NHA Certifications: what you need to know

The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) was formed in 1989 with two goals: helping people take the first step in a healthcare career, and improving patient care by creating high-quality allied health workers. Since then, the NHA has issued more than 500,000 certifications to healthcare students and professionals, and there is no reason for them to slow down now.

The increasing need for aged care, palliative care, and preventative health programs mean that the NHA’s mission is more important than ever. Allied health workers are the backbone of modern collaborative medical facilities, helping with diagnosis, recovery, and quality of life. It is often medical assistants who manage and analyze critical data to ensure correct patient diagnosis and care. Billing and coding specialists, on the other hand, keep chaos at bay by efficiently managing the huge amounts of patient information, billing records, and other data necessary to run even a small medical clinic.

Booming Industry + Reputable Certification = Job Security

As well as contributing to better outcomes for patients, NHA also provides a valuable service for those seeking a kickstart to their career. Not only will an allied health certification help you find employment faster, but you will also be far more likely to find very stable employment than in many other industries.

It’s difficult to overstate the boom that the healthcare industry is going through right now. Spending on healthcare in the U.S. accounts for almost 18% of GDP, and that is expected to rise to 20% by the year 2025. That’s why Investopedia named healthcare as one of the five industries driving the entire U.S. economy. What that growth means on the ground is constant and increasing demand for qualified workers. There are shortages of employees in many allied health fields. That means the chances of landing a job with your certification quickly are very high – important to know if you are going to invest time and resources in further education.

For those considering NHA certification to help job prospects, here is a closer look at four key certifications they provide.

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

hc-difference-3-thumbA CCMA is one of the most versatile healthcare positions available. It can help you to land jobs in large hospitals, family medical clinics, or a physician’s office. Not only that, but demand for medical assistants is high already, and expected to grow more than 20% by 2024. Medical assistants carry out a range of important auxiliary tasks in a healthcare setting, such as:

  • Assisting physicians during examinations of patients
  • Interviewing patients before an appointment to garner information that may be helpful to their doctor
  • Educating patients about preventative healthcare, medical options, and so on
  • Administering injections

To be eligible for the CCMA examination you’ll need to have undergone training with an accredited provider such as CCI. Alternatively, formal medical training as part of military service will qualify you, as will one year of work experience in a relevant healthcare setting, so long as it took place within the last three years.

If you’re eligible, you simply pay the relevant fee and sit the exam. The exam itself takes three hours and includes 30 pre-test questions followed by 150 scored questions. Results are processed quickly, so once the exam is done your results should be available for you within two days, though your printed certificate will take up to two weeks to arrive.

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)

If your interest is more in medical administration and customer service than patient care, becoming a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant may be for you. This certification opens you up for a similar range of job opportunities as a CCMA, and medical administrative staff is also in very high demand. The focus of this certification is different, however. Healthcare clerks focus on tasks such as:

  • Reviewing and answering correspondence the medical practice or hospital receives
  • Using computer systems to accomplish office administration tasks
  • Answering phones, scheduling appointments, meeting with patients and answering their queries, and maintaining the filing system
  • Updating and maintaining the organization’s information about patients
  • Coordinating operation reports recording patient attendance, appointment times, and so on
  • There are also specialized roles, such as medical secretaries or medical transcribers

The CMAA has the same eligibility requirements as the CCMA. The test is different, though, taking 130 minutes and involving 20 pre-test question and 100 scored questions. As with the CCMA, you’ll know whether you were successful within two days and have your certificate within two weeks.

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS

hc-spot-ms-3Getting deeper into the administrative side of healthcare we have medical billers and coders, as well as medical insurance specialists, whose knowledge base takes in billing, coding, training in privacy laws and medical records management, and more.

The range of jobs that open up when you become a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist is pretty mind-blowing. You will be able to find work not only in hospitals and clinics but in nursing homes, dental clinics, home healthcare agencies, mental health facilities – even insurance companies and consulting firms. As the need for aged care and preventative health care will continue to increase, so will employment opportunities in this field. Some of the tasks performed by a CBCS are:

  • Collecting and reviewing essential patient information
  • Verifying that all required documentation has been provided before any patient information is released
  • Auditing a facility’s billing records to prevent fraud or abuse, and to identify mistakes
  • Supporting the coding and billing processes of an organization
  • Assigning codes for diagnoses and procedures
  • Submitting claims for reimbursement
  • Coaching healthcare providers to achieve optimal reimbursement

Earning your CBCS involved identical eligibility requirements to the CCMA and CMAA. The NHA test takes two hours, with 20 pre-test question and 100 scored questions. As with the other certifications, you’ll have your results in two days and your certificate in two weeks or less.

Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS)

hc-spot-transcribe-a-thumbHaving one or more trained and certified Electronic Health Records Specialists on staff is essential for all healthcare organization from local physicians to huge city hospitals. There is so much important information about patients being recorded, and all the filing, organization, and privacy requirements that go with it. Healthcare providers need to ensure this information is complete, accurate, well-organized, and secure, and that’s where you and your CEHRS come in.

As you might imagine, a health information specialist is important in every medical setting imaginable, so the job prospects this certification brings are great. As a CEHRS, you’ll be doing a wide range of tasks including:

  • Auditing patient records to ensure compliance
  • Creating abstracts detailing clinical information for reports Performing basic coding to move reimbursement claims forward Processing Release of Information (ROI) requests for patients’ medical records
  • Regularly reviewing patient records to make sure they are accurate and complete
  • Collecting demographic and insurance information from patients
  • Discussing patients with physicians and insurance professionals in an appropriate way when required

Achieving your CEHRS certification with NHA has the same eligibility requirements as the other certifications. The test itself lasts 110 minutes and features ten pre-test question and 100 scored questions. As with the other certifications, you’ll have your results in two days and your certificate in two weeks or less.

For more information on how CCI Training Center can prepare you for NHA certification exams, fill out the form on our Medical and Healthcare program page.