Top 10 Support Worker Certifications
This article provides a comprehensive overview of the most popular and highly recommended certifications for support workers.
Published 16 min read
Certifications are important for support workers in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge and competency that employers look for when hiring. Certifications provide proof of the worker’s qualifications and can give them an edge over other applicants. In addition, certifications show employers that the worker has invested in their professional development and is committed to providing quality care. They also indicate that the worker has taken the time to learn about industry best practices and standards, which can be beneficial when working with vulnerable populations.
The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Support Workers and explain how they can enhance a support worker's career.
What are Support Worker Certifications?
Support worker certification is a formal recognition of an individual's knowledge and skills in providing support services to individuals with special needs. It is designed to ensure that those providing such services have the necessary qualifications and experience to do so effectively and safely. Certification typically involves taking an exam, completing a training program, or demonstrating relevant skills through an assessment process.
Certification can help support workers demonstrate their commitment to their profession and provide assurance to employers and clients that they possess the necessary qualifications for the role. It also serves as evidence of their expertise in their field, which can be beneficial when applying for jobs or advancing in their career. Furthermore, it helps ensure that support workers are up-to-date on industry standards and best practices, enabling them to provide quality care and assistance to those they serve. Finally, certification can help protect both the support worker and the client by ensuring that appropriate safety protocols are in place and followed.
Pro tip: Make sure to research and understand the different types of support worker certifications available in your area before committing to a program. Each certification will have different requirements, so it's important to make sure that you are selecting one that meets your individual needs and goals.
Related: What does a Support Worker do?
Top 10 Support Worker Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Support Workers today.
1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who provides basic care and assistance to patients in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies. CNAs are responsible for providing direct patient care under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse. They may also assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, feeding, and transferring patients.
It typically takes between 4 to 12 weeks to complete the CNA training program. The length of the program will depend on the state you live in and the type of program you choose. There are both online and in-person programs available.
In order to become a CNA, you must complete an approved training program that meets your state’s requirements. You will also need to pass a competency exam in order to be certified. After completing your training program and passing your exam, you will receive your certification from your state’s Board of Nursing.
The cost for CNA training programs varies depending on the type of program you choose and where you live. Generally speaking, most programs range from $500 - $2,000 dollars. Some states offer free or low-cost CNA training programs for those who qualify financially.
2. Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA)
A Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA) is a healthcare professional who provides personal care and assistance to individuals in their homes. CHHAs are typically employed by home health agencies and are responsible for providing basic medical care, such as helping with bathing, dressing, grooming, and meal preparation. They also help with light housekeeping duties and provide companionship to their clients.
It typically takes between four to six weeks to become a Certified Home Health Aide. The process includes completing an approved training program, passing the National Association of Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) exam, and obtaining certification from the state where you plan to work.
The cost of becoming a Certified Home Health Aide varies depending on your state and the type of training program you choose. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $500-$2000 for tuition, books, supplies, and other fees associated with the training program.
In addition to completing an approved training program and passing the NAHC exam, some states may require additional certifications or background checks before allowing you to become a Certified Home Health Aide. You should check with your state's Department of Health for specific requirements in your area.
3. Certified Mental Health Technician (CMHT)
Certified Mental Health Technician (CMHT) is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and skill in the field of mental health. CMHTs are responsible for providing direct care to clients with mental illness, as well as providing support and guidance to families and other caregivers. The certification is offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
It typically takes about three years to become certified as a CMHT. During this time, individuals must complete an accredited training program, pass a national exam, and meet other requirements set forth by the NBCC. The cost of becoming certified varies depending on the program chosen, but generally ranges from $500-$1,000.
In order to become certified as a CMHT, applicants must first complete an accredited training program in mental health technology or related fields such as psychology or social work. After completing the program, applicants must then take and pass the National Mental Health Technician Certification Exam administered by the NBCC. Once these requirements have been met, applicants must submit an application to the NBCC for certification.
