The healthcare industry is growing rapidly, with a need for more and more qualified people to fill positions.
This means that there are many opportunities for those who want to enter the field, but it can be hard when you don’t know where to start. This article provides some helpful suggestions that hopefully will guide you to begin your path towards becoming an excellent health care professional.
What is a Certificate of Specialization
A Certificate of Specialization is a one-year program that includes at least two electives and the core courses. This program is for those looking to enter healthcare, without having a background in the field. It is designed to provide knowledge of the fundamentals, and for this reason, its main objective is to make sure that students have sufficient knowledge of the basics and can apply them quickly in the field.
Not only will you have all the knowledge about what to do, but also how to do it properly – this is because a Certificate of Specialization includes training on practical skills as well.
For example: If you are going to study Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), you will not only learn about how to administer CPR, but also the right steps to do it properly. While this information can be found in textbooks as well, it is more beneficial for students who are still beginners in healthcare and need a quick overview of what is expected of them. If by any chance you are just looking for ACLS renewal, you are in luck. The Certificate of Specialization includes this course as one of their electives and is open to all medical professionals who would like to renew or learn the latest CPR techniques.
Core Courses Vs Electives
You can choose from a variety of electives. Each program has a unique selection based on its curriculum. One thing to keep in mind here is that there are core courses that fall under the three main areas (Medical, Clinical & Surgical) and some select electives. For example: If your program is for Anesthesia Technology, then your core courses will include topics such as Airway Management, Introduction To Anesthesia, and Procedure Room Equipment, while your select elective options will be things like Cardiology, Patient Assessment, and Responsibilities of a Coder. All of which will add up to the number of credits required for graduation.
In order to graduate with a Certificate of Specialization, you must have at least 150 credits, which can be obtained by taking both core courses and electives.
A National Board Certification is Included
If your program includes an application to become board certified (such as Anesthesiology and Emergency Nursing), you will have the chance to take it during this one-year period. It is not included in the tuition; instead, it is paid separately but completely worth it if you are willing to spend some extra cash on continuing education or upgrading your qualifications!
And what about the cost? Well, since this is a short program, it won’t cost you too much. The average tuition fee per credit for a Certificate of Specialization is around $400 – $700 and the most expensive one that we found was Anesthesia Technology at $1,100. That might not sound like much, but you need to keep in mind that this fee applies only if you are from an out-of-state institution. If you live nearby the college or university where the program takes place, then your tuition might be cheaper!
A Degree Program vs A Certificate Of Specialization
As opposed to a longer Nursing degree program (BSN), which can take between two years and four years to complete, this shorter certificate provides exactly what its name says: a certificate of completion.
If you are not in a rush and looking to acquire more knowledge, a longer degree program might be better for you – remember that the Certificate of Specialization is a bridge between high school (if you have not had any healthcare training or education) and an associate’s degree program or BSN. It provides all the core courses which could prove useful if you are planning to start pursuing your degree at another institution.
At this point, we must say something about those who already have experience in healthcare professions; do they need it? The answer is yes! Even though there might be some overlap with what you already know thanks to past experiences, keep in mind that taking one year off from work and focusing on continuing education is a great opportunity for you to further your career and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in medical technology.
How to apply for the certificate
The certificate programs are not for traditional classes but instead consist of online courses. You can still enroll in the certificate program with a previous degree, but you will need to be accepted by the school for your chosen certificate program. To apply you need to find the appropriate institution and go to its website where you will find some information about their certificate programs. A good thing to do is look for the school’s accreditation, as this can give you a general idea if they are reliable and reputable in the medical field. You also need to know when applications close for each program as well as when interviews take place.
You have to meet certain requirements
Certificate programs require applicants with previous experience or a certain degree in healthcare. The exact requirement varies from institution to institution, but it is best that you consult your preferred one beforehand so that there are no disappointments later on. Thus, checking online reviews is important because they contain crucial information regarding what people thought of a program and how satisfied they were with its outcome.
Alleviate Your Financial Worries
Another thing that we want to mention here is that scholarships are offered from time to time by the university where the program takes place. You might be a candidate if:
- You are already studying at this institution and have good grades in previous classes
- You are transferring from another college or university but have had excellent marks in your past courses/classes
If you think that you qualify for a scholarship, make sure to look into it as this will greatly reduce your expenses.
So what do you think? Weigh the pros and cons wisely; after all, it’s only one year of your life! And remember that it’s better to change careers now than later. If you are already a healthcare professional, do not hesitate to take this opportunity so that you don’t stay behind while your peers are obtaining new degrees or specializations that will help them advance in their fields!
Hopefully, this cleared up some of the questions which were on your mind and now you can start making decisions by taking into account all these factors.