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Health Science | Soft Skills | National Healthcareer Association (NHA)

Top Soft Skills Curriculum for CTE Health Science: PersonAbility vs HealthCenter21

March 4th, 2021 | 8 min. read

Katie Schneider

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.

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Health science teachers have told us they are facing increased pressure from employers looking for candidates with more than just technical know-how. These employers need healthcare workers who are professional, dependable, and can effectively communicate with everyone they meet.

To address the importance of these soft skills, CTE teachers often ask how our HealthCenter21 curriculum compares to other options, such as PersonAbility from NHA.

Though PersonAbility and HealthCenter21 can both help you teach soft skills to health science students, one may be better for your classes than the other.

To help you decide, we’ll answer the most common questions teachers ask about PersonAbility and HealthCenter21:

  1. What topics are covered?
  2. Who is the intended audience?
  3. What is the purpose?
  4. What is the cost?

You’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for a free trial of HealthCenter21 to determine if it’s right for you and your students.

1. What Soft Skills Are Included?


When choosing a curriculum resource, one of the most important considerations is whether it meets the needs of the topics you need to teach.

In this section, you’ll learn what healthcare soft skills you can teach with PersonAbility and HealthCenter21.

Topics You Can Teach with PersonAbility

PersonAbility, offered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), provides virtual, simulation-based content focused on eight specific soft skills:

  1. Active listening
  2. Adaptability and flexibility
  3. Communication skills
  4. Emotional intelligence
  5. Empathy and compassion
  6. Professionalism and personal brand
  7. Taking initiative
  8. Teamwork

PersonAbility focuses on the foundational, essential skills that are important for job placement and advancement. Individuals learn these skills through virtual activities along a linear learning track.

If you’re looking for a curriculum focused solely on healthcare soft skills, PersonAbility will likely be a great option for your program.

Topics You Can Teach with HealthCenter21

HealthCenter21, offered by AES, has a curriculum with more than 850 hours of teaching materials that focus on a combination of foundational knowledge, technical skills, and soft skills needed for many careers in healthcare.

With HealthCenter21, you can mix and match AES modules based on the specific skills and concepts you need to cover, without restrictions.

HealthCenter21 helps teach soft skills such as:

  1. Active listening
  2. Collaboration
  3. Cultural competence
  4. Customer service
  5. Empathy
  6. Integrity
  7. Leadership skills
  8. Problem-solving
  9. Professional appearance
  10. Professionalism
  11. Respect
  12. Teamwork
  13. Telephone etiquette
  14. Time management
  15. Verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  16. Written communication skills
  17. And more...

With the wide range of topics available, HealthCenter21 can help teachers from many states hit their standards and teach their classes.

If you’re looking for a health science curriculum that helps teach soft skills, hit your standards, and can prepare your students for healthcare certifications, HealthCenter21 is an excellent choice.

2. Who Is the Intended Audience?

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When choosing a high school health science curriculum, you should consider the resource’s intended audience.

If a curriculum isn’t relevant and appropriate for your students, it won’t be as successful in preparing them for their future careers.

In this section, you’ll learn who the intended audience is for PersonAbility and HealthCenter21.

PersonAbility’s Intended Audience

PersonAbility was designed for the employer space to help healthcare professionals improve soft skills. This means the material is geared towards adult learners who are already working in the medical field.

While CTE programs can purchase and use PersonaAbility as a resource, the materials are truly designed for working adults. Your students may not have the ability to conceptualize the examples within PersonAbilityif the material is based on having on-the-job experience.

HealthCenter21’s Intended Audience

On the other hand, HealthCenter21 was explicitly designed for secondary CTE health science courses, meaning that the curriculum is written in the appropriate context level for students in middle and high school.

There are a wide variety of modules to choose from depending on what grade level you teach, your courses, and how you want to implement the curriculum.

If you teach middle school health science, introductory topics like health career explorations, communications, and healthcare careers are excellent choices.

If you teach a high school course, you’d likely include more advanced topics such as anatomy and physiology, bloodborne pathogens, cultural diversity, and behavioral health.

