National Healthcareer Association’s 2019 Industry Outlook highlights trends in certification and skill level in this fast growing industry
LEAWOOD, Kan. (May 21, 2019) – According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate for some allied health occupations outpaces the average growth rate for all occupations by more than 250%. With the growing market need to employ more allied health professionals, National Healthcareer Association (NHA) has released its 2019 Industry Outlook, which wasconducted as part of its third edition of access™: an allied health industry journal. The research gathered data and insights from employers, seeking to understand their needs and the attributes of their most successful allied health professionals.
A major finding from the 2019 Industry Outlook is that 70.9% of allied health employers require or encourage certification (up more than 5% from 2018). As demand for allied health professionals grows, employers believe that certification can lead to positive impacts on their institutions, reporting that professional certification provides credibility, improves the standard of care and improves patient safety.
Certification also helps prepare individuals who are entering the workforce meet the requirements of allied health occupations, which may ultimately require less on-the-job training by employers. Surveyed employers reported that, across six different allied health professions, an average of 71.5% of newly certified professionals are prepared when they enter the workforce.
While a majority of employers across all six healthcare careers encouraged certification, employers of pharmacy technicians and phlebotomists were significantly more likely to require it (57% and 51%, respectively; p≤0.01).
“The growth in the allied health industry has opened doors for individuals to pursue rewarding careers, while also positively impacting the standard of care patients receive,” said Jessica Langley, executive director of education and advocacy for NHA. “We are seeing an increase in employers who are encouraging and even requiring certification for allied health professionals in an effort to elevate the entire healthcare industry.”
Despite the shift toward certification, employers still report that allied health professionals’ active listening and non-verbal communication skills need improvement. Continuing education, mentorship and online training are the top methods employers are implementing to help improve these communication skills.
“Certification certainly confirms that an allied health professional has strong foundational skills for their occupations, but continuing education is important for further developing both clinical and communication skills,” said Jeremy Sasser, pharmacy content strategist for NHA. “We’ve found that the combination of certification and continuing education promotes success for both the allied health professional and the employer.”
The 2019 Industry Outlook is published as part of the third edition of NHA’s access™. This publication brings to light challenges and opportunities where allied health professionals can make an impact. Topics include trends in using gaming technology for healthcare training, pharmacy technicians taking on administering immunizations, the impact of cultural sensitivity across the continuum of care, allied health careers for active-duty military service members and veterans, the future of continuing education and more.
A third-party research firm conducted the research within the 2019 Industry Outlook. The survey was structured to assess the opinions of employers concerning the professional outlook for billing and coding specialists, medical administrative assistants, medical assistants, patient care technicians, pharmacy technicians and phlebotomists. This survey was in market March 6-8, 2019, and evaluated the opinions of 166 employers that were not current NHA customers.
About National Healthcareer Association®
Since 1989, NHA has been partnering with allied health education programs, organizations, and employers across the nation to award more than 750,000 allied health certifications. The organization offers eight nationally accredited exams, certification preparation and study materials, two specialty certificate programs, industry-leading outcomes-based data analytics, as well as ongoing professional development and continuing education. For more information, visit www.nhanow.com.
NHA is a division of Assessment Technologies Institute, LLC, a leader in providing technology based educational, assessment, testing and certification solutions for healthcare and other vocational fields.