National Health Career Association Certification Programs

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As the healthcare field becomes increasingly competitive, employers are requiring more of their allied care professionals to obtain certifications. NHA offers eight different certification exam options and has above-average passing percentages.

What Is the National Healthcareer Association?

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The National Healthcareer Association is a certification exam provider that accredited through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). NCCA accreditation ensures that certification programs meet the highest standards for professional competence. As an NCCA accredited institution, NHA is required to maintain documentation on the analysis of job tasks, standard setting summaries, and exam pass rates.

In addition to certification exams, NHA offers study packages to help students prepare for testing. The NHA collaborates with academic institutions to share knowledge of student performance analytics, which helps facilitate student success. In addition, institutions can improve their programs through enhanced study materials, enhanced professionalism, and improved outcomes.

The Purpose National Healthcareer Association?

NHA’s mission is “Empowering people to access a better future.” Their goal is to be the gold standard of certification providers in the industry. To help achieve this goal, materials and testing standards are routinely revised and improved. NHA’s primary objective is to improve patient care through competency excellence.

In addition, the NHA also sees itself as an important industry advocate. The National Healthcareer Association is involved with regulatory and legislative programs to endorse the certification industry, and the NHA works to ensure the development and advancement of allied healthcare workers.

Information about National Healthcareer Association Certification Programs

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NHA offers eight different certification programs for health care providers including:

  • Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA)
  • Phlebotomy Technician Certification (CPT)
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
  • Certified EKG Technician (CET)
  • Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS)
  • Certified Patient Care Technician/Assistant (CPCT/A)
  • Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS)
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification (CPhT)

NHA certification exams assess the knowledge, skills, and tasks necessary to competently practice in allied health careers. Certification status is awarded to individuals who successfully pass their specialized exam. In order to sit for one of the National Healthcareer Association’s Certification exams, applicants are required to have:

  • Completed a training program in their area of specialization within the previous five years
  • A high school diploma or equivalent

Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA)

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Medical assistants perform multiple skills in a variety of health care settings. Not only can medical assistants perform clinical skills, but they also have important administrative functions. Medical assistants routinely interact with healthcare providers such as doctors, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants.

Practice settings for medical assistants included doctors’ offices, health care clinics, urgent care facilities, and specialty centers. Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA) is a job requirement for many employers and can help advance the career of certified individuals.

In 2017, the pass rate for NHA’s CCMA exam was 72.9%. The certification is good for two years and requires continuing education and renewal fees to stay active. The exam consists of 150 scored items and individuals are allowed up to three hours to complete the test. The exam covers subject areas including:

  • Foundational Knowledge and Basic Science
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Clinical Patient Care
  • Patient Care Coordination and Education
  • Administrative Assisting
  • Communication and Customer Service
  • Medical Law and Ethics

Phlebotomy Technician Certification (CPT)

Phlebotomists are at increased demand in healthcare facilities across the country. The majority of companies either require phlebotomist certifications or are most likely to prefer certified applicants. Depending on the specific employer, Phlebotomy Technicians are required to:

  • Draw blood
  • Assess patients’ response and tolerance of the procedures
  • Administer point of care testing (i.e. blood sugar levels)
  • Prepare body fluids for testing
  • Utilize medical supplies such as specimen tubes, hypodermic needles, and blood vials

Phlebotomy Technicians typically work at hospitals, laboratories, and blood donation facilities. In order to qualify for the certification exam, applicants are required to:

  • Successfully complete a phlebotomy training program within the last five years
  • Successfully complete a phlebotomy training program within the last five years
  • Successfully complete a phlebotomy training program within the last five years

The National Healthcareer Association’s NHA Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) exam consists of 100 scored items administered with a two-hour period. In 2017, NHA’s had the highest pass rate for their Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) exam at 91.6%. Subject areas assessed covered in the exam include:

  • Safety and Compliance
  • Patient Preparation
  • Routine Blood Collections
  • Special Collections
  • Processing

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)

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Certified Medical Administrative Assistants perform clerical and administrative skills in healthcare office settings. Roles of Certified Medical Administrative Assistants may include:

  • Read and reply to both mail and email
  • Use computer technology to perform office tasks
  • Receptionist duties such as greeting patients, answering telephone calls, scheduling patient appointments, and maintaining medical records.
  • Managing employee reports such as time and attendance

NHA’s Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam consist of 110 scored items within a 2 hours 10 minutes time frame. NHA’s 2017 pass rate for the CMAA exam was 76%. Applicants are tested on subject areas such as:

  • Scheduling
  • Patient intake
  • Office logistics
  • Compliance
  • Patient education
  • General office policies and procedures
  • Basic medical terminology

Certified EKG Technician (CET)

Virtually all healthcare providers require EKG Technicians to pass the Certified EKG Technician (CET) exam prior to employment. Technicians must perform highly technical tasks such as performing EKGs, Holter monitoring, and stress tests. In addition, they bring patient results to physicians and transcribe test results.

