Most care coordinators transition to the position through on-the-job training, but health unit coordinator certificate programs are available for those who want to boost their credentials.
Health unit coordinator certificate programs are usually offered through 2-year community colleges or vocational schools and are designed for individuals who already have an education in health sciences as well as professional experience in a clinical setting. The programs typically consist of 15-33 credits and prepare students to sit for the certification examination given by the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators.
Prerequisites include professional clinical experience and courses in medical terminology, allied health care systems, human anatomy and physiology, and CPR.
Certificate Programs for Health Unit Coordination
Most programs contain no more than five courses that focus primarily on practical training for the field. Students learn how to communicate physicians' orders to nursing staff, medical staff and patients. They also learn the procedures of scheduling patient treatments, analyzing charts, entering and retrieving medical data into electronic systems and communicating with patients. Some topics include:
- Transcribing orders
- Requisitions and forms
- Patient admission and discharge
- Laboratory procedures
- Reporting incidents
- Hospital protocol
Popular Career Options
Health unit coordinators can go by several professional titles, including nursing coordinator and patient care coordinator. Such individuals can also work in a variety of clinical settings, including:
- General and surgical hospitals
- Private and public clinics
- Physicians' offices
- Long-term nursing care facilities
Career Outlook Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health information technician jobs (which included medical records coordinators) were expected to experience 15% growth from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than average job growth. Candidates with health information certification could expect better job opportunities. Health information and medical records technicians made a median yearly salary of $37,110 in May 2015.
The National Association of Health Unit Coordinators offers certification for individuals who receive advanced education or training in hospital and patient care coordination. Professionals must take an examination to gain certification, and must recertify every three years to keep their credentials valid.
Health unit coordinator certificate programs help prepare individuals for the NAHUC certification test through a combination of coursework and hands-on experience. In these programs, students will learn about communication, patient care, and how to complete medical paperwork.