By: David M. Higgins II

St. Mary’s City, MD- Adam Malisch, research administrator in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs earned his professional accreditation in December. Only 38% of U.S. research administrators have such a professional accreditation, Certified Research Administrator. 

A Certified Research Administrator (CRA) is a designation granted in the United States by the Research Administrators Certification Council to individuals who demonstrate the knowledge necessary to serve as an administrator of professional and sponsored research programs. Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree, possess at least three years of related experience, and pass the Certified Research Administrator examination before being conferred the right to use the CRA designation.

The RACC also offers Certified Pre-Award Research Administrator and Certified Financial Research Administrator designations.

According to the RACC, the CRA designation carries numerous benefits to those who hold it, such as recognition among professionals, a sense of personal satisfaction, indication of expertise in the administration of sponsored research endeavors, greater opportunities for employment, greater opportunities for advancement, robust credibility, and the ability to serve as a role model to research peers. The CRA designation is a registered certification mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Candidates must hold a Bachelor’s degree and three years of substantial involvement in administrating sponsored research programs, in either a sponsoring, recipient or self-funded organization. The Research Administrators Certification Council may waive the requirement of a bachelor’s degree if an applicant petitions the council and possesses an Associate’s degree and at least six years of experience or eight years of substantial experience working with sponsored research programs.

Candidates must pass a written Certified Research Administrator examination designed by the RACC and administered by Professional Testing, Inc., which covers fundamental information necessary for meeting the demands and responsibilities of a career in sponsored program administration.

Every five years, CRAs must recertify to continue using the CRA designation. Recertification applicants are expected to demonstrate continued participation or employment in the field of research administration, including requisite hours of continuing education activities and a collection of several questions for potential use on future revisions of the CRA exam.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...