The Chicken or The Egg – What came first? The EMR Job or EMR Vendor Certification – What came first?

The EMR Job came first! I know, I know this is a long blog title (and hold on folks, this is also a very lengthy blog article as well) – but I felt there was no getting around it. Especially based on the most current blogger audience replies to my most popular (and Healthcare IT Today’s most popular) blog topic > I Got Certified For Healthcare IT Jobs – You Can too! One of my most recent blog responders named – Gob (2/23/11), made this statement:

“I have to laugh at the brilliant advice about getting Epic certified by first getting a job at a hospital. I don’t know what planet you folks are living on but here on Earth where I am – all of the hospital IT jobs require Epic certification…but you can’t get in the door unless you’re Epic certified and you can’t get Epic certified unless you get in the door?? WTF – brilliant hospital HR – just brilliant.”

And so because of Gob’s, mis-informed statements – I just had to take some time to bring to light, true to life information being continually shared in my blogs and most importantly I feel I need to emphasize a few facts from my perspective.  The truth is, Everyone who is currently EMR Vendor Certified began their careers regarding Healthcare IT EMR Implementations, Not being certified!  Most professionals in this field, that I’m aware of,  began with a variety of professional backgrounds including; clinical, IT technical, management or even corporate training/education backgrounds. When these professionals are hired by a Hospital or Clinic (and now a few consulting firms), specifically for EMR Job roles – these newly hired staff are sent out (at the employer’s expense) to the EMR Vendor’s location to attend EMR certification training. One of the keys to getting hired for an EMR job title, is to know what they are looking for.

FYI…Since I possess over 7 years of experience of being involved with this fast evolving Healthcare IT industry job field – I’m aware of a lot of this process from first-hand knowledge. This is a process that does not happen “overnight” – it requires training, practice, exams and then lots and lots of practical application of these newly-acquired skills in a live clinical environment. Once all of this is complete – many professionals then seek to become traveling EMR Vendor certified consultants, like myself, as I have detailed in my blogs . Many of these professionals decide to stay on as full-time employee Hospital and/or Clinic staff for the many, many different EMR Implementation staff job roles.

And Yes, I cover a lot of this process in detail in my new 2011 Webinar entitled – A “How To”Guide for EMR Vendor Certification… learn from my ‘walking, talking’ experience – that worked for me over 7 years ago and what is still relevant today!

Hey folks – following are just a few of the many, many ‘I Got Certified…” blog responders.  I have listed just a few of these responders here and grouped them as follows; Seekers, Doubters, and Supporters. Take a few minutes and read them and get a quick look at the variety of the replies.

Tell me what you think about…

What the Seekers have stated:

Lynn –
“Shirley, I was recently hired at a midsized hospital in their information services dept. I will be getting epic certified in ambulatory. My background is teaching and I am a chiropractor. I was wondering how difficult the epic certification training is for someone with my background?”

Trudy –
“I’m unemployed in the IT field at this time and looking for work as an Epic Consultant or find a Perm to hire position. I have a BS degree and enjoy with EPIC application. How can I get Epic Certified? Can I find a company who will take me under their organization and credential me? I am willing to do what it takes to find a company who will put trust in me. Most of the programs are expensive and I am financially struggling. Can anyone help me?” “Please help”

Robert –
“I’m unemployed and looking for work in medical IT. I have a BS in Computer science and currently working on my Masters in Health and Information Technology specializing in Informatics. I have a year left for the Masters. I also did 3 years as a contractor at Kaiser. How can I get Epic Certified without spending a lot of money? Most of the programs look expensive. Can anyone help me?”


Emily –
“Hi Shirley, My institution just got Epic. I’ll be sent to Wisconsin for training. I’m in the ClinDoc team for inpatient. How difficult is the certification? I’m a little bit nervous. I’m a bedside nurse…who just got hired to build Epic for the hospital.”

Aasi –
“Shirley, I am working Senior IT Analyst for big health care insurance firm for past 6 years. How would learning EPIC helpful for me. Is there anyway, i can get trained or certified??  Have been really trying to get in to EPIC past year. Please advise.”

What the Doubters have stated:

Gob –
I have to laugh at the brilliant advice about getting Epic certified by first getting a job at a hospital. I don’t know what planet you folks are living on but here on Earth where I am – all of the hospital IT jobs require Epic certification – I’m a very experienced IT professional and I agree with Rick above that it cannot be that much different from any other system out there that I have been involved with but it’s a nasty feedback loop at this point. If I could just get in the door I could learn Epic in a matter of weeks but you can’t get in the door unless you’re Epic certified and you can’t get Epic certified unless you get in the door?? WTF – brilliant hospital HR – just brilliant”.

