The Clinical Medical Assistants industry is one of the largest and most diverse employment sectors in the World. While the most commonly known career options in the healthcare sector are that of the registered nurse and the licensed physician, there are several allied health fields that appeal to individuals who do not want to spend several years of their life completing advanced education, training, and licensing. Although some of the options that are available require little or no education, those who plan to provide patient care may find that formal credentials can come with many benefits. Developing a basic understanding of why an unlicensed medical provider would want to voluntarily complete some form of education, training, and certification is the first step toward a long and rewarding career.

Due to the large number of unlicensed positions that exist within the healthcare sector, many employers group allied health providers into a broad category known as the patient care technician. The practice regulations and competency expectations associated with any one branch of the patient care technician profession are heavily dependent on the types of services being provided and the degree of risk that is associated with delegating tasks to technicians. Individuals who have been employed as a nurse’s aide, medical assistant, dialysis technician, pharmacy technician, home health aide, or other entry-level aide may only be required to complete a short in-house training program and a national certification exam in order to comply with state and federal regulations. Those who work in high risk specialties including that of surgery, anesthesiology, and radiology may be required to complete a college degree or an advanced training program before being allowed to provide direct patient care.

For those who plan to pursue employment in an entry-level allied health profession that has few state and federal competency requirements, completion of a training program and national certification exam can lead to several benefits. One of the most compelling arguments for acquiring credentials is to show employers, patients, and insurance companies that an individual has met the competency standards as established by the industry. As the healthcare environment becomes more regulated, many federal and independent insurance organizations are tightening their standards for how services performed by the unlicensed assistant are reimbursed. In many cases, entry-level personnel must be certified in order for the hiring facility to get paid for the care that they provide to patients.

Patient care technician certification also allows applicants to differentiate themselves from those who they are competing against for lucrative job openings. Administrators routinely offer hiring preference to those who have credentials because they know that an applicant who has demonstrated competence will require less oversight, make fewer mistakes, and be viewed more favorably by patients. These types of benefits are very important to the employer because they result in better public relations, lead to less waste, and ensure that the facility will continue to be treated favorably by regulatory officials. While it may take some time and effort to acquire the credentials needed to take advantage of all these benefits, those who persevere will find that they enjoy more advancement opportunities and are often able to maximize their earning potential.

A career as an entry-level technician is a rewarding way to have a positive impact on the lives of others. Those considering this employment option are encouraged to review the competency requirements associated with job openings in their area before beginning the application and interview process. Establishing a dialogue with employers early is an effective way of finding out about variations in hiring policies and may allow an aspiring technician to develop a strategy for addressing deficiencies in their resume before the employer has had a chance to review the application. This approach might also help in determining which establishments are the best to work for based on their competency requirements and practice standards.