Your Guide to Choosing the Right Healthcare Certification Program
As you consider your future career options, one field might stand out more than the others when it comes to job opportunity and security. The number of jobs available in healthcare is expected to grow by 14% by 2028, much more rapidly than other industries. Although certain careers in healthcare require four-year or more advanced degrees, a considerable number of them do not.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the health sciences, the first thing to do is choose a career certificate program that matches your interests, meets your needs, and will help you find the right job. Here’s what to consider when choosing a certification program.
What Are Your Interests?
There is a lot of variety in the healthcare field, so you are likely to find a career that you enjoy, no matter what your interests might be. For example, if you enjoy working directly with other people and want to help others feel better, a career as a massage therapist might be right for you. If you are very organized and analytical, you might enjoy a career as a medical coder or biller.
You may find it helpful to make a list of the things you enjoy doing, whether they are related to healthcare or not. It can also be helpful to make a list of the skills you currently have or skills you would like to develop. You can compare your list of interests and skills to the description of each type of certification program to see which ones might be a good fit.
How Long Is the Program?
Each career certificate program requires a certain number of hours. For example, the dental assisting program at Orange Technical College requires 1230 clock hours and takes about 10 months of full-time study to complete. The hemodialysis technician program requires 600 hours and takes about six months of full-time study to complete. Understanding how long it will take to earn your certificate can give you a rough idea of when you’ll be able to begin your new career.
Also worth considering is how much of a weekly time commitment your program will be and how it will fit in with your other commitments, such as your current job schedule or your family’s needs. Many of Orange Technical College’s certificate programs are full-time and require about 29 to 30 hours per week in the classroom. Some programs do have part-time options, which might be appropriate for you if you have a number of other commitments.
What Will You Learn in the Program?
Another thing to consider when choosing a certification program is the type of classes you’ll take and what you will learn during it. If you do not yet have a GED or high school diploma, it can also be worthwhile to find out if you need to earn one or the other before you enroll.
Ideally, the program you enroll in will focus on teaching you the skills and techniques you’ll need to succeed on the job. It should also offer some instruction on ways to make yourself employable, how to apply for positions, and how to understand legal concerns that are commonly associated with careers in the health sciences.
How Much Does the Program Cost?
Not all career certification programs cost the same amount. How much you might pay for your certificate depends on the type of career and on where you decide to go to school. Generally speaking, a certificate program offered by a public school will cost less than one offered by a private school.
The length of the program also determines the cost, as longer programs require more classroom instruction and typically have a higher price.
If you are concerned about paying for a certificate program, keep in mind that financial aid resources may be available to you. Options such as grants or scholarships can help you pay for school and do not have to be repaid once you graduate.
What Type of Job Can You Get After Earning a Certificate?
Once you complete your certificate program, what type of job will you be eligible to apply for and will you need to do anything else before you find a job? Depending on the type of program you enroll in and where you want to work after you complete it, you might need to pass an exam to earn licensure.
Before you enroll, it can be worthwhile to job shadow someone who has the career you’re considering to get a better sense of what a day on the job looks like. You might also ask the person you’re shadowing questions about their job to see if they enjoy it or if it’s very stressful. Another thing to think about is whether there are opportunities for growth in a particular career or if you’ll be able to move up to other roles as you gain experience.
Orange Technical College offers 12 career certificate programs in the health sciences at our five campuses in Central Florida. To learn more about our program options and the steps to enroll, get in touch with an admissions representative today.
- “Healthcare Occupations”, Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm