Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away. No, wait. Wrong story.

Let me start again.

In a former life, I was the owner of a hard-won and extensive set of healthcare credentials issued by the State of New York, and some other granting agencies and organizations. After I left NYS, I decided not to continue in that line of work and consequently did not transfer my credentials elsewhere to keep them active. This turns out to have been a huge miscalculation.

For reasons too mundane and numerous to list, I’ve now decided that perhaps I want to get back into a very narrow segment of the field. The very specific skills and knowledge needed are ones for which I was universally lauded, and were a tiny portion of my previous scope of practice.

Looking around at various job openings, I see that I am very well-qualified…except I don’t have the standalone piece of paper now needed for this.

OK. So, how can I obtain the piece of paper? Take a certification exam. Excellent. I kick ass on certification exams, and my skills and knowledge are more than compatible with the current standards. I can do the work and can pass the exam, I should be able to get the gig.

Nope. Can’t sit for the exam unless I have a different piece of paper from an “approved” program, attesting to my successful completion of a certain number of hours of training under the accredited program, the curriculum of which I could actually teach…and, in fact, used to teach in NYS.

But, OK. I get it. This isn’t too different from the first time around. I’ll find a program at a college and enroll.

Within a day of applying to the closest institution of higher education offering the required program this autumn, I was accepted. Awesome, no?


I received a packet of information via email with the requirements that must be met before I can even register for the specific courses needed for the credentialing program.

WTF? I can’t register for the courses even though I was accepted?


First, I must attend an orientation session for the program. Well, that seems OK.

There is only one offered this entire summer for a program beginning at the end of August. Still, I’m thinking, good thing I found out about it in time! I’ll sign up for it.

Nope. No reservations or sign-ups taken, even though there is limited seating. But if you don’t get a spot in the room, you are out of luck until…next summer!


OK, so I’ll add it to my calendar, make some arrangements that are disruptive to the entire household, and will make sure I am there a couple hours early.

In the meantime, let’s take another look at the list of requirements and see what else I can check off.

*double take*

They want…my ACT and SAT scores and high school transcripts? I graduated from high school in the early 1980s (and they know this), and I took those exams my junior year of high school. Why in the world would they want those?!

To prove “English proficiency” and “Algebra readiness.”

Now, I am a regularly published writer and professional editor with tear sheets, books, and lists of credits. I took higher math (unavoidable with a math professor dad!), but there is absolutely no math, and indeed, very little arithmetic, needed in this field. WTF?

You guessed it, my Glib friends! Turns out those are some kind of government mandate. Being a published writer in English language magazines is not considered “proof” of English language literacy. Why? Because that isn’t on the list from the government.

(Digression. High school guidance secretary, after several email exchanges: What was your name when you were here again?
Me: Same as it is now.
Secretary: Um…ok, I was…um, just checking. I’ll have to get back to you.
Me: *head desk*)

Ever dealt with the SAT and ACT folks trying to get nearly-40-year-old records? Gee, I have now. I don’t recommend it. Expensive. And takes weeks longer than I have to obtain the results.

Because, remember, I can’t register for the courses before I get this info. Oh, and, hey, there is only one section of this program being offered at a time I can take it. And, “don’t delay on sending in your requirements as courses tend to fill quickly.”

(I hear you wondering, “Why can’t she just use her college transcripts?” Because in the honors program I was in, we could design our own curriculum and neither English comp nor math had any place in what I was studying so aren’t on those transcripts.)

Well, this is silly. I’ll research in what other ways I can “prove” these things.

Turns out I can take placement tests. Seriously. Well, OK, if I have to, I can do that sooner than the other stuff will arrive.

Except. That costs money. And the tests can only be done supervised, on-site. During limited hours which are, again, household disruptive. With an appointment that is weeks out, really pushing my registration window.

Hmm. Before I spend any more cash, I better call the program chair and find out if there are even any openings in the course sections for which I need to register.

“We don’t really know.”

“Isn’t it shown right there in the computer roster?”

“Well, things change a lot over the summer, so we can’t really know right now. I would advise you to keep going through the process and then try to register.”


Back to the damn list.

Proof of Residency. Check!
Proof of Citizenship. Two for two!

New student orientation. Crap. “NSO will teach you how to succeed in a college environment!” At least as a “non-traditional” student, I will be able to complete this as a series of webinars. With tests for each section and a final exam which must be passed with over 70% correct answers. Truth. Could I make that up?

Meeting in person with academic advisor in counseling center. Really? For a certificate program? Yes! Mandatory, because it additionally grants college credit. Daytime hours, limited for summer, no appointments.

Required tests and/or immunizations for healthcare programs, which must be done at the institution’s health center (yes, limited, daytime hours):

TB 2-Step (9-day process) $9 ea
OR T-Spot (1-2 Business day) $54 ea
Hepatitis A Titre $22 ea
Hepatitis B (series of 3) $46 ea
Hepatitis B Titre (quantitative antibody) $35
Hepatitis C Antibody $22
Measles (proof of two) $78
Measles Titre $35
Mumps (proof of two) $78
Mumps Titre $52
Rubella (proof of two) $78
Rubella Titre $17
Varicella Titre $46
Tdap $46
Flu Shot $35

Notice something about many of those? If the titre doesn’t provide a satisfactory result, the shots are needed. They are mostly series. Which must be spaced out by several weeks. Which takes me out of the registration window completely. (Did I ever have rubella? Doubtful. Can’t ask Mom, she rudely died a few years ago, not anticipating the inconvenience to me now.)

Physical Exam (price varies)
Eye Exam (price varies)

Drug Screening – 10 panel, $50. Must be paid first at college cashier’s office after standing in line (daytime only hours, “limited for summer” !, then paperwork and receipt delivered to program secretary’s office, who will then issue the paperwork (“within 3 or 4 business days, but not Fridays during the summer”) to take to an off-site, non-local provider, with…yes, you know it, limited daytime hours, walk-ins only, no appointments.

Sheesh. This is starting to add up. Oh, yeah, and I have to pay for all this stuff before knowing if I’ll get a spot in the program.

Back to the list.

Fingerprinting $28 – outside vendor, not local, limited daytime hours, walk-in, no appointments. *sigh*
Background check $45 (Did I remember to list every address I’ve ever had?)

Healthcare Provider CPR/AED – off-site through AHA. This one, at least, will be easy to meet as the classes are routinely scheduled for evenings and Saturdays at loads of local venues.

Oh, look! Here’s another little wrinkle. This program is only offered with an August starting date. All the above requirements have to be met within 12 months of beginning the program in August. If I go ahead and pay for everything, get all the documents and tests completed during July to increase the chances of being able to register before the program is filled, and ultimately there is no space in the program this autumn…I have to do it all again to try to get in next year, because July is not within 12 months of next August.

But, hey, that’s the end of the list!

There is a cheery little message at the bottom:

Notification will be sent to your email account when you have been granted permission to register for the program courses. If you have met all other program requirements, you will be able to register for any section that has availability, as long as the registration window is still open. Remember: enrolling in one course does not mean you will be able to enroll in the other courses required for the program. You may have to register for those courses during a later program year.

TL:DR – I’m beginning to see why there is a shortage of healthcare workers, yo.