonstrating mastery of a defined and public body of

"The Certified Grant Specialist training is offered by a commercial
organization (Research Associates of Irmo, SC). This organization offers
both the certification and the training. It appears that these
certificates are based on participation in the training rather that on
testing. There doesn't appear to be any experiential requirements for
the certificate, nor is it adjudicated by research administrators.  The
certificate itself is narrow, focusing primarily on grant writing."

"The Certified Research Administrator is offered by a non-profit
organization that is solely created for the purpose of offering
certification for research administrators. Its governing board, the
Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC),  is comprised
soley of research administrators active in the field. While review
sessions are conducted for those wishing to take the certification exam,
the Council does not specifically offer courses, but relies on SRA,
NCURA and other professional organizations to provide the education
needed for the exam. There is an experiential requirement as part of the
application process--not everyone is eligible to take the exam. Test
information is based on a broad-based body of knowledge that is
acknowledged by the research administration profession. The test is
designed by an independent testing organization that administers and
monitors the exams in 20 sites around the country, calculates the
passing grades, and notifies the Reseach Administrators Certification
Council of those meeting the requirements for certification. The
Certified Research Administrator also has a requirement for
recertification every 5 years, which is based on continued active
participation in the profession."

In short, formal training can assist one in gaining professional skills;
the CRA (Certified Research Administrator) demonstrates that one meets a
defined standard of professionalization.

I invite you to check out the RACC website:

Herbert B. Chermside, CRA
Director, Sponsored Programs Administration
Virginia Comonwealth University
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