Trending Healthcare Certifications in 2022
By Space Coast Daily // June 1, 2022
The broader growth in the US economy over the past year, combined with the “great resignation,” has resulted in job openings outnumbering the candidates. According to the Labor Department’s report for November 2021, there were over 10.6 million job openings, a massive number for the healthcare sector.
The Covid-19 pandemic and America’s aging population are expected to boost demand for healthcare services. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts employment in the sector to grow by a whopping 16% from 2020 to 2030, with over 2.6 million new jobs added. In fact, in the 2022 list of 100 Best Jobs compiled by U.S. News, nearly 4 in 10 occupations comprise healthcare or healthcare support roles.
The US healthcare sector remains a primary avenue for prospective job seekers in 2022. It is the largest and one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country. Jobs in healthcare are not limited to clinical roles. With rapid technological advancements and the proliferation of patient data, there is staggering demand for efficient workers behind the scenes.
Health information technicians, like medical coding and billing specialists, play crucial roles in the revenue cycles of healthcare organizations. Compliance officers/managers ensure that healthcare facilities are following stringent regulatory guidelines and set up appropriate processes to align themselves with standard industry practices.
In many roles like these, healthcare certifications can open the doors to stable careers in the industry. Certifications in the medical field are valuable in establishing that you have the required knowledge and skills to deal with relevant procedures and systems. For instance, with new data privacy laws and faster digital transformation, individuals with training in healthcare IT are in demand. Healthcare IT certifications can better equip you to stand out among the crowd.
Here are some coveted healthcare certifications for 2022 that can help you build a successful career ahead.
Certified Professional Coder (CPC®)
Efficiency and accuracy in medical coding are key to optimal and ethical revenue generation for healthcare organizations. It is also crucial for patients to be properly billed and supported by insurance policies. AAPC’s Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential is the industry standard for medical coding in physicians’ office settings.
CPCs are essential for medical facilities to be compliant and profitable. By passing a rigorous examination, professionals can prove that they:
■ Are experts in reading medical charts and assigning correct diagnosis (ICD), supply codes (HCPCS Level II) and procedures (CPT) performed by qualified physicians and other healthcare providers in the facility.
■ Have sound knowledge of regulations and coding guidelines for compliance requirements.
■ Have knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and medical terms to read medical charts, documents, and code descriptors.
■ Can use modifiers appropriately, wherever necessary, and integrate payment policy changes into the reimbursement process.
The average salary of CPCs in 2021 was $58,055 per annum, representing among the highest-paid healthcare certifications, with a starting salary of $45,456. The pay can rise more than 60% through your career.
Certified Outpatient Coder (COC®)
COC is one of the top healthcare certifications in demand by outpatient facilities like pharmacies that provide immunization, ambulatory surgery centers, radiology centers, and community health centers. The COC credential is provided by the AAPC and, by passing the exam, you can prove to employers your expertise in outpatient hospital coding, payment status indicators, and MS-DRGs, as well as knowledge of Ambulatory Payment Classifications (APCs).
You will need to maintain your certification by completing 36 Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) every two years.
Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CAHIMS)
This health information management certification is offered by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The certification helps you advance your career by proving expertise in health information and management solutions. It authenticates your ability to facilitate and implement the health IT lifecycle while strengthening your skills, knowledge, and experience to build a successful career in healthcare IT.
If you wish to work in healthcare IT or you are a mid-level professional looking for a career switch, this could be a suitable healthcare certification for you. Today healthcare institutions are undertaking rapid digital transformation to stay relevant, improve patient experience, and support the changing model for care (remote consultation and monitoring).
Some are experimenting with new technologies while others are partnering with innovative start-ups to find solutions. There is expected to be a huge demand for certified professionals who can support healthcare IT infrastructure.
To apply for the exam, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You must also have at least 45 hours of continuing education in digital health and healthcare information technology.
Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO)
One of the most recognized and coveted healthcare compliance certifications is the CPCO certification offered by AAPC. Navigating through healthcare regulatory guidelines and laws is a complex task for organizations. Yet, they must do this to avoid hefty penalties and lawsuits. With the need to comply with ever-changing government laws and guidelines, healthcare organizations need certified healthcare compliance professionals to develop, implement and monitor a compliance program.
The CPCO certificate provided by AAPC can take your career in compliance to the next level. Passing this exam highlights your credibility in:
■ Knowing all prevalent laws and regulations, like HIPAA, OSHA, and CLIA.
■ Knowledge of important healthcare abuse and fraud laws, like the Stark Laws and False Claims Act.
■ The impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on medical institutions and patients.
■ Ensuring the effectiveness of compliance programs.
■ Handling internal inquiries.
■ Navigating various risk areas, like conflicts of interest, gifts/gratuities, guidelines for teaching physicians.
■ Dealing with requirements under Corporate Integrity Agreements.
To maintain the certification, you must submit 36 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every 2 years and maintain your AAPC membership.
Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP)
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) offers this certification to clinical and non-clinical professionals whose roles require them to have a broader understanding of the business and financial aspects of healthcare.
More than 1 in 3 US adults are burdened with medical debt, according to a 2021 Healthcare.com survey. While this causes financial hardships for families, it is also a burden on the provider. Huge medical debt is creating pressures on healthcare organizations, as they go underpaid for their services.
While patients are calling for affordable healthcare, technological advancements have made procedures expensive. Without a sound financial plan, it is not possible for facilities to create a high-value healthcare environment and achieve cost-effectiveness. This is where healthcare financial professionals come into the picture.
The certificate demonstrates knowledge and skills in 4 main areas. These are business acumen, collaboration, financial strategy, and understanding future trends. You need to complete 2 modules to earn the credential.
The pandemic has highlighted the need to strengthen the resilience of healthcare institutions. It has brought down life expectancy and caused severe mental strain. More than ever, the healthcare industry needs to build robust infrastructure and supply chains to deal with future shocks.
It needs appropriate systems to predict financial troubles ahead. In 2020, more than 73% executives said their organizations were automating the administrative tasks of physicians. Nearly 86% identified improving supply-chain transparency as a priority. So, you don’t need to be a physician, surgeon, or nurse to take advantage of the opportunities in the growing healthcare sector. There are plenty of opportunities in non-clinical roles after certification.