One of the common questions
The credential issuing body is valid
Certifications are useful in fowarding a career
You understand the expectations you have and the direction you want to take your career
WHICH ASHE CERTIFICATION SHOULD I PURSUE?
WHO IS ASHE?
The American Society for Healthcare Engineering, or ASHE, is the largest and most recognized association for healthcare facility professionals. “With more than 12,000 members, ASHE is the largest association devoted to professionals who design, build, maintain, and operate hospitals and other health care facilities. ASHE members include health care facility managers, engineers, architects, designers, constructors, infection control specialists, and others.” ASHE seeks to provide direction, training, and standardization of best practices for facility managers, designers, and constructors. These practices are geared toward code compliance and maintaining the best environments for patients and visitors of healthcare facilities. As they claim “ASHE is committed to our members, the facilities they build and maintain, and the patients they serve.”
WHY PURSUE AN ASHE CERTIFICATION?
Choosing to acquire either the Certified Health Facility Manager (CHFM) or Certified Healthcare Constructor (CHC) certification is an aspiration worth pursuing. It will create opportunities for career advancement and denotes a stability and competency that healthcare organizations often demand. Part of this is associated with the issuing body (ASHE) being a sub-group of the American Hospital Association (AHA), and part of the prestige is due to the requirements being strict enough that not everybody can pay some money and walk out with the certification. Before being able to take the test one must demonstrate 5-10 years of healthcare facility or construction experience, with a college degree reducing the time of direct experience needed.
I have searched for information detailing how the CHFM or CHC credentials affect one’s career and have discovered that there’s really not a whole lot of information out there beyond two surveys done by Health Facility Manager Magazine. The survey I initially became acquainted with was their 2012 Salary Survey, which was updated in 2015. Both articles are excellent reading and offer great insight to the healthcare facility world. The most exciting news for those seeking certifications is found on page 3 of the 2015 survey, where it outlines that credential holders are payed up to 25% more than non-credential holders, and that credential holders are preferred when it comes to making hiring decisions.
Personally, I saw the benefits of the certification when shortly after I passed my CHC credential exam I received a 20% raise and a promotion.
The third variable when deciding which ASHE certification to pursue is yourself and your career and life aspirations. Healthcare contractors can be very well compensated, but frequently have a greater instability than facility managers do. Facility managers can be well compensated, but generally have more stability than contractors. Your desires and interests all play a role in the best path for you.
WHICH ASHE CERTIFICATION IS BEST FOR ME?
So, back to the first question: “Which ASHE certification should I get?” It really depends on you and your chosen career path. Facility Managers (CHFM) and hospital constructors (CHC) both have challenging and rewarding careers. The facility manager career track is typically very stable and suited to someone who likes a routine and going to the same place to work every day. The healthcare constructor career track can be more variable and offers something new every day, but this newness may require traveling to different construction sites as construction projects inevitably come to an end. Ultimately, the knowledge required for the CHFM and CHC certifications has a high degree of overlap. As I looked for practice exams, study guides, and materials to study for the CHC exam, much of what I studied was CHFM material. Either credential is likely preferred for open management positions dealing directly with healthcare facilities. However, having the CHC credential will give you more confidence in applying for project type positions, while the CHFM credential will give you more confidence in applying for operations type positions.