For specific recommendations of learning modules for your classes, read our guides:

3. What Is The Purpose?

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Both PersonAbility and HealthCenter21 provide resources that can help you teach healthcare soft skills, but their purposes are different.

It’s essential to know each program’s purpose to understand how you can use the materials in your classroom.

In this section, you’ll learn what the intended purpose is for PersonAbility and HealthCenter21.

PersonAbility’s Purpose

PersonAbility’s material has a singular focus on healthcare soft skills that professionals should hone throughout their careers. Rather than a full curriculum, the lessons and activities supplied with PersonAbility are more supplemental resources to fill gaps.

Employers use PersonAbility for their employees to work on their soft skills, giving them the ability to earn an additional stackable certificate.

If you’re looking for an add-on resource with role-playing that helps supplement your existing health science curriculum, PersonAbility may be the right choice for you.

HealthCenter21’s Purpose

HealthCenter21 is a comprehensive curriculum for CTE health science courses. This means that the curriculum includes content to help you teach foundational knowledge, clinical skills, and soft skills - all within one resource.

With the purchase of HealthCenter21, you have access to a full curriculum and everything you need to teach healthcare soft skills and even branch into other healthcare topics.

Additionally, HealthCenter21 can help you prepare students for several industry certifications, including:

If you’re looking for an all-in-one, comprehensive curriculum that covers healthcare soft skills and more, HealthCenter21 may be the right choice for you.

4. What Is The Cost?

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When it comes to any resource for your health science classroom, you need to know how much it costs.

In some cases, the cost can end up as the deciding factor for what your administration will approve!

In this section, you’ll learn about pricing options for PersonAbility and HealthCenter21.

Cost of PersonAbility

PersonAbility charges a flat fee of $80 per access license, with no ability to recycle after a license has been used. This means that PersonAbility will be $80 per student using the program.

Let’s break this cost down by a few common scenarios:

  • 25 students needing access = $2,000
  • 100 students needing access = $8,000

If you only have a handful of students, this cost won’t break the bank. But it can quickly add up if you would want to use the resources with dozens of students over the course of a year.

The cost of PersonAbility may be too steep for a supplemental resource, depending on how many students you have and other expenses for your program.

Cost of HealthCenter21

HealthCenter21 is priced based on two factors: the number of active student licenses and the plan you need.

For HealthCenter21, you’ll purchase a certain number of licenses based on the number of students who will use the curriculum that year.

The licenses allow recycling between semesters, so if you have 50 students that need a license in the fall and 50 new students who need access in the spring, you only need to purchase a total of 50 licenses for the year.

Once you identify the number of licenses you need for the year, it's time to choose the plan that best fits your needs:

  • Classroom Plan: For a single teacher with a few health science classes.
  • Campus Plan: For multiple health science teachers in the same building.
  • District Plan: For programs with health science teachers across multiple buildings.

Let’s break down the cost of HealthCenter21 with two common scenarios:

  • Classroom plan with 25 student licenses = $1,800 per year
  • Campus plan with 100 student licenses = $6,000 per year

Watch the video below to learn more, or visit the HealthCenter21 pricing page:

When comparing the breadth of materials you get with HealthCenter21 versus PersonAbility, your program will receive more value from HealthCenter21 because it’s a full curriculum focused on more than just soft skills.

PersonAbility vs. HealthCenter21: Which Is Better for Teaching Soft Skills?

So which healthcare soft skills resource should you use? It all depends on your needs and the current resources you already have.

If you already have a solid health science curriculum and just need a supplemental resource to fill the gaps for soft skills, PersonAbility could be the right choice. However, keep in mind PersonAbility was designed with current healthcare professionals in mind.

If you teach a CTE health science program that prepares students for a variety of healthcare certification and careers, HealthCenter21 is an excellent resource to help you teach both technical and soft skills.

If HealthCenter21 sounds like it may be a good fit for you and your students, watch the demo video to learn more about the system:

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