A shortage of trained/certified individuals to support the ever-expanding healthcare industry has led to unique career opportunities.
These are well-paying and achievable careers with quick medical certification programs within three/six months (or less) without a college degree or years of experience.
This article introduces healthcare certification programs (online/offline) that need only a high school diploma (or equivalent) education to qualify and embark on rewarding and easy medical jobs upon completion.
1. Pharmacy Technician (PhT)
Duration: 25 weeks to a few months, depending on the type of PhT program. Courses are online, offline, or hybrid and include a 160-hour externship.
Duties: Working under the direct supervision of pharmacists in any healthcare setup/store in labeling medicines, inventory management, processing insurance forms, responding to calls/in-person queries, selling/discarding medications according to legal requirements, etc.
Certification: National certification/license through The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). You must be a registered pharmacy technician to practice in states requiring a license to work unless you have a national certification.
You may become a pharmacist with further education later.
Earnings: $18.12/per hour
2. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Duration: Short-term courses from four/six weeks to 6-months depending on the program (state endorsed/private), and may include an internship with clinical setups.
Duties: Perform patient-care tasks under the supervision of licensed nurses in outpatient/in-patient settings. Tasks like comforting patients, assisting them with daily activities, exercises/ movement (if bed-ridden), measuring and updating vital signs in patient records, taking patients’ histories, knowledge of emergency procedures, CPR, etc.
Certification: It is mandatory to complete the required hours and type (clinical/laboratory, with/without supervision, etc.) of practical training as per state mandates to qualify for their certification exam. State-wise exams and requirements vary.
Verify your state’s requirements and select a program that accelerates certification.
Earnings: $16.90/per hour
3. Medical Assistant (MA)
Duration: There are short-term courses from five days/six weeks to 3 months covering each topic so you can start earning after completing the first module, while you complete other modules.
Duties: Performing routine clinical tasks under the supervision of delegating practitioners (like taking patient history interviews, checking vital signs, preparing patients for examinations, administering non-intravenous injections/medications, collecting/examining blood samples, updating patient records, etc.) in outpatient/in-patient settings.
They may perform clerical tasks like (patient admissions/discharges, billing, filling insurance forms, booking appointments, etc.) without supervision.
Certification: Most states do not require certification of MAs to work. However, registration and certification improve career scope.
Earnings: $18.40/per hour
4. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
Duration: Six months
You need to have a CPR certification to apply for these courses. EMT training includes 120 hours of supervised training.
Duties: Responding to emergency calls, providing immediate treatments (like CPR, treating wounds, administering oxygen, comforting patients, minimizing blood loss/pain, etc.) before/while moving patients to hospitals.
EMTs may work in hospitals, drive ambulances, work with police/fire brigade officers, or visit calamity sites to treat casualties and inform hospitals about the expected patient inflow/further treatment readiness.
Certification: State-wise requirements vary. However, most states require EMTs to pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exams after training.
Verify if your state requires passing an additional exam to certify.
Earnings: $17.64/per hour
Duration: 4 – 12 months according to the programs (diploma, certificate, degree, part-time, full-time, etc.) and the institutes. Some offer short-term courses on Medical Billing from 5 to 14 weeks.
Duties: To capture all services provided to the patients in standard clinical codes for billing and insurance purposes with high accuracy using dedicated software programs, coordinate with healthcare providers and insurance companies for any clarifications/queries/issues, etc.
Medical coders can work in hospitals, clinics, outpatient settings, or work from home for multiple medical facilities. They may work night shifts/weekends.
Certification: There are various certifications like Certified Professional Code (CPC), Certified Medical Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS), Certified Coding Associate (CCA), etc.
Candidates can apply for jobs after training. Certification improves employability and earnings.
Earnings: $22.43/per hour
6. Dental Assistant
Duration: There are programs from 8/10 weeks to 9 months. Training includes a supervised dentist practicum in clinics.
Duties: Perform clerical tasks (like taking patient histories, responding to calls, booking appointments, maintaining patient records, giving post-treatment instructions, follow-ups, insurance claims, etc.).
Cleaning dental equipment, preparing patients and rooms for treatment, assisting dentists with X-rays and treatments, handing/holding tools during treatment, etc.
Certification: Certification is not needed for entry-level jobs but improves earnings/career growth. Only Registered Dental Assistants (RDNs) can take X-rays in some states. Of the various certifications, Certified Dentist Assistant (CDA) and COA (Certified Orthodontic Assistant) are widely accepted national and degree certifications.
Earnings: $21.55/per hour
7. Anesthesia Technician/Technologist (AT)
Duration: One to two-year programs from approved/other institutes, including practical training.
Duties: Check and calibrate anesthesia equipment pre-surgery to ensure it functions well. Assist anesthesiologists during surgery, monitor patients under anesthesia and equipment during the surgeries, and manage repair/maintenance of anesthesia equipment.
Certification: The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) no longer offers the Certified Anesthesia Technician (Cer. A.T) certification.
The certified Anesthesia Technologist (Cer. A.T.T) exam is available after two-year training from an approved AT program.
Entry-level jobs as ATs are available without certification, but most require certification.
Earnings: $29.36/per hour
8. Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT)
Duration: Short-term CPT courses varying from six weeks to one year (certification/diploma). All programs include an externship.
Duties: Comforting patients who are worried, allergic, or sensitive to blood draws, explaining the procedure to them, taking blood samples as per their physician’s instructions, labeling and preserving them correctly for testing, coordinating with patients’ doctors (if need be), monitoring patients during and after taking samples/blood transfusions.
In large setups, experienced phlebotomists may manage teams of phlebotomists.
Certification: There are various national certifications by American Medical Technicians (AMT), National Healthcareer Association (NHA), National Phlebotomy Association (NPA), etc.
State-wise regulations to work without certifications vary, but most require formal training completion or demonstrated competency through on-the-job training.
Check your state regulations, as some States mandate completing accredited programs to work.
Earnings: $18.53/per hour
9. Behavior Technician Specialist
Duration: 12 weeks to 6 months with/without practical training, depending on the program and institute. All programs provide mandatory 40-hour training required for certification. Classes may be online/offline.
Duties: To work under Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) in helping people with behavioral challenges (like autistic children, developmentally challenged adults, etc.) by understanding and analyzing their behaviors, designing and implementing plans to help them learn problem-solving, social and life skills, provide counseling, guidance, etc. to minimize their challenges within legal, ethical, human, and cultural boundaries.
Behavioral Technicians may work in schools, 1-2-1 at home or clinical setups.
Certification: Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) certification exam accredited by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).
Few employers hire candidates and train them to get certified, while others employ RBT.
Earnings: $17.97/per hour
10. Sterile Processing Technician
Duration: 10 weeks onwards, with/without an internship, online, offline, hybrid, etc., from various institutes.
Duties: To sterilize all reusable medical equipment using modern techniques in surgical environments, coordinate with the medical teams to ensure the required equipment are available for surgery on time, allocate resources between multiple surgical rooms, schedule repair/maintenance of equipment without impacting surgeries, identify pathogens in healthcare facilities and devise ways to eliminate them, etc.
Certification: Most states do not mandate certification for Sterile Processing Technicians. They can work after completing a training program. However, certification is the key to improving career prospects.
Candidates must complete the required work experience criteria to qualify for a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification exam offered by the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) or the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM).
Earnings: $19.94/per hour
Please note that all potential earnings are median pay as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The actual earnings will increase with certification and experience. Earnings may vary state-wise.
We hope this information on quick medical certifications that pay well and provide the best entry-level medical jobs assists you in making an apt career choice. Feel free to ask queries, if any.
All the best for your future career!