11 Certifications To Expand Your Skill Set

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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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Tera Rowland
Contributor Tera Rowland

Tera Rowland is the vice president of Soliant and has worked in the healthcare staffing industry for almost 20 years in public relations, social media, marketing and operations. In addition to Soliant, Tera worked at the Mayo Clinic as an internal communication manager and for the Children’s Miracle Network. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and the American Staffing Association. Also, Tera has served on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum as part of the communication committee. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations as well as a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Florida and has been published in the Huffington Post, Healthcare Finance News, Healthcare Traveler Magazine, and Scrubs Magazine. Make sure to read the rest of Tera's blogs!