Many people choose to pursue careers in healthcare because they offer a chance to help others. The field requires a significant time commitment, but it can be an extremely rewarding experience.
Almost every type of job is available in the field, from those that require only a high school diploma to those that need a doctorate. Here’s Your Guide To The Top Healthcare Jobs In This Country.
1. Registered Nurse
From Scrubs to Nurse Jackie to Chicago Med, we’ve all seen nurses portrayed in television. And while you may have a general idea of what nurses do on a daily basis, there’s actually much more to the role than simply donning a scrub suit and slipping on a stethoscope around their neck.
Nursing is one of the most varied healthcare jobs available, working collaboratively and independently with other medical professionals to provide care to patients of all ages and conditions. From home care nurses to school nurses to hospital nurses, the list of job opportunities is endless.
Typically, entry-level nurses possess an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) that includes a combination of liberal arts and nursing courses. RNs are in charge of patient assessments, diagnosis and care planning. They work with doctors and nurse practitioners to create the best care plan for each individual patient. They also directly supervise LPNs, LVNs and nursing students as needed.
A nursing career is extremely fulfilling and can be very financially rewarding. But the competition for healthcare jobs is fierce, and you must prepare well to get the job that’s right for you.
Start building your resume early by joining professional healthcare groups and seeking out healthcare-related volunteer opportunities. This will help you get a foot in the door, and it may even lead to an interview for a medical position.
2. Dental Hygienist
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that dental hygienists work in private dentists’ offices, community clinics, schools, hospitals and other health care facilities. They assist dentists with patient services and perform oral assessments, X-rays, radiographs and other procedures to help diagnose conditions, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Hygienists also educate patients on oral hygiene practices and provide preventative treatments, such as fluoride and pit and fissure sealants.
The minimum education requirement for dental hygienists is an associate degree. Many junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities and vocational schools offer dental hygiene programs. Students who have graduated from an accredited program are eligible to apply for licensure, which requires passing a national written examination and a clinical dental hygiene exam. Depending on the state, the written exam may consist of multiple-choice questions or case studies. The clinical exam will likely involve working on fake teeth or simulated mouths.
To prepare for these exams, students should have excellent math and science skills. Many dental hygiene programs require applicants to take prerequisite courses, such as biology and chemistry, so it’s important to get high marks in those classes in high school. In addition, prospective hygienists should seek out opportunities to volunteer in the field and complete clinical internships during their training.
While an associate degree is the minimum educational requirement for this profession, some hygienists opt to continue their education and earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees. These advanced degrees can lead to career advancement in areas such as research, administration and public health. They can also open doors for future career options in dentistry, such as becoming a dentist or dental surgeon. In some states, dental hygienists can even advance to supervisory roles in the workplace.
3. Physical Therapy Aide
The role of physical therapy aides in the field of healthcare is an important one. They are a type of health care support worker that performs clerical and physical duties for PTs and PTAs. They work in a variety of settings including private clinics, hospitals, home health agencies, schools and many more. A high school diploma is typically the minimum requirement to become a physical therapy aide, but it is not uncommon for some people to start in this career while studying to become a physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant (PTA).
In this role, you will be working directly under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist to help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses. You will be responsible for tasks such as preparing equipment and cleaning up patient areas, escorting patients from room to room within the facility, and handling clerical work such as scheduling sessions or filling out insurance forms.
You may also be asked to assist in certain treatments such as massages and the application of heat or cold packs to promote healing. In addition, you will be required to observe and record the progress of each patient throughout their treatment.
A career as a physical therapist aide can be very rewarding, especially in the fields of sports medicine or rehabilitation. Sports PTAs are known to help professional athletes prevent and recover from training-related injuries, while rehab aides in hospitals focus on helping patients who have undergone surgeries or suffered severe illnesses or accidents.
4. Medical Transcriptionist
The healthcare industry has many roles that need filling. While doctors and nurses are the most obvious professionals to hire, there are a number of other positions that help ensure patient care is carried out effectively. One of those positions is a medical transcriptionist. Medical transcriptionists transcribe the audio recorded by physicians and healthcare practitioners into text documents. They then edit and return these reports for review, signature, or corrections.
Generally, these records include patient appointments, emergency room visits, diagnostic imaging studies, operations, and chart reviews. The MT will also document any correspondence, patient-care information, statistics, or administrative material as needed. Additionally, they will identify any errors in the transcribed documents and correct them as necessary.
The key skills of a medical transcriptionist are typing speed and accuracy, listening ability, and knowledge of common medical terms, jargon, abbreviations, and formats. Those interested in the role should also have strong English and writing skills, as well as an understanding of HIPAA policies and patient confidentiality. Finally, a MT should be self-motivated as the job can be quite independent and often requires working alone for long periods of time.
Hospitals and healthcare providers often outsource their high-volume transcription needs to professional transcription companies. This allows them to avoid paying in-house transcribers, which is a cost that can easily add up over a long period of time. Additionally, it prevents them from having to deal with the resulting problems of inaccuracies and missed details in medical transcripts. In addition, it gives the healthcare provider a chance to avoid potential malpractice lawsuits as a result of poor documentation. Whether the in-house transcription staff is human or AI, errors will still occur, but they can be reduced by hiring a reputable and experienced transcription company.
5. Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians play an important role in health care by assisting pharmacists with processing prescription requests, arranging and labeling medications, and preparing dispensary orders. They also help with billing, inventory management, and managing customer information. They are often required to interact with upset patients and resolve issues, so good communication skills are essential for this profession. They also help manage patient medication lists and assist with completing insurance claim forms. Pharmacy technicians can work in a variety of environments, including retail, hospital, and laboratory settings.
While some pharmacy technicians get their training on the job, most enroll in a formal program to receive specialized education and hands-on training. There are certificate programs that can be completed in as few as nine months, or associate’s degree programs that take about two years to complete and include an internship or externship. Once they have finished their training, they must pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) to become certified.
Working as a pharmacy technician is a great way to gain valuable experience in the health care field, pay for college, or raise a family without incurring heavy student debt. Moreover, it is one of the few careers in health care that can be done at home, which makes it ideal for working adults with busy schedules. Formal education and national certification can also boost a pharmacy technician’s long-term earning potential. Depending on where they work, this can be as much as $36,740 per year.