Lori –
This is not helpful for the everyday it professional looking to get in healthcare IT. People should be checking their local state IT technologies agencies that are receiving funding by the stimulus to attend their local colleges or apply to a healthcare organization that may offer job training that offers certification. I am a director with 12 years experience and worked on the EMR vendors. Check also They have professional certification in Electronic Medical Records and Health Information Exchange and Healthcare IT. This is what i am doing obtaining all three certifications. Epic and Eclipsys 5.0 require vendor certification or through their partner consulting partners.”

Rick –
I do have to agree with the first comment made to this blog. The information is only helpful to those currently in the medical field. For those of us who have worked as consultants in medical facilities, there is no vehicle for us to become epic certified. Have I worked with it? Yes.(C’mon folks, it’s not Physics!) and it’s not that hard to grasp for the IT professional. So why is it I cannot find a school that offers certification?”And by the way, (with all due respect..) you’re nuts if you think the average person can just walk into a medical center and get them to offer position that will provide free training and certification. That happened TEN years ago and has no bearing on the present. I’m glad it happened for you and would like that to happen for me, but the medical field is not as generous as it once was in this regard.Lori and others; Thank you for some practical suggestions and links to sites that offer real opportunities to learn and get ahead. Here’s to better times for the healthcare industry including the repeal of what I call “Obuma dumma, Ding-dong care”

I have seven years using Cerner, CPOE and a MSIS in Information Science. I documented two EHRs 13 years ago. I have ten years IT experience. I have applied for many Cerner and EPIC position but I do not get any replies unless they are to ask if I have build experience. I think it is totally a crap-shoot on this. Certification is great but it is only for those who are working at those companies or for nurses.”

What the Supporters have stated:

Jessie – “Hello Shirley, Thanks for writing this (and your blog). Your honesty and candor really comes thru. As they say: luck is opportunity meeting preparation – Regards. Jessie”

J. Parker – “Hi Shirley “I followed the link above you have listed in an Oct comment and can’t understand why college credits aren’t being given for the same class through a Community college. I applied for this class and hope I’m accepted for the Jan 2011 class, training is six months and intensive I’m also making a career move from the IT field to Healthcare IT but I just started and was lucky to get in on a Epic go-live event at the community hospital here in Houston. This was fascinating to me and I loved everything about it ( Inpatient and Outpatient care) Wish there were more go-live events to attend as a freshman.
J. Parker”

Ellen –
“Hi Shirley, Thank you for all the info you shared. How difficult the exams you had mentioned are?  I currently work for a large healthcare network as a financial analyst in a data-warehousing environment and utilize Epic’s hospital billing module as a user. I would love to get Epic certified and eventually take on the consultant’s role.” Does one need to possess any special skills to be successful in this function?
Thank you,

About the author


Shirley Corsey

Shirley Corsey is a certified Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Consultant/Road Warrior, and owner of her own online training center for the Healthcare Information Technology industry. She is a seasoned Healthcare IT professional with over 25 years experience, with a recent career focus for the past 9 years in the EMR job market.


  • Hello. I am not in the medical industry. However i know that is where i want to be soon! i have 5 yrs experience with testing systems and being at a help desk. I know from reading that EPIC is the leading EMR. How would someone like myself get my feet in the door since it’s is nearly impossible for an outsider to become certified in this field?


  • Thanks for the information: it answered a lot of questions. It looks like there aren’t any upcoming webinars, but I will keep an eye out for the next one.

  • Aruna and Randeep,

    Epic Systems is the exclusive (and only to the staff of the Heallthcare facilities that utilized Epic’s EMR software) provider of training for their EMR application, and subsequent opportunity to become certified on their EMR application.

    I have developed a Webinar with information how I got my Epic EMR Vendor Certifications (3), and advice how you may be able to utilize my tips and leads regarding how you may be able to get hired by a Healthcare facility that sends its employee staff out for EMR Vendor training and subsequent opportunity for EMR Vendor Certification.

    Feel free to view/register for my webinar regarding this process in detail in my new webinar “A “Guide” to EMR Vendor Certification –

    Click the link and review what this webinar consists of – and feel free to register for the next session.

    (609) 561-6016

  • I am epic Hb certified with over 23 years within the HIM department. I’m looking to get some Build experience under my belt and no one I mean no one will give me a chance and with my background you would think someone would give me a chain and I am so frustrated because I deserve a chance. If anyone may know of a trainee position please let me know. My email address is

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