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Certificate and Diploma Careers in Health Care

Are you a high school graduate considering pursuing an entry level job in health care? Learn more about your options...

Diploma programs and certificate programs are very similar in that they are of short duration and prepare students with foundational skills and knowledge desired by employers looking to hire in the entry level health care setting. Completion of a diploma or certificate program demonstrates to employers a mastery of the skills and knowledge desired by the employers for a specific position. In some cases the certificate program serves a dual purpose to prepare students for performing in a position as well as to pass a certification exam.

Should I choose a diploma or certificate program?

Certificate programs are generally focused in a particular area or specialization. Often times a certificate program is designed for professionals who want to change careers or for those who want to gain additional skill sets that will set them up for a promotion or specialization in their field. A diploma program generally covers a broader scope in a field of study. Depending on the school, diploma program credits may transfer toward an associateís or bachelorís degree program if and when the student chooses to return to school to advance their career.

Diploma programs typically require applicants to hold a high schools diploma or its equivalent for admission to programs. Certificate programs often donít have this requirement. This brings up a very important point to consider regarding higher education. According to the BLS and college.gov (a division of the U.S. Department of Education), individuals with a high school diploma earn about $5,000 to $7,000 less per year than individuals with a diploma or related credential. A more tangible example of earnings would be that it takes a high school graduate with no higher education about 3 to 4 months to save enough money for a new laptop, but it may only take a college graduate about 1 to 2 months to save for a new laptop. [Find schools offering Health Care related Diploma and Certificate programs]

What type of jobs can I try to pursue with a health care related certificate or diploma?

What jobs are out there for someone who has completed a diploma or certificate program? Some common entry-level careers found after completion of a certificate program include Certified Nursing Assistant or Certified Nurse Aide, X-Ray Technician, Dental Assistant, Medical Assistant, Medical Administrative Assistant, Medical Billing Specialist, Medical Coding Specialist, Patient Care Technician, Home Health Aide, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy Technician, massage therapy.

One must realize that these days there is no guarantee that any type of education can get you a job. However, any education above the high school/GED credential doesn'tít hurt your chances. A diploma or certificate program and the quick career preparation they offer may be just the answer youíre looking for. Explore careers within the health care pathways for this level of education.


Health Care Careers for those with a certificate or diploma

Careers Health Care Pathway Certification / Licensure Requirements
Anesthesia Technician / Technologist Direct Patient Care Certification is offered through the ASATT. Not required, but recommended by many employers.
Certified Nursing Asst (CNA) Direct Patient Care Certification exams given by CCI and ARDMS (required by most employers).
Dental Assistant Direct Patient Care Certification exam given by the DANB. Must complete accredited program or have two years experience to sit for exam.
Dental Laboratory Technician Imaging and Diagnostics First step is recognized graduate status (RG). Certification is voluntary, but required by some employers.
EKG Technician Imaging & Diagnostics Certification not required. Cert Exam is often given upon completion of program. (voluntary certification)
EMT / Paramedic Direct Patient Care Certification offered by NREMT (5 different levels). Licensure is required (varies by state).
Hemodialysis Technician Direct Patient Care Certification offered by BONENT. Must be renewed every four years.
Hospital Maintenance Engineer Health Care Facility Support Various levels of licensure available dependant upon responsibilities.
Licensed Practical Nurse Direct Patient Care Licensure is required
Medical Administrative Asst Health Informatics (Business) NHA offers certification as a CMAA, CEHRS, or a CBCS. All are voluntary.
Medical Assistant Direct Patient Care Certified Medial Assistant and Registered Medical Assistant exams are given by the AAMA. (not required)
Medical Biller and Coder Health Informatics (Business) Three levels of certification offered by the AAPC and the AHIMA. The AMBA also offers certification.
Medical Lab Technician Imaging & Diagnostics Voluntary certification is possible through the ASCP. Licensure requirements vary by state.
Medical Secretary Health Informatics (Business) Certification is available though not required.
Medical Transcriptionist Health Informatics (Business) Two levels of certification are offered by the AHDI: RMT or CMT. Not required.
MRI Technologist Imaging & Diagnostics Voluntary certification is possible through the ASCP. Licensure requirements vary by state.
Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Direct Patient Care Voluntary certification is possible through the JJCAHPO. Licensure is not required.
Personal Trainer Direct Patient Care Voluntary ACE certification
Pharmacy Technician Direct Patient Care Certification available but not required.
Phlebotomist Imaging & Diagnostics Certification available and often required by employers.
Psychiatric Technician Direct Patient Care Psychiatric technicians in most states can be certified through the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians. There are 4 levels of certification
Radiology Technician Imaging & Diagnostics Certification by the AART is voluntary, but often required by employers. Licensure may be required for technologists.
Registered Nurse Direct Patient Care Very few hospital diploma programs still offered. Must take and pass the NCLEX-RN certification exam.

Discover how you can satisfy the educational requirements of these careers by contacting schools that offer diploma and certificate programs in your geographic region or online.

If you haven't come across a career that you are looking for, you may be interested in researching additional health care careers that fall under the five health care pathways, many of which require varying degrees of education and experience.

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