How to Choose the Right Advocacy Educational Program for You
Choose from among the existing programs based on your gap analysis.
Whether you plan to go the independent route, or you hope to find someone to employ you, you should now have your gap analysis in hand. Your list of needs will, of course, vary according to what you do know, what you don’t know, and what you have decided you need to learn.
Just a few more questions to ask and assess and you’ll know what you need to do:
• Program Delivery:
Do you prefer to go to classes, in-person, with other people in your class? Or does the reality of your location and your schedule mean you’ll need to do your coursework online?
Depending on your location, you may or may not have a choice about where or how you will access the education you seek. Don’t spend a lot of time answering this question until you look at all the available patient-advocacy courses and programs to see if they are really accessible in the manner you’d like.
You’ll find more and more online options as time goes on. You’ll also find more short-term (weekend) type programs. Or you may be one of the lucky people who find that their educational options are located nearby, making it easy to take courses in person.
• What is your education budget? How much do you have to spend on education?
These questions may seem obvious because none of us wants to spend any more than we have to. Yet your best choice may be pricier than others or cost more than you expected.
The key is to weigh value against possibilities. Figure out how much you can spend by determining how easily you’ll be able to pay yourself back. A more comprehensive, year-long course may seem expensive. But what you learn during the course may allow you to offer more services – and be hired more quickly or be able to charge potential clients more if you start your own business. A short series of weekend courses may give you the ability to say you finished something. But if that doesn’t really improve your skills or knowledge base, then it’s not a good use of your money.
That means your education budget shouldn’t be ruled solely by your current bank account. If you find the perfect course for you, don’t be afraid to inquire about scholarships, discounts or a way to spread the payments out over a period of time. The extra cost may well be worth that short-term sacrifice.
• Do you wish to be a certified advocate?
As of 2018, there is no requirement from the Patient Advocate Certification Board to take any courses or programs if your only goal is to call yourself “certified.”
What you may want to do is to ask whether any specific course or curriculum offers certification exam preparation within its courses, or even as a separate course, to help you determine if it’s the right program for you.
You’ve now got all the information you need for choosing the right programs for you.
Return to the master list of courses and programs, broken out by their curricula or access, and try to match your needs as determined by your gap analysis with the programs that are available.
And just so you know – new courses and programs are being offered all the time. If you’d like to be notified when new ones come available, please sign up below.