Top 11 Patient Care Assistant Certifications
This article provides an overview of the best certifications available for patient care assistants, including details on requirements and benefits.
Published 16 min read
Certifications are an important part of the job market for patient care assistants, as they demonstrate a level of competency and professionalism that employers look for. They also help to ensure that patient care assistants have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality care. Certifications help prove to potential employers that the individual is knowledgeable about their particular field and can be trusted to provide safe and effective care. Additionally, certifications can open up opportunities for career advancement, as they can demonstrate a commitment to excellence in one's profession. Finally, certifications may also increase salary expectations due to the increased value they bring to a prospective employer.
The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Patient Care Assistants and explain how they can contribute to a patient care assistant's career growth.
What are Patient Care Assistant Certifications?
Patient Care Assistant Certification is a credential that acknowledges the knowledge and skills of individuals who assist with providing care to patients in various healthcare settings. This certification is designed to help those in the field of patient care demonstrate their expertise and commitment to quality patient care.
The certification validates an individual’s knowledge, experience and proficiency in areas such as patient safety, infection control, communication, medication administration, procedures, documentation and more. It also provides employers with assurance that their employees are knowledgeable in the specific areas needed for patient care.
By obtaining this certification, individuals can enhance their employability and career advancement opportunities. The credential demonstrates a commitment to professional development and mastery of essential skills. Additionally, it may qualify them for higher salaries or promotions within their current organization or when applying for new positions. In addition to these benefits, having this certification may help individuals stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs or gaining entry into medical school programs.
Pro Tip: Take your time when researching and selecting a patient care assistant certification program. Make sure to read through the program requirements and look for any additional certifications or credentials that may be required. Additionally, check to see if the program is accredited by an appropriate accreditation body in order to ensure that your certification will be recognized by employers.
Related: What does a Patient Care Assistant do?
Top 11 Patient Care Assistant Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Patient Care Assistants today.
1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse. A CNA provides basic patient care, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding patients. They also help with activities of daily living, like transferring patients from their beds to wheelchairs and assisting them with walking.
It typically takes 6-12 weeks to complete a CNA program and become certified. In order to get certified, you must successfully complete an approved CNA program that includes both classroom instruction and clinical experience. You must also take and pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam administered by Pearson VUE.
The cost of becoming a CNA varies depending on the state you live in and the school you attend. Generally speaking, tuition for a CNA program can range anywhere from $500-$2,000. Additional costs may include books and supplies, background checks, drug screens, physical exams, uniforms and other fees associated with the program.
2. Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
A Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a physician or other healthcare provider. They are responsible for providing administrative and clinical support to ensure the smooth running of medical offices, clinics, and other health care facilities.
It typically takes between 6-12 months to become a Certified Medical Assistant. To become certified, individuals must complete an accredited medical assistant program and pass the national certification exam administered by either the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).
The cost of becoming a CMA varies depending on the type of program chosen. Generally, tuition costs range from $2,000-$10,000. In addition to tuition fees, students may also need to pay for books and supplies as well as any additional fees associated with taking the certification exam.
Once certified, CMAs may be required to maintain their certification by completing continuing education courses every two years in order to stay up-to-date on best practices and new developments in their field.
3. Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT)
Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT) is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and skills in patient care. The CPCT certification is offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
To become certified, individuals must pass an exam that covers topics such as patient assessment, vital signs, medical terminology, infection control and safety practices, medication administration, and other related topics. The exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete.
The cost of the exam varies depending on the location of the testing center. Generally, it costs around $125 for the exam fee plus any applicable taxes or fees. In addition to the fee for taking the exam, there may also be additional fees for study materials or online practice tests.
Individuals who successfully pass the CPCT exam will receive a certificate from NHA validating their status as a Certified Patient Care Technician. This certificate is valid for three years and can be renewed by completing continuing education credits or retaking the CPCT exam.
4. Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT)
A Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) is a medical professional who is trained and certified to draw blood from patients for laboratory testing. This technician must be able to perform the collection of blood samples from patients in a safe, accurate, and timely manner.
