Thursday, June 20, 2013

Obtaining Career Certification in Medicine

This is a Guest Post by Jim Kelly

As mentioned by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, (AART), “Certification is the initial recognition of an individual who satisfies certain standards within a profession.” Without the proper certifications and training, a medical professional would simply be a highly educated person with a wealth of knowledge about medicine. You hear about nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers taking the required state and national exams in order to certify themselves in the specific area of medicine in which they choose, but how does one go about becoming certified?

Each healthcare professional requires a certain certification. Nonetheless, becoming certified in any medical career is a rigorous process that requires attention to detail, intense focus, time, dedication, and a lot of studying. Let’s take a closer look at the certifications necessary to follow these medical career paths; physician, nurse, radiologist and pharmacists:

Physician- There are certain educational and training requirements a physician must complete; however, board certification demonstrates “a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice”, as stated by The American Board of Medical Specialty (ABMS). What this means is that, in the U.S., medical specialty certification in not required, but is actually voluntary. What certification can do is enhance your career and offer benefits not available to those otherwise. In other words, certification makes you a “qualified physician” in the eyes of the public.

The ABMS offers different specialties and subspecialties depending on the area of medicine you choose. So regardless of the field of medicine you choose, it’s possible to become a board certified physician.

Nurses- We’ve all heard the term RN and LN when relating to nurses, but what makes a nurse a registered or licensed? In order to become a Registered Nurse or Licensed Nurse, one must obtain the proper certifications from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) is the exam one must pass to become an accredited nurse.

Radiography Technician - As one of the 24 national medical specialty boards associated with the ABMS, The American Board of Radiology (ABR) represents physicians who become radiologists. There are also careers as radiography technicians, also known as radiologic technologists. Sanford Brown offers a radiography training program for future radiography technicians. Subspecialties in radiology recognized by the ABR include: Neuroradiology, Nuclear Radiology, Pediatric Radiology, Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

Pharmacists- Also one of the 24 boards associated with the ABMS, The Board of Pharmacy Specialists offers the same type of certifications, but for those looking to pursue a career in pharmacology. To get an idea of what to expect from the examination process, the exam is split up into two parts. Each part consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and testers are only given a total of five hours to complete both. Once started, the entire exam must be completed that same day.

An important key to remember is, after you are certified in your desired medical professional, you must maintain the certification. Just as First Responders need to retake CPR and First-Aid courses, medical professionals must do the same as well. Some organizations do not require you to retake the examination that certified you, but it is highly recommended for advancements in your career.

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