The National Healthcareer Association CET exam is unique in that it not only certifies for EKGs, but also for Holter monitoring and stress testing. In 2017, NHA’s pass rate for the Certified EKG Technician (CET) exam was 89.4%. The NHA Certified EKG Technician (CET) exam consists of 100 scored items administered in a two-hour period. Exam content includes:

  • Safety, compliance, and patient care coordination
  • EKG acquisition
  • EKG analysis and interpretation

Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS)

Electronic Health Records Specialists are primarily responsible for ensuring complete and accurate patient data. Most healthcare employers require Electronic Health Records Specialists to be certified. Some of their roles include:

  • Auditing medical records
  • Coding and reimbursement
  • Medical records release requests
  • Gather patient demographics and healthcare coverage information
  • Communicate with physicians and insurance providers

The NHA Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRS) exam contains 100 scored items given over 1 hour and 50 minutes. The exam pass rate at NHA for 2017 was 65.1%. Exam items include:

  • Software applications and equipment
  • Insurance and billing
  • Charting
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Reporting

Pharmacy Technician Certification (CPhT)

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Pharmacy Technicians are medical professionals that work in settings such as hospitals, pharmacies, medical offices, and grocery stores. Most employers require Pharmacy Technicians to have their certifications. Pharmacy Technicians may perform the following skills:

  • Process prescriptions from patients, doctors, and hospitals
  • Measure, package, inventory, and label medications
  • Maintain accurate medical records
  • Process payments and insurance claims

The NHA Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) exam consists of 100 scored items administered over 2 hours and 10 minutes. The NHA Certified Pharmacy Technician exam had the lowest pass rate in 2017 at 58.9%. Exam content includes:

  • Overview and laws
  • Medications and drug therapy
  • Dispensing process
  • Medication safety and quality assurance

Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS)

Billing & Coding Specialists have a variety of prospects for employment. Potential employers include hospitals, doctors’ offices, outpatient surgery centers, retirement homes, dentist offices, home health care agencies, behavioral health facilities, insurance companies, and consulting organizations. Essential skills for Billing & Coding Specialists include:

  • Obtaining and evaluating patient data
  • Documentation verification prior to release of patient information
  • Billing audits
  • Assistance with coding and billing
  • Assigning diagnostic and procedural codes
  • Submitting reimbursement claims

The NHA Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) exam contains 100 scored items and is administered over 2 hours. The NHA pass rate for the CBCS exam in 2017 was 71.5%. Exam content includes:

  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Claims Processing
  • Front-end duties
  • Payment adjudication
  • Coding knowledge application
  • Certified Patient Care Technician/Assistant (CPCT/A)

Patient Care Technicians/Assistants are an essential need in the healthcare profession. They assist patients with activities of daily living and other essential tasks. PCT/As work in diverse healthcare environments including:

  • Long-term care facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Assisted Living
  • Other healthcare facilities

Patient Care Technicians/Assistants are skilled in multiple different tasks depending on their area of specialization. Some of their essential duties include:

  • Assisting with patient care
  • Obtaining vital signs
  • Dispensing patient care items
  • Cleaning and maintaining patient rooms
  • Some PCT/As are skilled in phlebotomy and EKG procedures

The NHA Certified Patient Care Technician/Assistant (CPCT/A) exam comprises 100 scored items given over 1 hour and 50 minutes. NHA’s 2017 pass rate for the exam was 76.5%. Test items include:

  • Patient care
  • Phlebotomy and EKG preparation and monitoring
  • Safety
  • Professional duties
  • Infection control


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The National Healthcareer Association is a premier certification provider in the United States. With higher than average pass rates, superior competencies, and improved patient care. Employers benefit from hiring certified allied healthcare workers through improved workflow, safety and satisfaction. NHA should be the first choice for anybody seeking allied health certifications.

Author: Emma Campbell

I am a director at the Phlebotomy Training Institute