A clinical research associate, also known as a clinical or trial monitor, works in medical research as part of a clinical trial team, usually assisted by clinical research assistants. In the US, clinical research associates earn well over $62,000 per year compared to about AU$70,000 ($54,727 USD) in Australia and R613,000 ($53,112 USD) in South Africa. When converted to the US dollar, the average annual clinical research associate salary in New Zealand and Canada are similar at about NZ$69,000 ($50,181 USD) and C$59,611 ($47,090 USD), respectively, followed by the UK at £30,000 ($37,332 USD). South Africa and India fall on the lower end of the pay scale at R205,000 ($17,740 USD) and Rs301,000 ($4,640 USD), respectively. Salaries for clinical research associates vary worldwide by geographic region, professional experience, and work setting as further explained in this guide.
How Much Does a Clinical Research Associate Make per Year?
Salary information for clinical research associates in select countries is provided in the chart below.
|Clinical Research Associate Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||New Zealand||India||South Africa|
|AU$69,876 ($54,727 USD)||NZ$68,774
Factors that Influence the Clinical Research Associate Salary
While geographic region is a strong influencer of salary for clinical research associates, professional experience and work setting also affect earning potential. Salary information and career insight on this field are provided in this guide.
1. Geographic Area
Clinical Research Associate Salary in US
Clinical research associates in the US earn between $42,000 and $90,000 per year. While annual salaries average well over $62,000, the average hourly wage is $23. Bonus income opportunities can reach $9,800 and some employers offer profit sharing that ranges from just a few hundred dollars to about $6,800.
Clinical Research Associate Salary in Canada
Compensation packages for clinical research associates in Canada include as average base salary of about C$60,000 per year, plus the opportunity to add up to C$10,000 in additional bonus income. Hourly wage earners receive C$23 per hour, on average. The average entry level salary is nearly C$41,000 per year, while senior level professionals earn well over C$88,000 annually.
Clinical Research Associate Salary in the UK
In the UK, clinical research associates receive an annual salary averaging more than £30,000, or £16 per hour. Those with up to three years’ experience can expect an entry level salary of more than £23,000 per year, increasing with experience to roughly £39,000 per year. Some employers offer bonus income incentives that boost overall earnings another £5,000 or more.
Clinical Research Associate Salary in Australia
Clinical research associates in Australia earn between more than AU$58,000 to more than AU$93,000 per year. The average annual salary is about AU$69,000 per year, while the average hourly wage AU$37. Bonus income can potentially increase overall earnings between a few hundred dollars to more than AU$18,000.
Clinical Research Associate Salary in New Zealand
The average compensation for clinical research associates in New Zealand is about NZ$69,000 in base salary, plus an additional NZ$1,250 in bonus income. Hourly wage earners receive about NZ$36 per hour. Newly trained clinical research associates can expect a starting salary of nearly NZ$41,000 per year, increasing throughout one’s career to well over NZ$100,000 for senior level professionals.
Clinical Research Associate Salary in India
The average annual salary for clinical research associates in India is more than Rs301,000 per year, equating to about Rs156 per hour. While entry level positions garner an average salary exceeding Rs152,000 per year, senior level pay is more than Rs600,000 per year. Bonus income can potentially add roughly Rs75,500 to overall earnings, and some employers offer profit sharing that can average Rs2,000 in additional pay.
Clinical Research Associate Salary in South Africa
In South Africa, clinical research associates earn more than R613,000 per year, plus bonus income that can range from more than R18,000 to nearly R101,000. The average hourly wage is about R306 per hour. Early career clinical research associates with up to three years’ experience can expect an annual salary of about R430,000, increasing with experience to close to R771,000 per year for those in senior level positions.
With experience, the gap widens in annual salaries between entry level and senior level pay for clinical research associates. India, the country with the lowest earning potential, has one of the highest salary growth rates at 295%, equating to about Rs448,000 more per year. New Zealand has a salary growth rates at 144%, meaning senior level professionals earn about NZ$59,000 more than their entry level counterparts.
Salaries increase about 114% in the US and Canada, representing $48,000 and C$47,000 more in annual salary per year. While Australia offers higher salaries, the difference between entry level and senior level pay is only about 60%, or AU$35,000 more per year. South Africa also has a smaller gap between entry level and senior level pay at 79%, or R341,000 more per year.
Clinical research associates work in a variety of research settings, including laboratories, educational institutions, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. Those who are employed in a corporate setting, such as a pharmaceutical company may have greater earning potential compared to their colleagues employed in the public sector in educational institutions and some hospitals. However, for-profit hospitals and large medical organizations may offer salaries equivalent to a corporate business.
It is common for clinical research associates to work full-time hours, defined as 40 hours per week, during normal business hours. Some opportunities exist for part-time employment. There may be some occasions when additional hours are necessary in the evenings or weekends, and travel may be needed at times for field work.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Benefits packages for clinical research associates often include health, dental, and vision coverage as well as paid time off for holidays, vacation, and sick time. Worldwide, bonus pay is common, and while few, there are some opportunities for profit sharing income. These additional income opportunities are likely most common in the private sector.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 13% growth among medical scientists, which includes clinical research associates, between 2016 and 2026. This faster than average growth rate is due to increased demand in medical advancements and overall improvements in the health and medical community. A career as a clinical research associate requires a bachelor’s degree in a science or social science-related field. Those with a PhD may see higher earnings or be more competitive for some positions.
Clinical research associates earn solid incomes and comprehensive benefits and bonus packages. With a bachelor’s degree required, this career field offers a positive return on educational investment. Future growth is expected to outpace the average employment growth rate, which should support earning potential and offer ample employment opportunities.