While purpose, process, and people go together like peas in a pod when it comes to bringing a certification to life—and keeping it evergreen—it’s the dynamic interchange between current practices in medicine and the credentialed people who deliver care that creates the true value of a certification.
How will certification benefit my career?
A credential is more than the set of letters that you use after your name, e.g., Neesha Matthews, RMA (AMT). A professional certification shows the world that you have achieved the level of competency that qualifies you to work in your chosen profession. It's a big deal. Many occupations have adopted certification as a hallmark of quality practice— particularly critical in the delivery of health care services.
Fundamentally, the purpose of credentialing is public protection. By meeting the requirements of a sound certification program, you help deliver safe and successful health care.
Health care is an industry that values research, objectivity and professionalism. Employers expect that the people who deliver care in their practices possess a respected credential. Hiring managers looking for candidates with a respected professional credential view certification as an objective, third-party stamp of approval that an individual has the necessary skills, knowledge and commitment to the work in the profession. Just as health care is specialized, so are AMT certifications, which were developed in response to a specific need in the workforce.
How are certifications developed and how is their quality assured?
The member leaders of AMT have been coming together for 80 years to answer the question of whether allied health professionals are prepared to succeed in their chosen work. Certifications are developed to meet that need. To ensure the highest quality, the volunteer leaders of AMT work with professional AMT staff and industry professionals to create world-class credentials.
The evolution of a certification
Subject-matter experts (SMEs) who actively practice in their field define:
- Who the certification is for
- Which criteria makes them eligible to challange the exam
- The scope of practice defining the competency areas required for a successful job role
AMT staff psychometricians and SMEs conduct a task analysis, research about what is actually done on the job. This is an ongoing part of maintaining the credential as job roles continue to evolve with changes to health care technology and common practices.
If you'd like to see the areas of knowledge and skills for a variety of roles in allied health, check out the exam content outlines.
Only after extensive preliminary research comes the development of the actual certification exam. A few versions of each certification exams are created to randomize the test, which helps keep exam content secure and ensure that every test-taker has a fair experience.
All of this work of creating a credential—from determining the need to writing test questions is a science that requires its own credential. For that reason, the process that AMT uses for creating a certification exam is itself accredited by a respected outside agency, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
What is NCCA and why is it important to the value of my certification?
The process AMT uses for creating a certification exam is accredited by the NCCA, which sets a multitude of standards such as
- Are certificates required to demonstrate ongoing competence after initial certification?
- Does the agency have adequate financial resources and expertise to develop and conduct sound programs?
- Are there means for disciplining certificats found not adhering to standards of practice?
- How is conflict of interst minimized in the oranizational governance and program development efforts?
- Are processes and policies made adequately available to the public and stakeholders?
Answers to these and hundreds of other questions required for NCAA accreditation show that a credentialing program provides a meaningful stamp on qualified certificants.
"The third-party recognition of a credential by NCAA is an important way of affixing an imprimatur, or 'stamp of approval,' attesting that the many elements comprising a certification program adher to generally accepted industry standards," says James Fidler, PhD, who is director of testing and competency assurance for AMT. "In addition, some states, which have laws regulating the practice of particular occupations, recognize AMT certification for licensure purposes, which is yet another reflection of the quality of a certification and its examinations."
What credentials are available for my profession?
Specialized certifications are available across disciplines in medical, dental, laboratory, and educational professions. Click below to learn more about the variety of credentials applicable to your profession.