What Are NAHP Certifications?

The National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP) is a well-known provider of healthcare certifications that CTE students earn to jumpstart their careers in the medical field.

In total, the NAHP offers nine distinct healthcare certifications:

  1. Medical Assistant (NRCMA)
  2. Phlebotomy Technician (NRCPT)
  3. Dental Assistant (NRCDA)
  4. Pharmacy Technician (NRCPhT)
  5. Patient Care Technician (NRCPCT)
  6. Administrative Health Assistant (NRCAHA)
  7. EKG Technician (NRCEKG)
  8. Coding Specialist (NRCCS)
  9. Surgical Technician (NRCST)

Each of these certifications aligns with an in-demand healthcare career in the United States.

On this page, you’ll learn the basics of each certification, why it’s important, and how digital curriculum can help students prepare for certification success.

Let’s start with the NRCMA certification.

1. Medical Assistant (NRCMA)

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The Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA) certification is one of the most popular NAHP certifications in the United States.

The NRCMA designation shows that an individual has proficiency in administrative and clinical skills needed in the medical assisting profession.

This includes having knowledge in nine areas of healthcare:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Clinical and laboratory procedures
  • Diseases
  • Health insurance and coding
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Medical office procedures
  • Medical terminology
  • Nutrition
  • Pharmacology

Overall, obtaining an NRCMA certification shows that an individual has a well-rounded skill set to work in both administrative and clinical capacities as a medical assistant.

This certification is a great option for anyone interested in the medical field, since employment opportunities for medical assistants will grow nearly 30% through 2026!

2. Phlebotomy Technician (NRCPT)

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The Nationally Registered Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NRCPT) certification denotes that someone can work in the field as a phlebotomy technician to collect and analyze blood and other specimens.

Specifically, the NAHP states that NRCPT certification recipients must be proficient in six areas:

  • Calculations and math conversions
  • Cell and body anatomy
  • Common medical abbreviations
  • Laboratory work
  • Medical terminology
  • Safety procedures
  • Units of measurement

Having these skills helps a phlebotomy technician stay efficient and accurate -- something that can help clients feel more comfortable when getting blood drawn!

Overall, the NRCPT certification is a good option for anyone who is interested in performing lab work, but still wants the chance to interact with clients on a regular basis.

3. Dental Assistant (NRCDA)

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The Nationally Registered Certified Dental Assistant (NRCDA) certification shows that a person has the knowledge and skills needed for a career in dental assisting.

Dental Assistants act as support to dentists, streamlining dental procedures and providing a better experience for clients.

In order to become certified by the NAHP, an individual must be proficient in eight dental assisting areas:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Dental instruments
  • Dental procedures
  • Dental terms
  • General healthcare knowledge
  • Laboratory skills
  • Pharmacology
  • Radiology

With a wide range of dental assisting skills and knowledge, an individual who earns the NRCDA certification will be able to assist dentists in practically any setting.

4. Pharmacy Technician (NRCPhT)

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The Nationally Registered Certified Pharmacy Technician (NRCPhT) certification shows that an individual has the knowledge and skills needed to assist pharmacists in daily tasks.

In order to pass the NAHP’s exam, an individual must be proficient in six key areas:

  • Abbreviations and terminology
  • Calculations and math conversions
  • Cell and body anatomy
  • Drug classes
  • Medical laws and ethics
  • Pharmacology

Having in-depth knowledge in these areas is critical to keeping clients healthy and safe -- especially when it comes to proper drug identification and drug interactions!

Working as a pharmacy technician is the perfect position for someone who is detail and process-oriented, but still enjoys face-to-face interaction with clients they serve.

5. Patient Care Technician (NRCPCT)

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The Nationally Registered Certified Patient Care Technician (NRCPCT) certification acknowledges that a person has the medical knowledge and clinical skills needed to work directly with patients in a healthcare facility.

Specifically, the NAHP notes that in order to become an NRCPCT recipient, that person needs to know:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • EKG operations and terminology
  • Patient care fundamentals
  • Laboratory skills
  • Medical laws and ethics
  • Medical terminology
  • Operational and administrative functions

Overall, being proficient in these seven areas will ensure a patient care technician delivers the best possible care to any patient they interact with!

If your students are looking for a rewarding career where they interact with patients on a daily basis, earning the NRCPCT certification is a great first step.

6. Administrative Health Assistant (NRCAHA)

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The Nationally Registered Certified Administrative Health Assistant (NRCAHA) certification designates that a person can work as an administrative health professional.

To earn the NAHP’s NRCAHA designation, students must be proficient in eight areas:

  • Bookkeeping procedures
  • Clerical functions
  • Coding
  • First aid
  • Insurance
  • Law and ethics
  • Operational functions
  • Professionalism

These skills help administrative health assistants provide a great experience for clients from the moment they enter the building until they leave after their appointment.

The NRCAHA certification is a great option for someone who wants to work in the medical field, but not be involved in clinical care and lab work!

7. EKG Technician (NRCEKG)

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The Nationally Registered Certified EKG Technician (NRCEKG) certification acknowledges a person has the skills and knowledge needed to administer and analyze EKGs.

Specifically, a person must be proficient in five areas:

  • Cardiac anatomy and physiology
  • EKG interpretation
  • EKG operations
  • EKG terms
  • Law and ethics

Having these skills is crucial for any EKG technician to measure and document accurate information to help doctors diagnose and treat clients!

Overall, the NRCEKG certification is a good choice for someone interested in working with clients while also monitoring and analyzing data.

8. Coding Specialist (NRCCS)

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The Nationally Registered Certified Coding Specialist (NRCCS) certification shows that a person has the diagnostic, procedural, coding, and billing knowledge needed to work specifically in the medical coding profession.

To become NRCCS certified a person must be proficient in seven areas:

  • Abbreviations and terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Insurance
  • Law and ethics
  • Office procedures and equipment

These skills help coding specialists document the correct information and follow the right procedures so a healthcare practice can properly process insurance.

9. Surgical Technician (NRCST)

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The Nationally Registered Certified Surgical Technician (NRCST) certification measures a person’s medical knowledge and clinical skills needed to work as a surgical technician.

To become NRCST certified, a person needs to have proficiency in six areas:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Surgical instruments
  • Surgical lab sterilization
  • Surgical procedures
  • Surgical terminology

Because surgical technicians regularly assist surgeons during life-saving operations, it’s crucial that they possess the right skills and knowledge!

Prep Your Students for Their NAHP Certification Exams!

No matter which NAHP certification exam your students will take, they all have one thing in common. You need to help your students prepare!

There are a variety of ways to prepare students for certification success, from test prep materials provided by the NAHP to a homemade curriculum you designed just for certification prep.

Test prep materials help you measure what your students have learned, but they don’t help you teach the material.

Plus, building a curriculum from scratch is a great way to provide a custom learning experience, but it could take an entire summer to complete.

That’s why hundreds of health science instructors have implemented a digital curriculum system to help teach classes and prepare students for certification success!

HealthCenter21 is a digital curriculum system designed to take students from zero to certified all while making your life easier.

This is made possible by providing up-to-date lessons, engaging activities, scenario-based learning, and automatically-graded assessments.

Want to learn more?

Click below to learn what HealthCenter21 is and how teachers use it for certification prep!

Learn More about Certification Prep with HealthCenter21