Medical professionals are entrusted with the health and wellbeing of their patients, making their expertise, knowledge, and skills absolutely critical. Medical certifications, as well as licenses, are essential in validating this proficiency and are often mandatory for various roles within the healthcare sector. Here’s a guide to some of the most important types of medical certifications and types of healthcare licenses that every healthcare professional should consider.
- Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
At the top of the medical profession, doctors are required to hold an MD or DO degree from an accredited medical school. Following their degree, they must complete a residency program in their chosen specialty. Subsequently, they must pass their board exams to obtain a healthcare professional licensure credential, allowing them to be licensed to practice.
- Registered Nurse (RN)
To become a Registered Nurse, one must complete a nursing program (either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing) and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). An RN license, a type of healthcare license, is necessary for nurses to practice in their state.
- Board Certifications (various specialties)
After obtaining their initial license to practice, many doctors choose to become board certified in their particular specialty. This involves passing a specialty-specific exam from a board, such as the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) or the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). These are types of medical certifications that demonstrate a high level of expertise in a particular area of medicine.
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
A Certified Medical Assistant is a medical professional who has received a certification that validates their knowledge and skills. The CMA certification, one of the various types of medical certifications, offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), demonstrates a medical assistant’s competence and gives them a competitive edge in their career.
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS)
ACLS and BLS are critical types of medical certifications for many healthcare professionals, including nurses, paramedics, and doctors. These certifications demonstrate a professional’s ability to respond to cardiac and breathing emergencies.
- Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C)
Physician Assistants are key members of the healthcare team and work under the supervision of a doctor. The PA-C certification, awarded after passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), validates a PA’s general medical and surgical knowledge. It serves as a healthcare professional licensure credential specific to physician assistants.
The specific certifications and licenses a medical professional needs will depend on their role, specialty, and the regulations of the country and state they are practicing in. However, these types of medical certifications and types of healthcare licenses share a common purpose: to assure the public that a medical professional is competent, knowledgeable, and adheres to a high standard of care.