CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 01, 2016
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How Getting Certified Can Help Your Medical Career

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Getting a certification can do wonders for your medical career. But, it is important to get the right certification. Check out the options available! 

This article is brought to you by United Medical Education which is building community awareness regarding ACLS online training and the importance of emergency medical education.

To get a certificate, or not to get a certificate? That is the question. Considering that competition in the job market is more fierce than ever, the obvious answer is yes; the right occupational certificate can help you stand out and make you a more desirable candidate.

Are Certificates Worth It

The main reason you should do this is to improve your job prospects. A study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that any occupational certificates obtained after getting your high school graduate diploma only improve your career trajectory as they provide you with an invaluable source of knowledge and experience related to your chosen field.

Findings from the same study confirmed that people who have an occupational certificate enjoy higher wages and increased job prospects. This is especially true for people who have certificates directly related to their field of work. According to study, “To reap the benefits of a certificate, people typically must work in an occupation related to the award.”

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According to a CEW report, people who work in the same field in which they earned their certificate typically earn 37 percent more than workers with just a high school diploma and almost as much as workers with an associate’s degree. But, “those who work in an occupation that is unrelated to their certificate earn about the same as workers whose highest level of education is a high school diploma.” So, while certificates are valuable and can help your career; they are only helpful if you work in a field related to your certificate.

In fact, healthcare workers are often required to have certificates to even be considered for a position. More than half of certificates awarded in 2010-11 were for healthcare professions. This is probably due to the need to have highly trained people in this sector and the disaster that could occur if the employees were not qualified.

But, getting an occupational certificate is not always the right decision. Many professions don't require a certificate. A lot of schools offer programs in accounting, early childhood education, human resources management, marketing or paralegal studies, but research from O*NET data shows that only small number of professionals working in these fields have certificates. The vast majority of people in these areas have bachelor degrees, often in unrelated disciplines. So, if it is not required or the wages are too low, getting a certificate is not the right choice.

It’s important to note that occupational certificates are different to professional licenses and certifications. Certificates are awarded by schools and show that an individual has completed an academic course.  On the other hand, certifications are usually awarded by professional organisations. They typically involve assessments and documentation of experience to show that you have a gained a degree of competency in your field. Professional licenses, however, are usually granted by the government and are a legal requirement for some jobs such as health care professionals (medical doctors, nurses), psychologists and lawyers.

Most medical professionals that require people to have certificates such as emergency medical technicians, paramedics, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses and medical assistants also need to obtain the BLS, ACLS and PALS certifications to practice.

What Certifications Do You Need?

If you are planning to become a medical professional, it is worth taking a look at what these three certifications can offer you.

BLS Certification:

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The BLS certification is a basic requirement for all healthcare workers. Having this certification is a prerequisite for all other medical certifications. It is an algorithm designed to keep the airway clear and blood flowing. It involves:

  1. Early recognition of the emergency and activation of emergency medical services.
  2. Early bystander CPR, so as not to delay treatment until the arrival of EMS.
  3. Early use of a defibrillator.
  4. Early advanced life support and post-resuscitation care.

ACLS Certification:

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The ACLS certification (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) describes a set of clinical algorithms used for the treatment of life-threatening cardiovascular conditions that were originally published in 1974 by the American Heart Association. Today these include Cardiac Arrest Algorithm, Acute Coronary Syndromes Algorithm, PEA/Asystole Algorithm, VF/Pulseless VT Algorithm, Bradycardia Algorithm, Tachycardia Algorithms and Suspected Stroke Algorithm.

It can only be utilized by advanced medical professionals and requires extensive training and experience. So, most serious medical professionals, especially the ones mentioned above, should become ACLS certified. Obtaining an ACLS certification, means that you can:

  1. Recognize the patient’s condition and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment.
  2. Demonstrate abilities relating to chest compression and can use the automated external defibrillator.
  3. Recognize respiratory arrest and can manage it.
  4. Manage cardiac conditions in a professional way.

Take initiatives to manage acute coronary syndromes

PALS Certification:

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The PALS certification (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) uses a series of simulated pediatric emergencies to reinforce the important concepts of a systematic approach to pediatric assessment, basic life support, PALS treatment algorithms, effective resuscitation and team dynamics. The goal of the PALS Course is to improve the quality of care provided to critically ill or injured children, resulting in improved outcomes.

Similarly to the ACLS it is a much more difficult course than the BLS and requires experience and a lot of preparation. It is important to note that PALS is only useful if you are interested in working with children. But, once you have it, you will be a much more marketable and desirable candidate.

There are different costs for these three certificates depending on the provider, though the United Medical Education offers online training courses that can help you get certified in as little as 60 minutes. Check each one out to see if it is what you need.

Before you decide on a medical profession or any other industry, it is worth taking a look at the options available. An occupational certificate offers great benefits including better job prospects, expert knowledge in your field of study and better financial rewards.

But, unless you use the certificate in a related field it can be a waste of money. You should always think carefully about whether it is necessary. And if you require certification or licensure afterward; what you need in order to practice. There is no point in wasting money on unnecessary certifications, certificates or licenses.

United Medical Education is the official provider of online ACLS, PALS, and BLS certification. They provide comprehensive training both nationally and internationally to medical professionals and lay people needing to learn life saving emergency medical techniques.

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