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Indeed’s Top 11 Most-Requested Medical Certifications by Employers in 2020


In 2021, having the right certification can be the edge that sets you apart from other job seekers.

Of the top 20 certifications listed by employers in their Indeed job postings this year, more than half were related to healthcare positions.

With the help of, here are the top in-demand certifications for healthcare workers in 2020, including common requirements and job opportunities for each. 

18. Home Health Aide certification

Accredited organizations like the National Association for Home Care and Hospice offer home health aide certification to show a professional’s basic medical skills for home-bound patients, such as administering medications, dressing wounds, checking blood pressure and heart rates, and other activities that require a level of competence in using medical instruments and procedures. The course emphasizes how to provide emotional support for patients as well as how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Candidates must complete at least 75 hours of training and pass a written exam to earn their HHA certification.

Related career paths:

  • Respite worker
  • Home health aide
  • Caregiver

17. NRP certification

Offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Neonatal Resuscitation Program certification is designed for neonatal nurses and uses a blended learning approach to teach the basics of neonatal resuscitation. It includes online tests and hands-on case-based simulations that focus on communication, critical leadership and teamwork skills.

NRP certification is a basic requirement for neonatal nurses, but if you want to specialize within the field, become a more competitive candidate for positions or advance in your career, you might also consider additional certifications, such as pediatric transport or electronic fetal monitoring.

Related career paths:

  • Neonatal nurse
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner
  • Obstetrical nurse

16. Pharmacy Technician certification

Pharmacy technicians can be certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Healthcareer Association. Both certification programs require applicants to have at least a high school education and to have completed an accredited pharmacy technology program. You can find these training programs at community colleges and vocational schools, and they typically take a year or less.

Pharmacy technician programs teach students about recordkeeping, basic math, pharmaceutical laws, ethics, medical terms and insurance. They might also provide students with direct experience in a pharmacy setting. You might be eligible, however, if you already have at least 500 hours of experience as a pharmacy technician.

The exam is computer-based and includes 90-100 questions on pharmacology, medication safety, quality assurance, patient services, inventory management, pharmacy laws, billing, information systems and compounding. Specialized pharmacy technician certifications—such as sterile product, chemo and compounding certifications—can help you advance your career.

Related career paths:

  • Pharmacy technician

15. ARRT certification

Certification with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists can provide radiation therapists with more job opportunities and higher earning potential in a variety of specialties. Because they work with radiation and X-rays, radiation therapists are required to have this specialized training before they can work in a hospital or clinic.

These certification programs teach how to administer cancer treatments, monitor patients' conditions and maintain accurate records. Anatomy, dosing and how to use imaging technology to deliver radiation are all part of the coursework, but students also learn how to communicate and interact with nervous or anxious patients to make the treatment process comfortable. The radiation therapy exam is a 200-question computer-based test that can take up to four hours to complete.

To be eligible for ARRT certification, you need a high school degree and at least an associate degree in radiation therapy or a related field from an accredited program. Your degree does not have to be in radiologic sciences, though that can offer a good foundation for certification.

Related career paths:

  • MRI technician
  • X-ray technician
  • Radiation therapist

10. PALS certification

Pediatric Advanced Life Support, or PALS, is a certification for professionals who want to work in facilities that specialize in the care of infants, children and adolescents. Certification from accredited organizations like the American Heart Association or the Red Cross shows competency in the skills needed to care for seriously ill or injured children. Before enrolling in a PALS course, you should already be certified in BLS.

Related career paths:

  • Licensed practical nurse
  • Emergency nurse practitioner
  • Licensed vocational nurse

8. Certified medical assistant

A certified medical assistant (CMA) is a medical professional who assists nurses and physicians in a variety of healthcare facilities, such as doctors' offices, clinics, rehabilitation centers and hospitals. A CMA needs a certification that has been approved by the American Association of Medical Assistants. Typically, medical assistants complete an accredited program and earn certification before entering the field, but in some instances, employers are willing to hire medical assistants while they are still pursuing their education.

Related career paths:

  • Certified medical assistant

6. First Aid certification

The term “first aid” is relatively broad, but essentially, it refers to the primary (or first) aid given to individuals suffering from both minor and life-threatening conditions. So, while CPR and BLS skills both broadly fall into the category of first aid, they are not synonymous. First aid certification classes cover additional skills that the more common certification classes don’t, such as how to give stitches for deep cuts, address minor injuries or even identify and respond to broken bones. It provides the necessary tools and knowledge so you can confidently react during a crisis before medical professionals arrive. This type of certification can be achieved in one to two days and can be earned in-person or online.

Related career paths:

  • Babysitter
  • Direct support professional
  • Paramedic

5. ACLS certification

Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification trains professionals in the urgent treatment of cardiac arrest, stroke, myocardial infarction (also known as a heart attack) and other life-threatening emergencies relating to the heart and blood vessels. Only qualified medical providers can be certified in administering ACLS, as it requires the ability to manage someone’s airway, initiate vascular access, read and interpret electrocardiograms and understand emergency pharmacology. Nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, and other emergency responders may be required to take this training from accredited organizations like the American Heart Association.

Related career paths:

  • Labor and delivery nurse
  • Telemetry nurse
  • Emergency nurse practitioner
  • Respiratory therapist

3. Certified nursing assistant

To work as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in the U.S., you are required to become certified in the state in which you intend to work. While each state has a unique process for becoming certified, the credential typically requires you to attend an accredited certified nursing training program and pass an exam. The CNA certification exam includes a written portion with multiple-choice questions and a clinical portion where you have to perform tasks that showcase your skills, such as knowing how to assist a patient with their bedpan or changing sheets while a patient is still lying in their hospital bed.

Related career paths:

  • Nursing assistant
  • Patient care technician
  • Resident assistant

2. BLS certification

Certification for basic life support is available through organizations like the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association and can demonstrate your ability to give fundamental care in emergencies. The certification process includes attending an accredited BLS class, completing training and passing an exam. Unlike CPR certification, BLS certification is designed for first responders and healthcare professionals, although there are several professions that might require more advanced certification than the standard CPR course. In addition to teaching participants how to use life-saving equipment often found at hospitals and other healthcare facilities, BLS also emphasizes the importance of working in teams in emergency situations.

Related career paths:

  • Licensed practical nurse
  • Ultrasound technician
  • Surgical technician
  • Radiation therapist

1. CPR certification

It might come as no surprise that CPR (shorthand for cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training is the most commonly requested certification from employers. This certification from the American Heart Association or the Red Cross can be useful in pursuing a variety of job opportunities, even when you aren’t a medical professional or entrusted with caring for others. Many states require public school teachers to know CPR. If you work in a public-facing role, such as in a restaurant or hotel, companies can benefit from having a CPR-certified employee on staff should the need arise. Unlike many other certifications, there are no age or education requirements to take a CPR course.

Related career paths:

  • Lifeguard
  • EMT 


ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.

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