10 medical certifications you can easily get (with benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Getting medical certifications is a viable option for anyone who wants to pursue a career in the medical field, especially with the increasing demand for well-trained health professionals. Most last for a varying period, from as little as four weeks to a full year. If you'd like to work in the medical field but not attend medical school, applying for a medical certification could be a great training option. In this article, we discuss what a medical certification is, outline the benefits, list the certificates most easily obtainable and explain the steps to earning one.

What are medical certifications?

Medical certifications are proof of mastery in a specific field or subject. They're awards given to individuals that guarantee their medical skill level and knowledge. Certification also provides you with the opportunity to offer a specific healthcare service. Most medical positions require employees to have a medical school degree before getting certifications. Other job positions only require GCSEs or the equivalent. To get a medical certification, all you need is to complete the programme and pass the final assessment exam.

Benefits of getting a medical certification

Having a medical certification has several benefits for healthcare professionals, such as:

Increases your expertise

When you register for medical certification, you're to pass a comprehensive exam that tests your medical knowledge and competence. You also gain more knowledge in your chosen field. This certification is an excellent benefit if you already have previous knowledge in the field.

Improves your employment opportunities

Many job positions demand certifications as a requirement. Earning a certification, therefore, qualifies you to apply for more jobs. Employers now see you as eligible and note your notable achievements or work experience through the certification.

Shows your commitment to the field

Most certification programmes require applicants to pay for the course, while others grant you access to a recognised association body after passing their certification exams. Paying a commitment fee for the training shows you're serious about the field. It also shows you're credible and willing to take more steps to improve yourself in that medical field.

Grants you a competitive advantage

Regardless of how much practical experience you have, a certification shows you have practical knowledge of the subject. It also shows you've undergone due training for your work as a medical professional. This certification gives you a competitive advantage over other job applicants. It also grants you access to more exclusive job openings and acts as a push for you to pursue a career in several medical specialities.

Related: Guide: requirements for medical school (plus skills)

Types of medical certifications you can easily get

If you want to seek a career in the medical field or add more certifications to your degree, these 10 certification courses are worth considering:

1. Pharmacy technology certificate

Professional pharmacists supervise pharmacy technicians to fill prescriptions, provide medications, perform inventory and work with patients and insurance companies. A pharmacy technician course is also available in many further education universities. This certification course is ideal for someone with excellent communication skills, as you interact with customers to explain medications. Typically, this certification can take six months.

Related: How much does a pharmacy technician make?

2. Phlebotomy technician certificate

A phlebotomist draws blood and sends it to the medical lab for processing. They also draw blood for transfusions and blood donations. Empathetic individuals often do well in this job role. This training certificate course is a practicable course, and most professionals take this course as a first step in moving on to other careers. The duration of this course typically lasts between 2-6 months.

3. Cardiac monitor technician

If you want to specialise in cardiology, pursuing this certificate course is a significant step. The duration of this course can typically take up to six months, depending on the institution. A physician or a cardiologist usually supervises cardiac monitor technicians. They check for heart abnormalities with the aid of an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine. The course trains aspiring technicians on EKGs, stress testing, ambulatory testing and the means to interpret them.

4. Medical assistant certification

The medical assistant certificate is perfect for individuals looking for workplace variety and can take up to one year to complete. As a medical assistant, you can work in different settings, from busy hospitals to small offices. Their duties also include clinical and administrative tasks, so training covers laboratory techniques and major diagnostic procedures. They learn more about patient confidentiality, document patient histories and educate patients.

5. Patient care technician (PCT) certification

Certification in patient care technology allows you to attend to the ageing population by working alongside nurses in assisting patients. Patient care technicians assist nurses in managing patient food intake, administration of IVs and the drawing of blood. A certification in this field is a significant step towards becoming a registered nurse, as you get to work closely with patients and learn about the appropriate bedside treatment of patients. PCTs work in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors' offices and long-term care facilities. This certification can take between 6-9 months to complete.

6. Certificate in emergency medical technology

EMTs are the first responders in a medical emergency. Most people who undergo this training are entry-level patient care professionals who undergo medical school or FE college training and typically train anywhere from one to three months. The programme combines classroom teaching and internship training. Aspiring EMTs require GCSEs and a CPR certificate before full acceptance into the programme. An advanced training course is available after completing this certification, called the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) course. Those holding these certificates often go on to become paramedics. The AEMT course takes an additional 400 hours of training before certification.

Related: How to become a paramedic

7. Certificate in massage therapy

This course teaches students the proper way to manipulate muscles and tendons and promote relief from musculoskeletal pain and discomfort. The programme offers a combination of theoretical teachings and practicable learning. Individuals who have completed their GCSEs are eligible to enrol. This certification can take anywhere from a year or two to complete.

8. Certification in medical laboratory technology

A lab scientist supervises lab technicians and performs laboratory analysis on patients' tissues and fluids. The coursework of a medical laboratory technician involves clinical chemistry, microbiology, phlebotomy and clinical practices. The programme expects students to do a six-month laboratory experience programme before they get the qualifications to take the certification exam. This program and certification can take up to three years to complete.

9. Behavioural technician specialist certification

A registered behavioural technician works in a clinical setting and provides treatment plans for autistic children and other patients. They work closely with patients in hospitals, schools, mental health facilities, homes and childhood development centres. They also work with other healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses to care for patients with behavioural conditions. This certification can take up to six months to complete.

10. Certified nursing aide

A certified nurse aide (CNA) is a healthcare professional who plays a vital role in caring for patients by providing basic needs. They offer compassion and patience to patients even as they assist them with daily life tasks. The CNA programme offers rewarding experiences and the ability to get into the healthcare sector in just a few months. CNAs typically take up to six months to complete the course for placement.

Related: How to become a nurse practitioner

How to earn a medical certification

If you want to earn a certification for yourself, here are some steps you can follow:

1. Choose your speciality

There are different fields in the healthcare sector. The first step is determining what area you want to work in and what course to pursue. Specialities include pharmacy, cardiology and psychology. Choosing your area of interest helps you develop your career goals and pick a suitable certification course.

2. Do your research

Most certification courses have certain requirements, so do your necessary research before applying. Find out the educational, experiential and age criteria for the certification course. With knowledge of these conditions, you can begin working towards qualifying for enrolment as quickly as possible.

3. Enrol in a programme

These certification courses involve registering, enrolling and graduating from the programme. The programme teaches students all they require to succeed in their chosen field, including how to handle the equipment. Some programmes last less than a year, while others may take a few years before graduation. It's also important you know the duration of the certification programme before enrolment.

Related: Medical degrees: types, requirements and length of study

4. Prepare for the exam

Several fields require applicants to pass an exam before they can receive their certificates. Others require students to pass their exams alongside fulfilling other requirements as part of the programme's graduation requirements. These requirements may be in carrying out a thesis or project. Some programme exams involve paying a certain fee and answering multiple-choice or essay questions successfully. Adequately preparing for the exam improves the likelihood of getting a good score.

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