The cost of becoming certified as a CMHT varies depending on the specific program chosen and any additional fees associated with it. Generally speaking, most programs range from $500-$1,000 in total costs including tuition fees and examination fees.
4. Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)
A Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) is a professional who has met the qualifications set forth by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). These counselors specialize in helping people with physical, mental, emotional, or social disabilities to live independently and achieve their personal goals.
In order to become a CRC, individuals must have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from an accredited college or university. They must also complete at least two years of supervised clinical experience, pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE), and pass the CRCC's certification exam.
The cost of becoming a CRC varies depending on the individual's educational background and experience. The NCE exam costs $195, while the CRCC certification exam costs $395. In addition, there may be fees associated with obtaining transcripts from previous educational institutions as well as any additional coursework that may be required for certification.
Once all requirements are met, it typically takes between four to six weeks for an individual to receive their CRC certification.
5. Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC)
A Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) is a professional who specializes in helping individuals and families affected by substance abuse. They provide counseling, education, and support to help individuals overcome addiction and lead healthier lives.
To become a CSAC, an individual must complete an accredited program of study that includes coursework in addiction counseling, clinical assessment, and treatment planning. The program must also include supervised clinical experience in the field of substance abuse counseling. After completing the educational requirements, applicants must pass a certification exam administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
The amount of time it takes to obtain a CSAC certification varies depending on the individual's prior education and experience. Most programs require at least two years of full-time study or four years of part-time study to complete all necessary coursework.
In order to become certified as a CSAC, applicants must submit an application with all required documentation including proof of completion of an approved program of study and passing scores from the NBCC exam. The cost for submitting an application is $200 plus any additional fees associated with taking the NBCC exam.
6. Certified Behavioral Health Technician (CBHT)
A Certified Behavioral Health Technician (CBHT) is a professional who specializes in providing mental health services, such as counseling, therapy, and support to individuals with mental health issues. CBHTs are trained to help individuals identify and manage their mental health needs, and provide them with the necessary tools to cope with their condition.
To become a CBHT, one must complete an accredited program of study that consists of at least 180 hours of coursework in topics such as psychology, human behavior, communication skills, and crisis intervention. Upon completion of the program, applicants must pass a certification exam administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
The cost of becoming a CBHT varies depending on the program chosen; however, most programs range from $500 to $2,000. Additionally, applicants may also be required to pay for additional costs such as textbooks and examination fees.
In most cases it takes approximately 6 months to 1 year to complete the necessary requirements and become certified as a CBHT.
7. Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS)
A Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS) is an individual who has been trained to provide emotional support and guidance to individuals living with mental health challenges, substance use disorders, or other life issues. The CPSS works in partnership with the individual to help them develop skills and strategies for managing their mental health symptoms, as well as providing support for their recovery journey.
The certification process typically takes six months to a year to complete. To become a CPSS, an individual must first complete an approved training program from a recognized certifying body. The training program typically consists of classroom instruction, supervised field experience, and passing a written exam. After completing the training program, the individual must pass a background check and obtain licensure in order to become certified.
The cost of becoming a CPSS varies depending on the certifying body and the type of training program chosen. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$2,000 for the entire certification process.
8. Certified Activity Therapist (CAT)
A Certified Activity Therapist (CAT) is a mental health professional who specializes in the use of leisure, recreation, and other activities to assist individuals in achieving their therapeutic goals. They are certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).
The certification process typically takes about six months to complete. To become a CAT, an individual must have at least a bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation or a related field, such as psychology or social work. In addition, they must have completed at least 600 hours of supervised clinical experience and passed the NCTRC exam.
In order to become certified, individuals must first apply for certification through the NCTRC website. The application fee is currently $75 and there is an additional fee of $225 for the exam. Once approved, individuals can then register for the exam which consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and takes three hours to complete.
