The Growing Demand for Healthcare Certificate Programs
It’s no secret that earning a degree takes a lot of time, effort and money. You’ve seen your friends or family members go through it, but you’re not convinced it’s the right choice for you. At the same time, you know some sort of formal education or training is needed to pursue the healthcare career you’ve always wanted.
A healthcare certificate program may be the perfect route for you. Earning a healthcare certificate is a great way to get your foot in the door of the healthcare industry so you can start gaining valuable experience sooner and at a lower cost.
Keep reading to learn about the evolution of certificate programs and see some examples of careers you could launch with a healthcare certificate.
The evolution of certificate programs in higher education
Certificates haven’t always been a popularly recognized educational credential. In the 1980s, only six percent of Americans held a certificate. Today that number has more than quadrupled, with 22 percent of Americans now holding a certificate of some sort, according to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
The biggest culprit for this increase is the escalating cost of a college degree. Tuition costs have more than tripled in the past 40 years, according to a report by CollegeBoard. These hefty price tags are deterring Americans from pursuing traditional degrees, making certificates an appealing alternative. Earning a certificate is also a great way to acquire precise technical skills for a specific career in which you’re interested.
What are the advantages of earning a healthcare certificate?
Now that you know more about the kind of healthcare certificate programs out there, there’s just one question left: what are the benefits?
1. Save money and make money
As you know, most certificate programs consume less time than bachelors or associates degrees. Less time to completion means less student loans and interest payments. What’s more is that certificate holders earn an average of 20 percent more than those with only a high school diploma.
2. Get into the workplace quickly
If you want to gain some experience in your field before committing to a two or four-year degree, earning a certificate is a great alternative. A certificate could be the ticket you need to get your foot in the door and start working your way up.
3. Advance your career
Once you’ve gained some valuable experience in the field, you may start getting the itch to pursue advancement opportunities. Certificates serve as great stepping stones towards higher credentials and greater careers.
In fact, 20 percent of certificate holders go on to earn a two-year degree and an additional 13 percent eventually earn a bachelor’s degree, according to the Georgetown University study. Many degree programs even grant credits and waive courses for certified individuals.
Common healthcare certificates
Now you know that these credentials are no joke. Now you’re probably wondering what healthcare certificate programs are available to you. Learn about three options and the professional opportunities they can provide.
1. Pharmacy technician certificate
The pharmacy technician certificate will likely take you a year or less to complete and will equip you to be a pharmacist’s right-hand guy or gal. The certificate program will typically include training on pharmacy law and ethics, dispensing medications, record-keeping, names, doses and uses of medication and more. Most states regulate pharmacy techs, requiring you to pass an exam or certification program, so having your certificate will be an advantage when applying for jobs.
2. Medical billing & coding certificate
A medical billing and coding certificate will typically take you up to a year to earn and give you the edge by providing both classroom and coding experience. It will enable you to perform a variety of important, behind-the-scenes functions like scanning patient information for pre-existing conditions, making sure medical records are accurate and up-to-date and also acting as a liaison between the health provider and billing offices.
3. Medical administrative assistant certificate
Earning your certificate to become a medical administrative assistant will typically take about one year. As a medical administrative assistant, you’ll be able to jump right in to the office work of answering phones, scheduling patient appointments and taking care of office-related purchases and organization. Medical administrative assistant positions are in high demand as the need for healthcare services rises and more physician practices are switching to electronic health records.
You’re now aware that healthcare certificate programs are a great option for someone looking to save time and money in pursuit of a career in healthcare. And remember, just because it’s the best option for you now, doesn’t mean it has to be a permanent option. The training and experience you gain can be leveraged toward a higher-level career in the future.
But if you’re looking to get your foot in the door of the healthcare industry, there are several entry-level opportunities for certificate holders. Learn about 11 entry-level healthcare jobs that employers want to fill now!