Starting Your Career in the Medical Field With a Career Certificate

You don’t need to spend years in school to start a career in the medical field. Many of the people you interact with when you visit your healthcare provider’s office got their start with advanced medical certification. From working with patients to helping with medical billing, you, too can get started in the medical field with a career certificate. 

The only thing left to do is choose your career.

What Is a Career Certificate?

A career certificate is a specialized training program that helps you develop skills for a particular career. You can earn a certificate as a way to get your foot in the door of a career or to help yourself advance after you’ve spent a few years on the job.

Career certificates aren’t the same as associate’s or bachelor’s degrees, though they are a form of post-secondary education and you typically earn one from a college. For one thing, career certificate programs are much shorter than associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. Instead of spending two or four years in class, you can earn a certificate in one year or sometimes less, depending on the program.

During a career certificate program, you’ll focus on learning the skills needed to perform your job well. The programs are hyper-focused, which is one of the reasons they take less time than associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs. Your learning won’t be entirely in the classroom, either. Most programs have externship or clinical components that let you learn in a professional setting.  

Why Join the Medical Field?

Career certificates are available in various industries, including construction, food service, information technology, and health sciences. So why choose a medical career certificate over the other options?

There are a few reasons why a career in the medical field may appeal to you. When you work in a medical profession, you have a direct impact on other people. You can help patients feel better and support them as they go through challenging medical issues. At the end of each day, you can go home knowing you’ve made a difference in the world. 

The medical field is big and growing, meaning there are currently plenty of opportunities and there will be plenty of opportunities in the future. There are also many career options, many of which require only a career certificate.

What Career Options Are Available?

If you’re interested in pursuing a medical career, your certificate options include:

  • Medical assistant: A medical assistant certificate program trains you to work alongside nurses and physicians, providing assistance during exams, lab tests, and taking patient’s blood. You’ll also learn administrative tasks associated with medical practices.
  • Medical coding and billing: A medical coding and billing certificate introduces you to medical terminology and trains you for a career as a medical coder.
  • Practical nurse: The first step to becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) is enrolling in a practical nursing certificate program, where you’ll learn how to provide care in various settings.
  • Patient care assistant: Patient care assistants, or nursing assistants, work alongside nurses and get to form one-on-one relationships with the patients they support.
  • Pharmacy technician: You don’t always have to work directly with patients in the medical field. In a pharmacy technician certificate program, you’ll learn how to prepare prescriptions, keep track of patient records, and track inventory. 
  • Surgical technology: As a surgical technician, you’ll assist surgeons during operations. A surgical technology certificate program will show you the basics of a surgical hand scrub, how to prep an operating room, and how to prepare patients for surgery. 

How Do You Get a Certificate?

Before you can enroll in a career certificate program, you need a few prerequisites, such as a GED or high school diploma. Most medical career certificates require you to have at least a Grade 9, 10, or 11 level in math, reading, and language arts. 

You’ll also need to apply for the program that interests you the most. Orange Technical College has medical and health sciences advanced career certificate programs at our five campuses. Learn more about our enrollment process.

What Happens Next?

Certificate programs can take a few months to more than one year. After you’ve completed your program and earned your certificate, the next step is usually to take and pass an exam. Once you’ve passed the exam, you can receive your license and will be able to start looking for work in your new career.