Health Care & Rehab Technician Certificate: Certificate Overview

Take a look at the descriptions of health care and rehab technician certificate programs to determine which option is best for you. Get information on certification exams, prerequisites, core classes, licensing, salary data and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Individuals interested in careers in health care or rehabilitation can begin by earning a certificate in the respective field so that they're prepared for entry-level positions in the industry. The programs are designed for those who aren't credentialed and who can show proof of high school completion. The basic curriculum of the health care programs covers topics like phlebotomy, anatomy and emergency response, and includes practical experience. Rehab technician students learn about mental health, counseling and crisis intervention, among other topics.

Depending on the program, career options span from becoming a certified nursing assistant and health care assistant to a community support worker and mental health crisis worker. Both programs prepare students to apply for certification in the patient care or counseling fields.


Health Care Certificate

A high school diploma or GED equivalent is required for entry into these programs. These programs are designed to train students in basic patient care and to teach them the clerical skills needed to document patient conditions, vital signs, and treatment plans. They learn the basics of anatomy and physiology and are trained in phlebotomy, cardiac monitoring, and electrocardiography. Students are awarded a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate on successful completion of the program and are qualified to sit for the National Certified Patient Care Technician (NCPCT) exam and the National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT) exam.

Course Topics

These programs consist of 26.5-27.5 credits and are designed to be completed in two quarters. Health care skills are taught along with study in laws and ethics of the health professions. Students complete externships and practicums in specific study areas. Some topics may include these:

  • EKG
  • Phlebotomy
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical terminology
  • Emergency response CPR
  • Health calculations
  • Laws and ethics of allied health care
  • Health therapeutics
  • Electrocardiography
  • Patient clerical principles
  • Nutrition

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a health care certificate program can find entry-level positions in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, and nursing homes. Job duties may include helping patients with personal needs, such as dressing, feeding, and checking vital signs. Typical job titles may include these:

  • Certified nursing assistant
  • Clinical support associate
  • Health care assistant
  • Nurse's aid

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of a health care certificate program may choose to enroll in an associate's degree program to become a registered nurse. From there, individuals may go on to bachelor's degree programs in nursing that prepare them for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) exam. Master's degree programs prepare nurses for leadership and administrative roles. A doctoral degree prepares nurses for research positions and academic careers.


Rehab Technician Certificate

Applicants to these programs must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. An official transcript of all coursework must be submitted. The program is designed to teach students how to work with mental health patients and emphasizes study in rehabilitation skills, psychology, mental health, and human services. Successful completion of the program prepares a graduate to sit for the Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor Associate (CADCA) state certification exam. These programs are ideal for individuals who are considering training at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Students have up to three years to finish the program.

Course Topics

These programs consist of 30 credit hours with time of completion dependent on the school. Students are introduced to case management, vocational rehabilitation and counseling. Some topics in the programs may include these:

  • Community mental health care
  • Mental health and aging
  • Chemical dependency counseling
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Sexual abuse
  • Behavioral health
  • Crisis intervention
  • Interviewing
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation
  • Cultural competency

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a rehab technician certificate program can find job opportunities in hospitals, outpatient clinics, day treatment centers, correctional facilities, and residential care facilities. Job duties may include documenting patient activity and vital signs, observation, supervising group activities, monitoring the use and effects of medications, and assisting the medical staff. Some job titles include these:

  • Community support worker
  • Home-based family services staff
  • Mental health crisis worker
  • Day treatment worker
  • Community support worker

Continuing Education Information

Many graduates of a rehab technician certificate program enroll in associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree programs to learn advanced skills and enhance marketability. Individuals with bachelor's degrees or higher can enroll in graduate certificate programs to learn advanced skills and prepare for leadership roles.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 3,915,460 jobs held by healthcare support workers in 2012 (www.bls.gov). The projected job growth for the following occupations were reported as such by the BLS for the 2012-2022 decade: nursing assistants and orderlies, 21%; home health aides, 48%; occupational therapy assistants, 43%; and occupational therapy aides, 36%. The BLS reported the mean annual wage for healthcare social workers in May 2012 as $51,460; individuals in healthcare support occupations in general earned an average annual salary of $27,780 in 2012, per the BLS.

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