26 HEALTHCARE CAREERS | 2018 | www.advanceweb.com T he decision to pursue a healthcare career is not to be taken lightly. It can involve long hours of intensive study, demanding clinical rotations, and difficult licensure exams just to enter a healthcare field. Then once you become a healthcare professional, do you plan to practice as a generalist or does a certain clinical specialty catch your eye? There’s certainly no shortage of certifications to pursue, but the pros and cons frequently depend on the person and situation. ADVANCE spoke with two seasoned healthcare professionals, one a physical therapist and the other an occupational therapist, who have both obtained multiple specialty certifications. They discussed what motivated these choices, how their careers have benefited, and what advice they’d offer to fellow healthcare professionals who are consider- ing specialty certifications. ENHANCED UNDERSTANDING Keith J. Cronin, DPT, OCS, CSCS, has been a physical therapist for THE BENEFITS OF SPECIALIZATION Two veteran healthcare professionals discuss how obtaining specialty certifications has both improved their clinical skills and enhanced their careers By Brian W. Ferrie CERTIFICATION  |  HEALTHCARE CAREERS 2018 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000 Not Certified Certified IT PAYS TO SPECIALIZE HOW MUCH DOES SPECIALIZING IMPACT SALARY? According to our 2018 Salary Survey for Nursing, on average, the full-time salaries of professionals with specialty certifications is 23 percent higher for those without certification. For reference the chart shows the top- 20 specialties within nursing for salaries of professionals with and without specialty certifications. Top 5 specialties with largest pay variance between certified/not certified: • Dermatology: 52% • Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat: 49% • Neurology/Neuroscience: 49% • Clinical Nurse Specialist: 48% • Urgent Care: 47% ISTCOK