Starting a health care career is a great choice!
But what position do you want to be?
To help you decide, we cover 10 health care positions poised for strong job growth. We describe the job’s duties and also cover where you can find training classes to prepare you for these jobs.
The medical field is growing everyday and it’s the perfect time to get your foot in the door. Check out some of the positions below to see how you can get started.
Working under the supervision of nurses and doctors, a CNA will assist patients in their day-to-day activities; these include feeding, dressing, and monitoring. CNAs work the closest with patients and will develop close relationships with them.
Requirements: A high school degree or GED, and completion of a training program, ending in getting a certification.
Certification programs on average last a year and will help prepare you for all the duties of a CNA. No prior medical work experience is required.
Phlebotomists are responsible for taking blood samples from patients and preparing the samples for laboratory testing. This job requires good communication skills to talk with and explain the procedure to patients, while calming them down. Attention to detail is also important, to ensure proper record keeping and completing each phlebotomy session successfully.
Requirements: High school diploma or GED, and the completion of a certification course.
Training courses can be completed within a few weeks or a couple semesters. Certification is not required, but many employers will not hire someone without it.
In charge of performing the 4-hour dialysis procedure that removes metabolic waste from the blood. Patients who need this procedure have a disease, usually diabetes, which inhibits their kidneys from cleaning their blood. Technicians must sterilize and maintain the equipment for the procedure and react to any emergencies.
Average Salary: $35,558
Requirements: High school diploma or GED and the completion of a training program, ending with a certification test.
Certification requirements are different for each state, and some programs may only accept people with prior medical experience. Having an Associate’s degree is a plus, but is not required.
4. Ultrasound Technician
In charge of performing ultrasound imaging on expecting mothers or other patients who require one. Must have a working knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and the technology they will be using. Will need to accurately position the patient, and be able to distinguish normal from abnormal images to assist doctors.
Average Salary: $67,170
Requirements: Associate’s degree and/or completion an accredited certification program.
Some employers will only hire people with both of the above education, but some will hire you with just the certification. If you are in high school and want to get certified when you graduate you should take classes that focus on science, math, and technology. The certification programs usually last one year. With more experience you can get additional training in more specialized areas of ultrasound imaging.
5. X-Ray Technician
Take images of the inside of the human body using specialized radiation technology. Must answer questions of patients and take the required images. During imaging the technician must be aware of the affects of radiation on the body, and shield any areas that are not part of the imaging process. Will work with specific CT, MRI, mammography machines, and more.
Average Salary: $55,200
Requirements: Beginning in 2015, new technicians must have an Associate’s degree and certification.
Within in 3 years of completing your Associate’s degree you must get your certification through an accredited program or on-the-job training.
6. Pharmacy Technician
While working under the supervision of a licensed Pharmacist, the pharmacy tech will prepare prescriptions by calculating dosage, measuring drugs, and mixing drugs. They will then give the prescription to the patient while making sure they understand how to accurately take their prescription and answer any questions they may have.
Average Salary: $29,320
Requirements: High school diploma or GED, and most states require a certification.
Not all states require the certification, but most employers will still expect it. The training program takes about 1 year, or you can get an Associate’s degree. Some jobs will pay for their employees to complete the certification, if you are already working in the medical field.
7. Medical Assistant
The primary responsibility of this job is to assist doctors while they examine and treat patients. Often they will interview the patient to get a medical history, measure their vital signs, and record information. Sometimes they may also need to draw blood and prepare specimens that will be sent to the laboratory.
Average Salary: $29,370
Requirements: High school diploma or GED.
There is a certification, but it is optional. Many medical assistants will only go through on-the-job training. If you are a high school student wanting to get into the medical field, this is a good place to start. It will be helpful to have some medical knowledge and understand the terminology.
The primary function of this job is patient care. Nurses evaluate the patients, preform diagnostic tests, and implement patient-specific treatment. They will also assist doctors during exams and procedure. Interacting with patients and their families is important, and they help establish future health goals and administer medications.
Average Salary: $65,470
Requirements: Associate’s degree of Science in Nursing and nursing license.
Completing an associate’s degree and becoming licensed is all that is required for entry level nursing positions. Many will go on to complete their Bachelors of Science, which will lead to administrative positions. Some will go on to complete their Masters in Nursing, but this is usually after a few years of experience in the field.
9. Physician’s Assistant
This is a mid-level position in the medical field. Responsibilities include taking patient history, conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, writing prescriptions, and assisting doctors during surgeries. This position is usually directly under a doctor, and can perform many important duties without supervision.
Average Salary: $92,970
Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, medical volunteer or work experience, completion of the GRE test, a 3-year training program, and 2,000 hours clinical experience. Then they must take a certification test and become licensed.
Someone who has been working in the medical field already may decide to pursue this career option. Some in this position may one day decide to get their Doctorate in Medicine.
In charge of patient care and diagnosis. Will examine and treat the patients for injuries and disease, while trying to prevent further medical problems. Must be able to diagnose, treat, and implement a recovery plan for sick or injured patients. Will prescribe medications, vaccinations, and request medical tests for diagnosis.
Average Salary: $189,000
Requirements: Bachelor’s of Science, completion of the MCAT test, Doctorate in Medicine, and completion of medical residency.
The Bachelor’s degree is usually in Biology, but medical schools will accept many other degrees. While students are getting their Doctorate they will complete a series of tests that are required to get their medical license. Residencies usually last between 3 and 7 years. This position has a lot of variations within it, but students will not decide their specialization until they have started their residency.