13 Best Medical Certification Exams and Why They’re Important

The healthcare industry is projected to increase in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment in healthcare occupations is expected to increase by 13% from 2021 to 2031. This growth highlights the importance of Medical Certification Exams to meet the rising demand for skilled healthcare professionals.

So what are the top medical certification exams that can help you advance your healthcare career? This blog post will explore 12 of the best certifications and why they matter.

The Importance of Medical Certification Exams

Medical certification exams serve several essential purposes:

  • Demonstrate competence and expertise: Certifications validate your knowledge and skills for a specific medical occupation or specialty. They provide assurance to employers and patients.
  • Enhance professional credibility: Earning reputable certifications enhances your professional standing and can improve job prospects. Many employers view certifications as a marker of dedication.
  • Meet industry standards: Certifications help uphold high standards of care, patient safety, and service delivery in the healthcare industry by ensuring professionals stay up-to-date with the latest advancements.

Now let’s look at 12 of the top certifications for healthcare practitioners. 

12 Best Medical Certification Exams

1. PTCB Practice Questions

PTCB Practice Questions are essential for pharmacy technicians preparing for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam. These practice questions help candidates familiarize themselves with the exam format, identify areas for improvement, and boost their confidence for the test. Medical certification exams overall play a crucial role in validating healthcare professionals’ competence, ensuring safe patient care, and opening doors to career advancements in various specialized medical fields.


The NCLEX-RN exam is a licensure requirement for registered nurses in the United States and Canada. It tests clinical knowledge, critical thinking, and skills required for entry-level nursing practice. The NCLEX-RN is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

3. Nurse Practitioner Certification Exams 

Nurse practitioners (NPs) can receive national certification in over 20 population-focused specialties like adult gerontology, pediatrics, women’s health, and more. Leading NP certification organizations include ANCC, AANP, PNCB, and NCC.

4. ACLS Certification

The Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification indicates advanced emergency cardiac care expertise. It covers skills like defibrillation, cardiovascular pharmacology, and cardiac arrest rhythms. The ACLS exam is administered by the American Heart Association (AHA).  

5. PALS Certification

The Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification demonstrates proficiency in preventing and managing respiratory and cardiac emergencies in infants and children. It is offered through the American Heart Association.


The Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification is accredited by the American Association of CriticalCare Nurses Certification Corporation. It verifies expertise and knowledge in critical care nursing practice.


The American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing Certification (ABPANC) offers CPAN for postanesthesia nurses, while CAPA is for perianesthesia advanced practice nurses. These validate skills in perianesthesia care.

8. CEN

The Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) exam certifies competence in emergency nursing. It covers areas like trauma, cardiology, pulmonology, toxicology, and trauma. The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) administers the exam. 


The Competency & Credentialing Institute offers the Certified Nurse in the Operating Room (CNOR) certification. It demonstrates expertise in perioperative nursing, including sterilization, anesthesia, and surgical procedures.

10. NEBC

The Nurse Executive – Board Certified (NEBC) credential validates skills in financial management, human resources, and strategic planning. It is ideal for nurse executives and managers.

11. Clinical Laboratory Scientist/Medical Technologist Certification

Offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), this exam certifies the competence of medical laboratory professionals. It covers areas like chemistry, hematology, microbiology, and molecular biology.

12. AAMA Certification

Offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the CMA certification exam validates the knowledge and skills of entry-level medical assistants. Topics include anatomy, terminology, office practices, and more.  

13. ARRT Certifications

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists offers numerous imaging certifications, including radiography, nuclear medicine technology, radiation therapy, magnetic resonance imaging, and sonography. 

How to Prepare for Medical Certification Exams?

Here are some tips to help you prepare for and pass medical certification exams:

Review exam content outlines- Understand the topics tested and allocate study time accordingly.

Study from recommended materials – Use prep books, practice tests, online courses, and other study resources.

Gain hands-on experience – Apply your skills and knowledge practically through rotations, clinics, volunteer work, or shadowing.

  • Pace yourself,  Don’t cram – Give yourself several weeks or months for effective exam prep.
  • Practice, practice, practice –  Work through lots of practice questions and mock exams.
  • Focus on weak areas –  Devote more time to topics you find challenging. Ask for help in understanding concepts.

Reduce test anxiety  Incorporate stress management like breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation into your routine. Get enough sleep the night before the exam.

Read more: 7 Advantages of Using Medical Billing Services for Telehealth Appointments

Why Are Medical Certification Exams Important?

Medical certification exams hold immense significance in the healthcare industry for multiple compelling reasons. The foremost objective of these exams is to assess the competence, knowledge, and expertise of healthcare professionals in their respective fields. By successfully passing these rigorous assessments, medical practitioners demonstrate their capability to deliver high-quality care and treatment to patients.

  • Patient safety is paramount in healthcare, and certified medical professionals are more likely to provide safe and effective care to patients. Certification exams act as a reliable tool to identify practitioners who have met the required standards of competence, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes and enhanced safety in medical practice.
  • Moreover, medical certification exams validate specialized knowledge in various areas of medicine. By obtaining certifications in specific fields, healthcare professionals substantiate their expertise and commitment to continuous learning and development within their chosen specialties.
  • Certifications are emblematic of professionalism and dedication to one’s profession. They signify a steadfast commitment to upholding high standards of practice and staying abreast of the latest advancements in medical knowledge and techniques.
  • Medical certifications also offer numerous career advancement opportunities. Employers often prioritize hiring certified professionals due to their proven expertise and demonstrated commitment to their professional growth.
  • Standardizing medical practice is a crucial aspect of ensuring consistent and reliable healthcare delivery. Certification exams play a pivotal role in achieving this goal by establishing specific criteria that practitioners must meet, fostering uniformity across various healthcare settings.

Medical certification exams serve as a cornerstone in maintaining the highest standards of medical practice, ensuring patient safety, and fostering excellence in the healthcare profession. They validate expertise, pave the way for professional growth, and ultimately contribute to improved healthcare outcomes for patients.


What is the pass rate for these exams?

Pass rates vary by exam but generally range from 7095% for first-time test takers. With adequate preparation, most candidates pass on their first attempt.

How often can these exams be taken?

There are limits on exam retakes, ranging from every 4590 days. Check with the specific certification organization.

What is the cost of these medical certification exams?

Costs range from about $200 to $500, depending on the particular exam. Some employers cover the exam fees.

The Bottom Line

Medical certifications validate your healthcare expertise and enhance your career advancement prospects. Earning reputable certifications like the NCLEX-RN, ACLS, CEN, or Clinical Laboratory Scientist exam can boost your resume. 

Follow the preparation tips, manage your time and anxiety, and put your skills and knowledge to the test. With the healthcare industry booming, now is an opportune time to obtain certification and advance your career.

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