If nursing has always piqued your interest, you are in luck. Nursing is one of the fastest-growing and highest-demand industries out there, as evidenced by U.S. Bureau of Labor projections:

By 2022, there will be about 1.05 million nursing job openings (due to growth and replacements)

Registered Nursing is listed among the top occupations for job growth.

One-third of the nursing workforce today is older than 50.

The outlook is strong and showing no signs of slowing down. However, if you’re not quite ready to commit to a full nursing degree program or you want to dip a toe into the health-care waters before diving in, you have other options. A number of promising health-care careers require a short-term certificate, rather than a degree for entry.

Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)

Many nurses will tell you that getting a little experience as a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) before pursuing a nursing degree is great preparation. As a CNA, you’ll perform tasks like taking vital signs and helping patients care for themselves. You’ll work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse, so you’ll also become familiar with patient care and interaction. 5 credit hours

Emergency Medical Technician

Many students interested in nursing, paramedicine, or medical school start at as EMTs. The EMT certificate gives you the entry-level skills required to work in ambulance services, an emergency room, or in disaster relief. All EMT students complete clinical internships so you get hands-on experience. 12 credit hours

Medical Assisting

Medical assistants work in ambulatory health-care facilities in both administrative and clinical areas. Administrative functions include medical office procedures, insurance billing, and coding using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9) and 10th (ICD-10) Editions, and Physicians Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding. Interested in patient contact? Clinical skills learned include assisting with physical examinations, diagnostic tests, and treatment procedures. 46 credit hours

The accredited Medical Assisting certificate is part of the Medical Office Technology Program.

Practical Nursing

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) perform many hands-on duties such as administering medication, collecting specimens, and inserting catheters and feeding tubes. You can complete the first year of the A.A.S. Nursing and receive a certificate and take the National Council Licensing Exam, Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN). 47 credit hours


Phlebotomists collect blood samples from patients and transport those specimens to the lab. FRCC’s Phlebotomy Program includes lab and clinical experience and prepares students for the National American Society for Clinical Pathology exam, the premier certification to attain a job in phlebotomy. 8 credit hours

Patient Care Technician

Patient Care Technicians care for patients under the supervision of a doctor or nurse. Work in a variety of health-care environments, such as clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, long-term-care facilities, fire departments, ambulance companies, or emergency room facilities. There are four certificate options, two leading to the National Certified Patient Care Technician (NCPCT) exam through the National Center for Competency Testing. Another leads to the Certified EKG Technician Exam. 5 to 24 credit hours, depending on certificate

If you want to make sure the health-care field is right for you and don’t want to invest a lot of time or money to find out, these certificates are a great option. In as little as one semester, you can get a feel for the health-care industry and even gain some applied experience.

For a full list of FRCC certificates—including other health-care-related programs, such as other Medical Office Technology certificates or Holistic Health certificates—browse our latest catalog.

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