To become a CPT, you must complete an accredited phlebotomy training program. These programs can range from 6 months to 1 year and may include classroom instruction as well as hands-on experience. After completing the program, you will need to take an exam administered by either the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) or the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Passing this exam will earn you your CPT certification.
The cost of becoming a CPT varies depending on which type of program you choose. Generally speaking, tuition fees range from $500-$2,000. In addition to tuition costs, there are also fees associated with taking the certification exam which range from $100-$200 depending on which organization administers it.
Overall, becoming a Certified Phlebotomy Technician requires dedication and hard work but can be very rewarding as it opens up many job opportunities in the healthcare field.
5. Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) is a professional designation for medical assistants who have successfully completed the certification exam offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT). The RMA credential is recognized as a national standard of excellence for medical assistants.
It typically takes about 6-12 months to prepare for and pass the RMA exam. To become an RMA, you must first complete an accredited medical assistant program or have at least five years of full-time work experience in a healthcare setting. After completing your program or gaining the required experience, you can apply to take the AMT certification exam.
The cost of the RMA exam varies depending on where you take it and how you register. Generally, it costs around $125 to register for the exam, plus any additional fees associated with taking it at a testing center.
Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your official certificate and be able to use the title Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). This credential will allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills as a medical assistant and may help increase your job opportunities in this field.
6. Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
A Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) is a professional medical assistant who has earned a certification from a recognized accrediting body. The CCMA certification is designed to demonstrate that the individual has acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to work as a medical assistant in a clinical setting.
The CCMA exam is administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). To become certified, an individual must pass the exam with at least 70% accuracy. The exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as patient care, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, laboratory procedures, pharmacology, and medical office administration.
The cost of the exam varies depending on the testing center but typically ranges from $125-$175. The exam can be taken at any approved NHA testing center throughout the United States. It typically takes about three hours to complete the exam.
Once an individual passes the CCMA certification exam, they will receive their official certification card and certificate within two weeks of passing. The certification must be renewed every two years by taking continuing education courses or retaking the CCMA exam.
7. Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA)
Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA) is a professional designation for individuals who are trained to provide basic care and support services to elderly, disabled, or ill individuals in their own homes. CHHAs are typically employed by home health agencies, nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.
To become a Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA), you must complete an approved training program that includes both classroom instruction and clinical experience. The length of the program varies depending on the state in which you live; however, most programs require at least 75 hours of instruction and supervised practice.
In order to obtain certification as a CHHA, you must pass an exam administered by your state’s Department of Health or other licensing agency. After passing the exam, you will receive your certification card which will allow you to work as a CHHA in that particular state.
The cost of becoming certified as a CHHA can vary depending on the state in which you live and the specific training program that you choose. Generally speaking, most programs will cost between $500-$1,000 for tuition and fees.
8. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is a healthcare professional who responds to medical emergencies and provides pre-hospital care. EMTs are trained to assess the condition of patients, provide basic life support, and transport them to a hospital or other medical facility for further treatment.
The length of time it takes to become an EMT varies by state and program. Generally, it takes about 6 months to complete an EMT certification program, which includes classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Additional training may be required for those who wish to specialize in a particular area such as wilderness medicine or tactical medicine.
To become an EMT, you must complete an accredited program that meets the standards set by your state’s department of health. After completing the program, you will need to pass both written and practical exams before becoming certified. You will also need to maintain your certification by taking continuing education courses every two years.
The cost of becoming an EMT varies depending on the type of program you choose and where you live. Generally, tuition costs range from $500-$2,000 or more depending on the length and type of program. Additional costs may include books, supplies, uniforms, background checks, drug tests, CPR certification fees, and licensing fees.
9. Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is an advanced, evidence-based medical training course designed to teach healthcare professionals the skills and knowledge they need to manage a wide range of life-threatening cardiac and respiratory emergencies. The ACLS course focuses on the recognition and immediate treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, acute coronary syndromes, stroke, and other cardiopulmonary emergencies.
