If you have landed on this article, you’re either searching “epic” as the most overused pronoun of the last few years, or you already know that I’m talking about Epic Systems of Verona, WI. Epic Systems has grown to become the premier software for healthcare organizations in the U.S. Over half of U.S. patients are on the Epic medical record at some facility. The main reason for their success is that the software runs on a single unified platform and database for all phases of healthcare- from cradle to grave. Traditionally, healthcare facilities had to purchase separate software systems for departments such as the Birth Center, the ER, ICU, Primary Care, Billing, and many others. Users were then forced to learn and log into many different programs in the course of their jobs. Epic’s software is divided by “modules” that all function according to the needs of the respective departments, but allow users to log into just one system. This has led to hospitals all over the country implementing Epic at lightning speed, creating thousands of highly-paid jobs.

However, if you want to work with Epic software, there are several barriers to entry:

  • Epic requires a four-year degree before even considering a candidate. The degree does not have to be in a technical field, but they tend to only look at graduates with GPAs in the higher 3 point range. They tend to recruit directly from universities.
  • Epic requires almost all of their employees to work at their home office in Verona, WI. Granted, it’s a sprawling, awesome campus with incredible architecture and features- but if you’re not willing to move to Wisconsin, you won’t likely have a shot at direct employment.
  • All employees of Epic, as well as technical staff of Epic’s customers must be certified for specific modules after attending classes at their headquarters. Most classes require on-site attendance, but testing is done at your normal home location.
  • You cannot just attend classes and attain certification on your own.

The other option is to get hired with a consulting firm which supports Epic implementations. The main challenge with this approach is that most consulting groups expect you to already have Epic certification before they will consider you. Many consultants are former Epic employees. However, if you have previous Healthcare IT experience, you may be able to find a consulting group who will hire you and then pay to get you certified. This is a significant financial investment in the class fees and travel expenses, so if you are fortunate enough to go this route, be expected to commit lots of time and hard work toward your sponsoring consulting group.

The last reasonable option to gain Epic certification is to hire with a hospital or other healthcare system who either has implemented, or is in the process of implementing Epic. To find out if a hospital has Epic, you can search press releases and news from the hospital’s website to find announcements of their Epic signing or activation. If you go this route, you should consider applying for any job for which you are qualified, just to get you in the door. Then you can begin to prove yourself and build relationships in the IT department.

Once you land that “Epic” job, be prepared to dedicate several months to attend classes; and study, study, study! The classes are not easy, but those with average intelligence, above-average motivation, and at least some technical skills can definitely succeed. Epic’s materials and training support are the best you’ll find. I currently have four Epic certifications, and know that if I can do it, you can too.

Epic Campus
Credit: FC Photography