Once individuals pass the exam and receive their certification, they must maintain it by completing continuing education credits every two years. The cost of continuing education varies depending on the type of program chosen but typically ranges from $50 - $200 per credit hour.
9. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) is a health care professional who works under the direction of an Occupational Therapist to provide treatment services to individuals with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities. COTAs help patients develop, recover, and maintain daily living and work skills so they can lead independent and productive lives.
In order to become a COTA, you must complete an accredited occupational therapy assistant program at a college or university. Most programs take two years to complete and include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. After completing the program, you must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam in order to become certified as a COTA.
The cost of becoming a COTA varies depending on the school you attend and the type of program you choose. Generally speaking, tuition for an associate's degree program ranges from $10,000-$20,000 per year. In addition to tuition costs, there are also fees associated with taking the NBCOT exam which range from $500-$700.
10. Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
A Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) is a healthcare professional who provides medical services under the direction of a physician or other healthcare provider. The CMA assists with patient care, administrative duties, and clinical tasks in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, and physician’s offices.
It typically takes about 12 months to complete the certification process for becoming a CMA. To become certified, you must have completed an accredited program in medical assisting and passed the national certification exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Most states also require that CMAs be licensed or registered with their state board of nursing or health department.
The cost to become a CMA varies depending on the program you choose to attend. Generally speaking, tuition costs range from $2,000-$10,000 depending on whether you attend a vocational school or community college. Additionally, there are fees associated with taking the AAMA certification exam which can range from $100-$200.
Do You Really Need a Support Worker Certificate?
Yes, you do need a support worker certificate if you want to become a support worker. Support workers are professionals who provide people with physical, emotional and social assistance to help them live independently or as part of a team. They work in many different settings including hospitals, nursing homes, day centres, residential care homes and other community settings.
Having a support worker certification is essential for any professional who wants to work in this field. It provides the necessary qualifications and training required to deliver quality care that is tailored to meet the individual needs of each client. The certification also shows employers that the person has taken the time to learn about the job role and responsibilities involved with being a support worker.
The certificate also demonstrates that an individual has learned how to provide safe and effective support services while adhering to professional standards and regulations. Support workers must be aware of their legal obligations when providing services and must be able to handle difficult situations calmly and effectively. Having a support worker certificate will help ensure that all clients receive the best possible care available.
In addition, having a certificate can open doors for those looking to advance their career in this field by allowing them access to higher-level positions or more specialized roles within organizations. This can lead to increased job opportunities and better pay rates for those who have taken the time to obtain a certificate in this area.
Overall, having a support worker certificate is an important step for anyone interested in pursuing this type of career path as it demonstrates competence, dedication and commitment towards providing excellent care for those in need.
Related: Support Worker Resume Examples
FAQs About Support Worker Certifications
1. What qualifications do I need to become a Support Worker?
Answer: In order to become a Support Worker, you will typically need to have at least a high school diploma or GED and complete some form of training program or certification course. Depending on the type of support work you intend to do, additional qualifications may be required.
2. How long does it take to get certified as a Support Worker?
Answer: The length of time it takes to get certified as a Support Worker can vary depending on the type of certification program you choose and your current level of experience and knowledge in the field. Generally speaking, most certification programs can be completed within 6-12 months with the right amount of dedication and focus.
3. Is there an age requirement for becoming a Support Worker?
Answer: No, there is no age requirement for becoming a Support Worker; however, many employers prefer applicants who are 18 years or older due to some legal restrictions that may apply in certain circumstances.
4. What types of jobs can I get as a Certified Support Worker?
Answer: As a Certified Support Worker, you may qualify for positions such as direct care worker, home health aide, personal care assistant, respite worker, case manager assistant, community support specialist and more.
5. Are there any online courses available for getting certified as a Support Worker?
Answer: Yes! There are several online courses available that offer comprehensive training on how to become a Certified Support Worker in your state or region. These courses are designed to provide students with the skills they need to successfully perform their duties in this role and prepare them for certification exams if necessary.