Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the USA. Our population is aging and the obesity epidemic sadly shows no signs of going away anytime soon. Demand for healthcare will only increase in the near future.
While some might say this is a negative development, it is good news for the job market. Many industries have fewer job vacancies every day, but the healthcare industry is struggling to find enough workers. If you are looking to make a career change to find more job security, entering the healthcare industry should be at the top of your list.
What are Allied Health Professionals?
The pressure on the US healthcare system is greater than ever before. Allied health professionals are essential to creating a healthier future. Medical assistants, phlebotomists, and EKG technicians work at the front line of patient care. These professionals help doctors, nurses, and dentists with primary care as well as fulfilling clerical functions.
Administrative healthcare professionals, such as billing and coding specialists, medical administrative assistants, and electronic record keepers, keep things running smoothly behind the scenes. These are all very important support roles without which healthcare provision would grind to a halt.
As you can see, the healthcare industry is not solely made up of people who have worked for expensive degrees to be doctors and nurses. There is a great deal of demand for allied health workers who are essential to the provision of good services in the health industry. With a high school diploma, you can train to become certified in any number of healthcare positions that do not require a college degree. These positions still come with great pay, great hours, and upward mobility within the field.
Just as nurses, dentists, and doctors have specialties, there is a wide variety of work available to healthcare professionals. If you cringe at the thought of taking blood or even being around it, that does not mean the healthcare industry is not for you. There are plenty of administrative positions that do not require you to be in the actual exam room. Certifications in these administrative types of positions are just as important as those with more patient care interaction.
Organizations like the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) offer an important lifeline for people who need stable, well-paid work without a college degree. The NHA certification offers amazing job prospects for such people for two reasons: their certification is highly reputable, and the industry they certify is undergoing serious growth.
How NHA Certifications can help
The NHA provides certifications for six key allied health roles:
- Clinical medical assistant
- Job specifications vary from office to office, but some of the responsibilities of a clinical medical assistant can be to record vital signs, take medical histories, prepare patients and rooms for an exam, assist with exams, or explain treatment and procedures to patients.
- Phlebotomy technician
- Phlebotomists take samples of blood from patients. They must be able to prepare the equipment they need, prepare the patient for the blood draw, collect the blood samples and label and ship them correctly for testing, as well as properly dispose of equipment.
- Electrocardiogram (EKG) technician
- EKG technicians operate equipment that measures and records heart activity.
- Billing and coding specialist
- This is the position that is responsible for health insurance claims for doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other healthcare offices. They must ensure that claims are recorded and coded correctly in the patient’s file.
- Medical administrative assistant
- The responsibilities of this position are varied and can include some or all of the following: scheduling appointments, medical coding, filing insurance claims, communication with patients, accounting, and billing
- Electronic health record specialist
- These positions require the ability to ensure the entire patient record is kept up to date within the electronic systems used by the healthcare provider.
These are careers you could start in the short term; you can be trained and ready for the certification test in less than two months. The training for these certificates is not as time-consuming as you might think. Generally, they may require one to two times a week that you would need to go to a training center. You will not have to take any time off of work to get the certificates, so you can keep your current job while trying to find a better one.
The hours of the careers listed above are perfect for anyone looking to add stability to their lives or wanting to be able to be at home on the weekend and during the evenings with their kids. Many young adults find themselves going through life changes in their 20’s and 30’s that make a change of profession necessary to better their lifestyle situation. A career in the healthcare industry could do just that.
Additionally, if you are a bilingual person, the healthcare industry is in desperate need of your skills. By becoming certified in any one of the categories above, in addition to speaking another language, your attributes will far outweigh those of your competitors applying for the same positions.
NHA certifications will vastly raise your chances of landing an entry-level position, and it brings a host of other benefits as well. Next week we will look at the NHA in more detail and some of the individual certifications the NHA offers, but for now, let’s take a peek at how they can help your career.
The primary benefit a certification brings is simply an edge over other interviewees going for the same job as you. If you are shortlisted for a job as a medical biller and the HR team sees that you are a Certified Biller and Coding Specialist (CBCS) while your competitors are store clerks hoping to switch careers, who do you think they’ll choose?
Your certification shows them that you are dedicated, focused, and serious about your choice of careers. It demonstrated that you had invested time, money, and energy to independently get certified even though the job may not strictly require it – that shows the kind of initiative that makes a great employee. The better the job, the more of an edge you will have over your competitors. A small medical clinic paying a very basic wage may be happy to take on an unskilled worker who will accept low pay and train them up; a large urban hospital is more likely to favor high quality, certified applicants and pay a higher rate to attract them.
Fast-track your career opportunities
Another benefit of certifications – especially stacked certifications– is the higher chance of being considered for other jobs within the organization, even if you miss out on the role you applied for.
For example, if you train up in CCI’s medical assistant program, you’ll be ready to sit the certification exam for Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and Phlebotomy Technician Certification (CPT). You might apply for a medical assistant role, get shortlisted, but not quite get the position. But then you get a call a few weeks later with a job offer – the same company has a phlebotomist position opening up; with your previous interview and your CPT they feel confident hiring you.
Certification also means you’ll be ready to move forward in your career sooner. Training for an NHA certification will take a few months, but learning the same volume of information while on the job will take much longer. By minimizing the on-the-job training and education you need to undertake you’ll settle into the role faster, which means you’ll be ready to move forward in your career sooner if that’s what you choose.
It’s important to undertake thorough training before getting your certification. Doing so will make sure you are confident and well-prepared to give you the best chance of success during the certification test. At CCI Training Centre we offer small class sizes and very experienced instructors, who will guide you while you prepare for your certification test. They are extremely knowledgeable about the field and will be able to help you decide what path is right for you.
You will likely meet other people who are already in the healthcare industry as well, enabling you to start a network of other professionals in the industry. This can help you learn about job interviews and the ins and outs of what the industry expects from its candidates. CCI wants to help give you achieve your goal of starting a new career as an allied health professional.
Your training at CCI will allow you to feel confident when you walk into interviews for healthcare positions. Your resume will show the effort you have put into gaining the skills you need to obtain a position in the healthcare industry. If you’re ready to start on the path to better income, better job security, more job satisfaction, and a great life for you and your family, call CCI Training Center to speak with one of our administrators about the healthcare career of your choice today.
Next week we will look at the individual certification you can gain through the NHA.