NHA Test Prep vs. HealthCenter21: What's the Difference? Blog Feature
Katie Schneider

By: Katie Schneider on April 15th, 2021

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NHA Test Prep vs. HealthCenter21: What's the Difference?

Health Science | HealthCenter21 | National Healthcareer Association (NHA)

Are you adding a new NHA certification to your CTE health science program? If so, you need to ensure you have the right materials to prepare your students for success.

While AES isn’t a certification provider, hundreds of health science programs use our system to prepare students for NHA certifications every year.

Because of this, teachers and admins often wonder whether they should use our curriculum or the NHA test prep materials for their new certification offerings.

Each one has its own strengths and purpose within a health science certification program. Many teachers even use them together to build a strong knowledge and skills base for students sitting for certification.

In this article, you’ll learn the differences between the AES curriculum and NHA test prep materials according to three areas:

  • Purpose
  • Intended audience
  • How teachers use it to prepare students for certification

By understanding these differences, you’ll be able to determine the best way to meet your program’s certification needs by using NHA test prep materials, HealthCenter21, or both.


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When considering a new resource to help your students prepare for NHA certifications, understanding its purpose is a crucial step.

Depending on the needs of your program, test prep materials may suffice. However, newer programs may find they need more than just study guides and practice tests.

The Purpose of NHA’s Test Prep Materials

NHA provides test-plan-specific resources that prepare students to take their NHA certification exams.

For each health science certification, NHA offers these options:

  • An online study guide
  • A printed study guide
  • An online practice test
  • A package with the online study guide and practice test

Each of these test prep materials focuses on the specific skills and knowledge a candidate must have to pass their NHA certification exams.

For example, the NHA CCMA resources will strictly offer content found on the CCMA exam.

If you need a way to help refresh your students’ memory and gauge how ready they are for exam day, the NHA study guides and practice tests are a perfect fit.

The Purpose of HealthCenter21

HealthCenter21 is a full-fledged digital curriculum that CTE health science teachers use to teach classes that lead students to earn NHA certifications.

The curriculum includes more than 850 hours of blended learning materials that act as a core foundation to help students learn the knowledge and skills needed for success in their pathway and future healthcare careers.

Because of the amount of curriculum content available, you can use HealthCenter21 to prepare your students for multiple certification exams.  Whether students are stacking credentials or different groups are pursuing unique certifications, HealthCenter21 can support your students for success! 

We’ve also created guides based on the NHA test plans for you to quickly select content for students preparing for these exams:

If you’re looking for a curriculum that helps you teach classes that prepare your students for NHA certifications, HealthCenter21 is a great choice.

Intended Audience

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Understanding who the materials are designed for is just as important as knowing their purpose.

After all, if a resource is too basic or advanced for your students, it could result in missing your program’s certification goals!

NHA’s Intended Audience

As mentioned above, the NHA test prep materials act as the last step for students preparing to take certification exams.

Your students must be 18 years old or within one year of graduating from an accredited CTE program to take an NHA certification exam.

That means the NHA materials are only applicable for health science students in their senior year of high school.

HealthCenter21’s Intended Audience

HealthCenter21 is designed for CTE middle and high school health science courses.

Depending on what grade level you teach, what certifications you plan to focus on, and how you want to implement the curriculum, the recommended modules will vary.

If you teach middle school courses, introductory topics such as health career exploration, wellness and nutrition, communications, and client status will work best.

If you teach a high school course, you’d include more advanced topics such as anatomy and physiology, electronic health records, bloodborne pathogens, emergency care, and behavioral health.

We also provide alignments to each NHA certification to help you choose the content most appropriate to your needs.

When implementing HealthCenter21, the AES team can help you determine which modules best align with your needs based on your classes and certification goals.

How Teachers Use It to Prepare Students for Certifications

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You’re here to learn whether NHA materials or HealthCenter21 will better meet your needs.

That means you want to know how each one helps prepare your students for certification success!

How Teachers Use NHA Materials for Certification Prep

NHA provides two types of resources to help students prepare for certifications - study guides and practice tests.

The NHA study guides are an excellent way for your students to review content leading up to exam day. The online study guides include practice and videos to reinforce concepts.

The practice tests help you gauge a student’s readiness for the exam. If a student struggles with a particular area on the practice test, they can do a focused review based on personalized study recommendations from NHA.

Overall, the NHA test prep materials allow students to fine-tune their skills and knowledge before taking the certification exam.

How Teachers Use HealthCenter21 for Certification Prep

Health science instructors use HealthCenter21 as their core curriculum to teach daily classes that introduce concepts and skills students need to know for certification and their future careers.

By leveraging the consistent structure of the AES course framework, teachers can maximize student understanding and increase long-term information retention.

When using HealthCenter21 to prepare students for certifications, we often recommend using HealthCenter21 in conjunction with supplemental test prep resources.

Teachers start by using HealthCenter21 to introduce concepts, give students hands-on skills practice, and assess student progress.

Once their students have the key information and skills down, they can implement the study guides and practice tests to reinforce the learning and help students review for the exam.

Here are a few results educators like you have seen since implementing HealthCenter21 in their programs:

“Our teachers prepare students for the NHA CMAA certification, and they use mostly HealthCenter21. With HealthCenter21, Harmony High School has a 100% pass rate.”

Griselle Figueroa-Martorell

School District of Osceola County, FL

“For my Medical Micro class, HealthCenter21 is a great asset for the Certified Phlebotomy Technician exam. In fact, my students told me that the AES materials for Phlebotomy helped more for passing their certification exam than the certification preparation materials.”

Regina Jackson, Health Science Instructor

DeBakey High School for Health Professions, TX

HealthCenter21 helps you teach students the information and skills they need for success in your pathway, on certification exams, and in their future careers.

Which One Is Right for Your Program’s Certification Needs?

Overall, a successful health science certification program requires both foundational curriculum and certification prep resources.

So choosing to implement the NHA test prep materials or HealthCenter21 depends on your goals and existing instructional resources.

If you already have a full health science curriculum, you likely only need the last piece of test prep materials from NHA.

If you already have study guides and practice tests for your students but need help teaching the foundational skills and concepts, HealthCenter21 can fill that gap.

If you’re building a new certification course and need both pieces of the puzzle, you may find using HealthCenter21 and the NHA materials together is the best option!

Want to learn more about how you can use HealthCenter21 to prepare your students for certification success? Dive into our certification alignments to discover how the curriculum could fit into your program:

Discover Which Health Science Certifications AES Aligns With >


About Katie Schneider

As an account manager at AES, Katie works with teachers and administrators every day to better understand how she can help them meet their goals.