Career Ladders Strengthen Coordinators' Professional Development

Julie McCoy for HealthLeaders Media , October 12, 2010

Collaborate to iron out the details

Whitten, who is leading the initiative at her institution to create coordinator career paths, suggests bringing the stakeholders together and presenting your research on why a career ladder is needed. 

HR, GME administrators, the designated institutional official, and coordinators should all be at the table. Program directors are another important voice to include. 

“The program director needs to get involved to verify the fact that coordinators’ duties aren’t clerical anymore,” Whitten says. 

Review the job descriptions that you have collected and pull out the items that are relevant to coordinators at your institution. Modify the list to add any necessary institution-specific items. Categorize job functions and qualifications based on your research. 

As you develop professional levels for coordinators, ensure that:

  • Progression from one step to the next is logical and attainable
  • Knowledge, skills, and training needed are clearly distinguished for each level
  • Compensation aligns with added responsibilities and qualifications

Make sure your requirements are attainable. For example, to reach the second tier at Scott & White, coordinators must become certified by the National Board for Certification of Training Program Administrators (TAGME). 

“There was some pushback that certification wasn’t available for every specialty. Instead, we tell our coordinators to get involved with TAGME to develop the certification for those specialties,” Oliver says, adding that coordinators from Scott & White helped develop the certification for ophthalmology and diagnostic radiology. 

Grandfather in current coordinators for some requirements. For example, if a coordinator now needs a bachelor’s degree to move up, you may waive that requirement for current coordinators without the degree. 

Although you can expect pushback from some coordinators (some people just don’t like change), the majority should be on board, especially if they were involved in the development process. 

“Having the different levels shows that we respect the efforts coordinators have done and that they have additional contributions to make,” Oliver says.


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