Reasons for Certifications
Professional certifications have many benefits. They enhance your resume, boost your status in an organization, show commitment, increase knowledge, and look impressive on a business card. Individuals at the genesis of their health administration career might gain a competitive advantage as employers review your qualifications. Think of the job market as an individual sport – someone wins, and someone loses when there is only one job opening. However, your credentials are just one component in the vetting process for prospective hires. Most employers want to receive your grades, experience, and other qualifications electronically in today’s job world. Gone are the days of applying in person.
Certifications may bring a higher salary, promotion, or both. The company or organization might specify that a particular certificate will result in a pay increase. A 2016 article in Business Wire reported that 77% of respondents from a 400,000 user base had a salary increase after completing a professional certification. In the same survey, 65% believed the credential would lead to a promotion.
As mentioned above, adding the initials of a recognized certification to a business card adds credibility and prestige. Whether the recipient of your card knows what the initials mean is immaterial. For example, you engage a realtor for a single-family home or condominium. She hands you her card with the initials CRS, CPM, RENE, or MRP after her name. Few would bother to check on what these are, but it looks impressive. Perhaps your confidence in the realtor elevates. Here is what these certifications are:
- CRS: Certified Residential Specialist
- CPM: Certified Property Manager
- RENE: Real Estate Negotiation Expert
- MRP: Military Relocation Professional
What about Health Administration and Management?
FACHE (Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives)
The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) awards this benchmark; recipients demonstrate their knowledge of healthcare management and leadership skills. Unfortunately, this one is not for candidates new to the business of healthcare because there are stringent requirements to meet:
- ACHE membership
- Complete a master’s degree: Master of Health Administration (MHA) or related discipline
- Currently employed in an executive position in healthcare and have five years of experience
- Two references
- Complete 36+ hours of continuing education in healthcare administration
- Complete four volunteer activities within three years
- Register and pass the FACHE exam
CMM (Certified Medical Manager)
Offered by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM), it requires two years of experience and twelve college credit hours in healthcare or business management. The CMM examination tests your knowledge in eighteen areas of medical practice management. Those responsible for the administration of physicians’ offices will benefit from the nationally recognized certification.
CHFP (Certified Healthcare Financial Professional)
This designation is one of the few not requiring experience. Not just for individuals working in healthcare finance, hospital administrators, clinic managers, diagnostic supervisors, nurses, and entry-level healthcare managers are candidates for the CHFP. There are two modules, one on Business Health Care and another (Module II) on Operational Excellence. It is one of the few certifications that student members may register for and take the exams. However, students do not earn the designation until they reach the Professional or Business Partner member level.
CRCS (Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist)
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) offers this certification, with no experience required, although it recommends a year for the exam purpose. The CRCS is a specialized designation for those working in collections, account resolution, patient access, and customer service. Considering the diverse administrative roles, additional knowledge in these areas would be favorable to your career.
The AAHAM encourages students with at least 12 credit hours per semester to join for free. Full and part-time (6-11 hours per semester) students receive all the benefits, except voting and professional certifications eligibility.
As stated above, one of the essential qualities employers look for in a candidate is their knowledge of the business. Despite limited certifications for students and inexperienced graduates, organizations afford a wealth of information. One place is healthmanagementcareers.org, which supplies career information about healthcare management for high school and college students. The site explains the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health administration and where to find a job in this field. There are also networking opportunities.
ACHE, highlighted above, is another organization to network and expand your knowledge in healthcare administration. Membership eligibility requires at least a bachelor’s degree to join an organization supported by over 48,000 healthcare professionals. Some of the benefits include career planning, continuing education programs, local chapter activities, and their Healthcare Executive magazine.
Students enrolled in a healthcare administration program may be eligible to be a Student Associate. With this membership, you receive the same publications as referenced above, plus webinars, self-study courses, Student Associate Newsletter, and scholarships.