Careers in Healthcare
Helping others, making a difference, an opportunity for professional growth, these are but a few of the reasons why working in the medical field has such strong appeal as a career. But many choose not to pursue a medical career because of the lengthy educational requirements, the financial hardship, and time commitment associated with a medical education. But there are many positions in the allied health field with training programs that can be completed in two years or less, some of which can even be taken online.
The following are a few of the positions that lead to a promising career; in addition, all these positions provide invaluable experience for career advancement. The health care industry is expected to grow rapidly as the demand for health care increases with a growing and aging population. This, along with health care reform, promises opportunity for those who position themselves in this dynamic field.
Dental assistants play an important role in supporting both the dentist and patient. Duties include preparing patients for dental exams, setting up dental tools, taking and developing x-rays, assisting the dentist during examinations or dental procedures, and assisting in managing the dental office. Work conditions and hours are good and the demand for dental assistants is expected to continue to rise over the next five years. Dental assistant training takes one to two years to complete, depending on whether training comes from a certificate program or through an associate’s degree. The average annual income is $34,000, with an earning potential of $40,000.
Medical assistants have diverse responsibilities, including managing medical records, providing patient care through gathering patient information and medical background, and assisting during examinations. The demand for medical assistants is projected to grow in the future and it can lead to other opportunities within the medical field.
Completion of educational requirements takes one year for a certificate program and two years for an associate’s degree. Income can range from $31,000 to $39,000, depending on the educational background, and hospitals tend to pay more than medical offices.
Medical Coding Specialist
Medical coding involves translating the diagnosis and treatments found in medical records into a universal code that can be used by insurance companies for the purpose of billing and payments. Medical coding specialists enjoy a lot of flexibility in their work. They can work for a medical facility as a permanent employee, or they can work as a private contractor. As a private contractor, a medical coding specialist can work for agencies, where they select their own work assignments. Medical coding specialists can travel the country as they work on different assignments on a temporary basis. Graduation from an accredited program is required, which takes less than a year. Medical coding specialists earn an average of $34,000; however, contractors can earn more, and graduates can enjoy a growing demand for their specialty.
Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists by reviewing prescriptions for accuracy, preparing and dispersing medication, assisting in investigational drug studies, and maintaining patient records. They enjoy employment in a variety of settings, including hospitals and pharmacies. The position provides numerous opportunities for advancement due to the rapid growth of the health care field. Many pharmacy technician programs take less than two years to complete. The average salary is $25,000.