11 Certifications To Expand Your Skill Set

by Tera Tuten on September 15, 2010

Whether you’re a doctor looking to change specialties, a nurse looking to re-train, or a med-school student who just decided they want to open up a camping store rather than start practicing medicine (wait…that was actually an episode of The Cosby Show)…

Studying Student…Seriously, let’s say you’re a med-school student and decide at the last minute that you want to do something other than what you were trained for, or want to add a new skill set to your tool belt for a backup career, a new CV feature, or just to expand your horizons…

Whether you’re looking for a full-time change-of-pace or a minor side project, here below are 11 medical certifications you may not have thought of:

Certifications for all

Asthma educator
As breathing ailments become ever-more prevalent, so does the need for qualified, dedicated professionals trained in asthma-management techniques and treatments. Though promotion of such expertise is still in its infancy, there is a desperate need for full and part-time go-to consultants in this field.
http://www.naecb.org/documents/NAECB_hndbk_09.pdf

Medical Teaching Certification

Teaching
Teaching in a variety of settings can be a natural part of a physician’s career at a teaching hospital or in med-school. But specific courses and certifications can make you marketable in far more diverse arenas, such as this course aimed at training medical professionals to develop simulation-based teaching techniques http://www.mayo.edu/cme/quality-2009r892-2

Medical journalist/writer
Not interested in practicing medicine but still want to make a difference in the medical world? Why not consider becoming a medical writer? Depending on your previous job, remuneration as a writer may range from a slight pay cut to a laughable income (unless you snag a lucrative book deal or supplement your income on the speaking circuit.) But the rewards and fulfillment make this a much sought-after full-time career re-direct or an exciting second-job on-the-side.

Formal medical and/or science journalism degree programs of note include those at UNC http://jomc.unc.edu/medicaljournalism, Boston University http://www.bu.edu/com/academics/journalism/science-journalism/ and the
Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT http://web.mit.edu/knight-science/

Medical Nutritionist Certification

Nutritionist
Whether you’ve got a nursing background, a PhD, or other medical training, certification in nutrition can be a high-reward, low-stress career or specialty.
http://www.nutrition.org/education-and-professional-development/medical-professional-development/

Certifications for doctors

Chiropractic Certification

Chiropractic
Long lumped into the field of alternative medicine (with acupuncture, reiki and the like) doctors of chiropractic are finally gaining the respect of their medical peers. Undergoing basic training or a full degree in this growing field can be a rewarding change of focus and perspective (if nothing else, your colleagues in other professions will find a new respect for your training in this area the next time they throw their back out.)
http://www.acatoday.org/

Become a researcher
Sick of dealing with people (or, at least patients?) Apply your medical experience to the world of academic research and continue to make a difference (maybe on an even larger scale.) Here’s a look at a recent symposium series that aims to encourage young and emerging multidisciplinary medical researchers:
http://www.mayo.edu/cme/research-2010r852

Join Doctors Without borders
Yup, those guys who save lives around the world for $26,000 a year. Even with that meagre stipend (and daily living allowance) many slots to successfully get through the application process to work with these guys still have waiting lists. Check out their application pages to see if your current training is eligible to apply.
http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

Sports Medicine Training

Sports medicine training
Not just for the chance to work with celebrities, certification or a total switch to working in sports medicine can help keep you healthier, as well as your patients.
http://www.mayo.edu/cme/orthopedic-surgery-2010r544
http://www.mayo.edu/cme/physical-medicine-and-rehabilitation-2009r543

Certifications for nurses

Medical coder
Whether a nurse, medical admin staff or other support professional, there is a great need for medical office staff who are certified and up-to-speed on the many hundreds (at least!) of codes and other short forms for conditions, treatments, procedures, and drugs for which there are universal codes.
http://www.aapc.com/certification/
http://www.ahima.org/certification/whygetcertified.aspx
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-get-a-medical-coder-certification.htm

Medical gas technician
Worked as a nurse or anaesthesiologist and want to dive further into the medical gas industry? Why not become a certified technician installing or overseeing the installation or testing of new or upgraded systems.
http://www.praxair.com/praxair.nsf/1928438066cae92d85256a63004b880d/2b915c776ca8c19b85256b8900736867?OpenDocument

Become a nurse midwife
Ever dream of taking over for the doctor for good in the delivery room? Take the bull by the horns and make a difference in one of the fastest-growing professions related to low-risk pregnancy. Working in tandem with medical doctors and facilities, this is a great chance to make a difference and take some of the burden off a very strained mainstream medical system as it pertains to childbirth.
Here are a few of the U.S. schools that offer nurse midwife programs: http://www.ehow.com/list_6326804_nurse-midwife-schools.html

Expanding your skill set is a regular, expected part of any medical professional’s career that’s easy to start doing. Expanding your skill set in ways that will actually lead to exciting and fulfilling future work is a little more challenging.