The ACLS course typically takes two days to complete. The first day is devoted to lectures and interactive case studies while the second day includes hands-on practice with simulated patients in a controlled environment. During the course, participants will learn how to recognize life-threatening arrhythmias, initiate basic and advanced life support measures, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), administer medications, perform CPR, use automated external defibrillators (AEDs), operate airway devices such as bag-valve masks (BVMs), and recognize signs of stroke.
To get ACLS certified, individuals must take an approved provider course from an accredited organization such as the American Heart Association or American Red Cross. The cost of ACLS certification courses varies depending on location but generally ranges from $200-$500 USD per person.
10. Basic Life Support (BLS)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is a set of emergency medical procedures used to provide immediate care for someone who has stopped breathing or has no pulse. BLS includes CPR, chest compressions, and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator). It is designed to keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until advanced medical help arrives.
It can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more to get BLS certification, depending on the program you choose. Many organizations offer online courses that can be completed in a few hours. There are also in-person classes available at many local hospitals, fire departments, and community centers. The cost of BLS certification varies depending on the program you choose, but typically ranges from $50-$100.
In order to become certified in BLS, you must pass a written exam as well as demonstrate proficiency in performing CPR and using an AED on mannequins. You should also be familiar with basic anatomy and physiology, airway management techniques, and other emergency medical procedures such as controlling bleeding or recognizing signs of shock.
11. Gerontology Certification for Patient Care Assistants
Gerontology Certification for Patient Care Assistants is a specialized certification that recognizes the knowledge and skills of patient care assistants who provide direct care to older adults. It is designed to improve the quality of care for seniors by recognizing those patient care assistants who demonstrate competence in gerontological nursing principles, practices, and procedures.
The certification process typically takes about two months to complete. To become certified, an individual must first pass a written examination that covers topics such as gerontological nursing principles, practices, and procedures; communication with older adults; and ethical considerations in providing care. After passing the exam, the individual must submit a completed application form along with proof of completion of at least one year of experience in providing direct patient care to older adults.
The cost of obtaining Gerontology Certification for Patient Care Assistants varies depending on the organization offering it. Generally speaking, it can range from $100-$500.
Do You Really Need a Patient Care Assistant Certificate?
The answer to this question depends on the individual's career goals and personal preference. If an individual is looking to become a certified patient care assistant, then they will need to obtain a certificate. This certification is offered by many educational institutions, such as community colleges and technical schools, and requires that the student complete a specific program of study.
On the other hand, if an individual wants to work in a patient care setting without obtaining formal certification, they may be able to do so without completing a certificate program. Many employers are willing to hire someone with relevant experience in the field or with knowledge of medical terminology and procedures. However, those who want to pursue more advanced roles in patient care may find that having a certificate can help them stand out from the competition.
Ultimately, whether or not an individual needs a patient care assistant certificate is up to them. It is important for potential applicants to carefully weigh their options and decide which path best suits their goals and interests.
Related: Patient Care Assistant Resume Examples
FAQs About Patient Care Assistant Certifications
1. What qualifications do I need to become a Patient Care Assistant?
Answer: Most employers require that you have a high school diploma or GED and some form of healthcare training such as CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) or HHA (Home Health Aide) certification.
2. Are there any prerequisites for Patient Care Assistant Certification?
Answer: Yes, most certifications require that you have completed an accredited program in patient care assistant training, and have at least one year of experience working in the field.
3. How long does it take to obtain a Patient Care Assistant Certification?
Answer: It typically takes between 6 months to a year to complete the training and receive your certification.
4. How much does a Patient Care Assistant Certification cost?
Answer: The cost of certification varies depending on the program and provider, but typically ranges from $500-$1000 USD.
5. What are the benefits of being certified as a Patient Care Assistant?
Answer: Being certified as a Patient Care Assistant can open doors to better job opportunities, higher salaries, and increased respect from colleagues and clients alike. It also serves as proof that you are knowledgeable in the field and are committed to providing quality care for patients.