Healthcare Certification Exams
Whether you're preparing for a new career in healthcare or have already launched one and are interested in increasing your advancement potential, healthcare certification exams are a topic you'll need to look into. Depending upon the particular type of career you are pursuing, certifications may be required by state or local healthcare regulations in your area. In other cases, they may be optional, presenting an avenue to distinguish yourself in your field and open doors to more advantageous opportunities.
How certification exams work
Certification exams are tests that if passed, result in the test-taker receiving a certification. That certification is a credential that attests that the individual has achieved the qualifications – knowledge, skills and/or educational benchmarks, for instance – required to become certified in a particular field or occupation.
Eligibility requirements for taking the exam vary according to the particular certification sought. In many cases, particularly with healthcare certifications exams, certain educational standards must be met. These commonly include possession of a high school diploma or GED along with a certain level of further education, such as specific college classes, training programs or certificate courses. In other cases, a certain level of work experience in the field may qualify a person for a certification exam.
Sample certification exam requirements
National Healthcareer Association (NHA) - requires all candidates for their certification exams to have a high school diploma or recognized equivalent.
- Phlebotomy certification exam requirements - candidates must have successfully completed an accredited, state-recognized or military phlebotomy training program or have at least one year of supervised work experience in phlebotomy within the past three years.
- EKG technician certification exam requirements - must have successfully completed an accredited, state-recognized or military EKG training program or have at least one year of supervised work experience as an EKG technician within the past three years.
- Pharmacy technician certification exam requirements - must graduate from an accredited, state-recognized or military pharmacy technician training program, complete a qualified employer-based training program or have at least 1200 hours of supervised pharmacy work experience to be eligible to sit for the exam.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
- Medical coding certification exam requirements - to earn a coding associate certification current requirements are that you must have at least a high school education, and have completed a coding training course that includes anatomy, physiology, medical terminology and basic ICD diagnostic/procedural. Basic CPT coding is highly recommended.
Given the differing requirements according to exam type and provider, it is very important to research the particular exam you're interested in to ensure you meet the requirements for certification.
About Exam Preparation
As with any exam, preparation is essential to success with healthcare certifications exams. If you are newly graduated from a training or certificate course, reviewing your study material from that course may be enough of a brush-up for exam success. However, if it has been a while since you have been in the classroom or you are using work experience to qualify to sit the exam, you would be wise to put more time into preparation. Options available to give you a leg-up on passing your certificate exam include certification exam study guides and practice exams, which may be offered by your certification agency, and certificate programs, which are designed to ensure that you have the knowledge base you need to ace the exam and earn your certification.
Exam preparation is vital for the certification testing needed for careers throughout the healthcare field. Positions as EKG Technicians, Phlebotomy Techs and even Medical Billing and Coding have national certifications which, in many cases, are required to qualify for open positions upon completion of an academic program.
- Pharmacy Tech
- Medical Coding