There has never been a better time to consider a career in healthcare. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment in healthcare will grow 16% from 2020 to 2030, adding a total of 2.6 million jobs. And while some healthcare occupations require multiple advanced degrees, there are just as many that require less formal education, like healthcare certificates.
But which certificates should you pursue? With so many options available in both online and in-person learning environments, it can be hard to tell. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the top 7 healthcare certificates that will further your medical career.
Why Are Healthcare Certificates Important?
Overall, healthcare certificates are a great way to demonstrate one’s proficiency in a particular area within the healthcare field. Additionally, earning a healthcare certificate can:
- Demonstrate to patients that their healthcare providers are educated
- Improve overall performance and increase opportunities for certificate holders
- Help improve responsibility, commitment and motivation
- Serve as a public recognition of professional achievement
- Demonstrate expertise in healthcare and your specific field
7 Healthcare Certificates for Career Advancement
There are a number of healthcare certificate programs available for any number of specializations within the medical field. In looking at employment demand and career growth, these are the top 8 to consider.
Responsibilities: Dental assistants support both dentists and dental hygienists in day-to-day care performed in clinics. That may include anything from assisting with procedures to scheduling appointments and follow-up care.
Requirements: Completion of the dental assistant program at an accredited program and passing of the certification exam.
Average Salary: $41,180 (BLS)
Responsibilities: With a medical administration certificate, you can work in a wide variety of non-medical roles in a healthcare setting. Medical administrators typically work on the business side of healthcare functions but can use this certificate and job as a starting point for all clerical medical careers.
Requirements: Completion of an accredited medical administrative certificate exam from organizations such as the National Healthcareer Association.
Average Salary: $59,341 (salary.com)
Responsibilities: Medical assistants work in a variety of supporting roles in healthcare settings like family practices, urgent care, private practices and hospitals. Medical assistants may be tasked with supporting clerical tasks in patient-facing roles, but more likely they will support nurses and physicians in basic patient care.
Requirements: Completion of an accredited medical assistant program plus a certifying exam.
Average Salary: $37,6237 (salary.com)
Medical Billing & Coding
Responsibilities: Working in medical billing and coding requires you to use specific diagnostic codes related to medical care to assist with billing to insurance companies. Medical billing and coding specialists work in all healthcare settings, as medical billing and dealing with insurance is required of all medical facilities.
Requirements: Completion of an accredited medical coding/billing program plus a certifying exam.
Average Salary: $45,765 (Glassdoor)
Responsibilities: Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of licensed pharmacists, handling tasks such as filling prescriptions, compounding treatments, verifying insurance information and counseling patients.
Requirements: Completion of a certification exam from either the National Healthcareer Association or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
Average Salary: $40,981 (Salary.com)
Responsibilities: Also known as phlebotomists, people in this role are primarily responsible for drawing blood for blood work tests, transfusions, research or blood donations. These positions are common in hospital settings, clinics, laboratories or even at blood drives.
Requirements: Completion of a phlebotomy technician training program plus a certification from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, National Healthcareer Association or the American Medical Technologists.
Average Salary: $36, 320 (BLS)
Responsibilities: Nursing assistants work directly in patient care in hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care settings. Sometimes known as patient care technicians, nursing assistants work alongside LPNs and RNs completing tasks like feeding and toileting, turning bedridden patients to prevent pain and bedsores, measuring vital signs and reporting any concerns to nurses.
Requirements: Completion of an accredited nursing assistant program plus a certification exam.
Average Salary: $37,122 (Salary.com)
Healthcare Certificate Resources
If you’re interested in learning more about healthcare certificates, there are a number of online resources that will help you learn more about specific options and where to earn said certifications. Some of the most popular options include:
If you have a more concrete idea of what path you would like to follow into the world of healthcare, consider the University of San Diego Division of Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) MEDITECH Systems certificate program. This flexible program will prepare students to work with electronic health records, which is critical knowledge for any number of healthcare certificates.
FAQs About Healthcare Certificates
Q: What is a healthcare certificate?
A: A healthcare certificate is a demonstration of your knowledge or skill in a particular area of healthcare or medicine. Typically, a healthcare certificate can only be acquired by someone who has completed an educational program and official certification test administered by a governing body who oversees that area of healthcare.
Q: What are the best certifications to have in healthcare?
A: This will depend on what area of healthcare you want to work in, but some of the most in-demand jobs include medical administration, medical billing, pharmacy technician and nursing assistant.
Q: What healthcare certification pays the most?
A: Average salary varies depending on geographic location and other factors, but overall, the highest paying healthcare job that you can land with a certificate is medical billing and coding. The average salary is $44,751, with top earners making $52,000 and up.