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Updated on December 11, 2010

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How to Choose Between ACRP and SOCRA Certification

Clinical research professionals will recognize both non-profit organizations actively recruiting members: ACRP and SOCRA. The Association of Clinical Research Professionals, Inc. (ACRP) is nonprofit corporation that was founded in 1976 and has grown tremendously in size of the last 30 years to now over 20,000 members worldwide. The Society of Clinical Research Associates, Inc. (SOCRA) is a nonprofit corporation that now has over 6,000 members worldwide.

Both ACRP and SOCRA have similar missions, to ensure quality clinical research, promote global protection of research participants, and to offer clinical research professionals educational opportunities and resources. So how do you distinguish between these organizations? How do you choose which membership best fits your needs as a clinical research professional?


If you are looking to become certified consider what you are trained to do professionally. ACRP has examinations that offer certification for Clinical Research Associates (CRA), Clinical Research Coordinators (CRC), and Physician Investigators (CPI). Certification enhances your skill set and can be used as a measure of your general skills and knowledge of clinical research. SOCRA has examinations that offer certification for the Clinical Research Professional (CRP). Please see the website links below to access eligibility information for each certification.

Educational Programs

In order to maintain your membership in either organization, you need to earn continuing education credits. Educational opportunities are offered through both groups.

Online Community

ACRP now offers online forums where members can discuss questions and concerns regarding clinical research. You need to be a member of ACRP to access the online community information. The cost of membership for ACRP is currently higher than membership into SOCRA. The purpose of the online community is to offer networking opportunities with other professionals. You can choose to become members of both organizations.

Annual Conference

Both ACRP and SOCRA have global annual conferences to offer educational opportunities, contact hours, and networking opportunities. Keep in mind that even with a membership into these organizations there is still cost to attend educational programs.

ACRP vs. SOCRA - Side By Side Comparison

*ACRP – Association of Clinical Research Professionals
*SOCRA – Society of Clinical Research Professionals
Certified as a Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) or Clinical Research Associate (CRA) or Certified Physician Investigator (CPI)
Certified as Clinical Research Professional (CRP)
Must be a Member of ACRP (150.00 per year)
Must be a member of SOCRA ($75 per year)
Develop a CV or resume documenting two years of clinical research experience and current job description
Two years of full time employment working as a clinical research professional
Become titled as a CCRC, CCRA, or CCPI
Become titled as a CCRP
Membership Fee $150 /yr
Membership Fee: $75/year
Exam Fee $340.00 and Certification Application Fee $100.00 (non refundable)
Application Fee of $195 (one time)
Renewal Fee $150 annually
Renewal Fee $100 (every 3 years)
Certified for 2 years, then you can renew with 24 contact hours of continuing education credits,
Certified for 3 years, then you can renew with 45 hours of continuing education credits, completion of a quiz, and a renewal fee of $100.
80% passing rate
Study guide available for $50.
*All the fees mentioned are subject to change.

How Do You Choose?

If you need to choose between SOCRA and ACRP certification, consider your job title, roles, and budget. Overall, ACRP maybe more expensive, but certification as a CCRC is specific to the role of the clinical trial coordinator, whereas CCRP covers a wide spectrum of clinical research roles.

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      The costs of being certified in ACRP have skyrocketed in the last 10 years. Online CMEs used to cost $10, now they are $42.

      Renewal of certification used to be $170, now it is $215.

      Plus membership fee of $150 EVERY year.

      The conferences are too expensive to attend unless your employer will pay. Mine does not. CRCs don't make six figure salaries!

      SOCRA seems like a MUCH more affordable option.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      ACRP has created a website for comparing ACRP and SOCRA certification:

      There's also a pdf:

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Does anyone know the percentage of employed CRAs that are certified, either by SOCRA or ACRP in the country? Thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the side by side comparision. This is very helpful since I've been trying to see which one is legit. It seems both are, but one main question arises. Does any of them offer membership to people who are in scientific research, and not doing clinical research. Personally, I work as a research assistant and am looking to venture into clinical research, but most of the jobs need CRA certification, and both site ask for experience, its a conundrum, any insight would be helpful.

      Thank you,


    • profile image

      Deborah Langone 

      6 years ago

      Can someone call me at 516-433-0262 in the research department. I would like to speak to someone about becoming certified.

      Thank you,


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Roseann Cole,

      I know you are certified clinical research professional,that's why I have question for you, I am from India, Asia. I have completed Master of Pharmacy in specialisation of - Clinical Pharmacology & i have 4 years of clinical trial experience.

      I want to apply for CRA in CANADA (I don't have PR/Job Offer. Am I eligible for job as Certified CRA on the basis of this Certificate (ACRP) or should i complete any other certificate course for getting job offer as CRA?

    • Roseann Cole profile imageAUTHOR

      Roseann Cole 

      6 years ago from Midwest USA

      I think both ACRP and SOCRA offer excellent educational opportunities for continuing education credits. Since CEUs are required to maintain membership for both organizations they have ample opportunities to earn those credits. I have participated in mostly ACRP courses, however SOCRA has equally as many opportunities for the clinical research professional. Thanks for your comments!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you Roseann, this is a very interesting article. What do you think about the quality of education courses between SoCRA and ACRP?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The SoCRA exam also requires a CV or resume, current job description and a letter of recommendation

    • Roseann Cole profile imageAUTHOR

      Roseann Cole 

      7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thank you for pointing out the typo, I corrected it.

      CCRA (certified clinical research associate) is certification obtained through ACRP. To my knowledge, SOCRA only allows certification as CCRP (certified clinical research professional).

      Research monitors, associates, would obtain the CCRA (ACRP). Study coordinators obtain CCRP (SOCRA) or Certified Clinical Research Coordinator - CCRC (ACRP).

      The examinations are similar between the two CCRC and CCRP, and they both test GCP, FDA guidelines, and basic knowledge of clinical research. I think ACRP tends to be recognized more worldwide and obviously offers more programs, as ACRP is the only organization to offer CPI and CRA certification.

      My intent was to display that both ACRP and SOCRA offer valuable widely recognized certification programs important to the development of a clinical research professional.

      Despite my intent, I obviously need to revisit this article and show actual comparisons between cost certification type.

      Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate your time.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What's about CCRA certification in comparation with these two?

      By the way, there is an error in "Certification" paragraph. There is writen "Clinical Research Associate (CRC)", probably it should be Clinical Research Coordinator. (?)


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