When pursuing such enrichment, ask yourself not just “what will this do for my career?” but “how will this add to my quality of life?”

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Wanaki McDuffy 10.07.10 at 1:49 pm

I am interested in Geriatrics Pharmacy as a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) with experience of 10+ years. I am seeking certification in asthma, diabetes, and geriatrics fields of study. Please let me soon if there is a certification program for these fields of study.

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Tera Tuten 10.07.10 at 1:57 pm

Hi Wanaki – yes, please see our blog post about geriatric pharmacy: http://blog.soliant.com/pharmacy/geriatric-pharmacy/

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bahar najd 10.13.10 at 7:45 pm

Hi
I would like very much to register for at least 3 of the classes,may i be adviced by you?
I appriciate your time in advance.
thanks
bahar
cell: 202 285 1441

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Mark 10.15.10 at 2:42 pm

Does anyone know of employment opportunities for a certified Behavior Disorder/Autism teacher? Thank you

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Tera Tuten 10.15.10 at 3:07 pm

Hi Bahar – we are unable to register you for the classes, but you can click the links we provided in the article to find more information on how to register.

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Shelley Burkett 10.15.10 at 3:15 pm

Mark, I have jobs for certified Behavior Disorder/Autism teachers. Please contact me at 866.234.2919 or Shelley.Burkett@soliant.com.

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Ron Washburn 10.20.10 at 2:03 pm

Tera,

Loved your blog on certifications; I wanted to mention that we staff in the area of travel medical coders and we are seeing many opportunities for travel coders and travel billers and other travel HIM professionals currently. These travel Health Information positions do require solid experience and certifications but thought you’d like to know there are some great contract opportunities for the HIM professional with the right skill set.

Ron

ron.washburn@soliant.com

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Meagan 11.06.10 at 11:45 am

Everyone above me! I am a medical assistant, not what I planned but somebody has to feed the baby right? I blew through most of the course, it was ridiculously easy and I couln’t to get my hands dirty. I made they highest grade on the certification test, then walked humming. I wait to get started on my clinical hours. 90 hours in, I got a job offer I couldn’t turn down and I rationalized that I would still be able to get clinical hours while working. The Administrators agreed and so did my boss. Four years later I need my certificate and I can;t get it because my hours didn’t count. Sucks right and most likely a total loss of 7k at this point but I’m ready move on. Keeping my level of education in mind (or lack of) does anyone have a reasonible suggestion on which direction I should go?

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Meagan 11.06.10 at 11:48 am

Oh and I am currently working in a chiropractic/ med-ex/ re-hab facility and I am absolutly in love with getting the opportunity to really get to know my patients and thier bodys two to three times a week.

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Cathy Raiser 11.16.10 at 2:14 pm

Megan
Seriously, you need to learn to be more detail oriented. Your language and spelling in your blogs could make an employer (or anyone else) think twice before hiring or advising you.
It appears you typed it in a rush, and gives the impression you don’t care enough to fix your typos. Looks sloppy and unprofessional. If your resume or school applications look anything like this, I guarantee they will go straight to the trash can.
That said, why not consider a degree in Nursing? You can go part-time and get a degree in 2 or 3 years (Associate degree), whilst continuing to work part time. Then, once you are working as an RN, it is pretty easy to do on-line to complete your BSN or even MSN.

C. Raiser NP

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Marty 11.30.10 at 11:51 am

As a Health Promotion and Wellness with 10+ years experience in a medical system, I find jobs few and far between. I would like to re-locate to the Virginia Beach area to be closer to family. That being said, my question is where do I get certification for a tumor registrar. I feel I need to change even tho my experience and education in Health Promotion has been very rewarding, I love it… thank you very much….

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liz 12.11.10 at 1:01 pm

Hello!
I am a LPN looking to continue my education. I am thinking of obtaining a Health Care Mangement Technlogy degree. Can you tell me if this is a lucrative paying field with projected job growth? Inaddittion I am also very intersted in the asthma educator certificate.

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Kathryn 12.17.10 at 8:06 pm

Hi,

I live in Augusta, GA and I have a BA degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and over 14 years experience as an SLPA. I have worked in Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina and a contract job in Georgia. Currently I am working in SC and I have an SLPA license in SC. I have great references, but it is very difficult to find a position as an SLPA near my home. The school systems in Georgia all tell me they do not hire SLPA’s. It has been very difficult to earn a living when it seems all doors are closed. Are there any SLPs who need excellent help out there?

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Jackie Roberts 02.03.11 at 10:36 pm

As a recruiter it is my responsibility to urge healthcare professionals to continue their education. The healthcare industry continues to set high standards and it is important to keep up in a competitive market. It is proven specialty certifications can add value.

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