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No, you do not need to be a medical doctor to have a well-paying career in the health care field. These careers are booming for two reasons: The population is aging, and people want to live as long as they can in good health, and new health care technologies add considerably to their options and your career opportunities. Begin by making up for key high school sciences you may have missed or dropped. You will need them to understand the technical side of your work. If you got poor marks, many credit science courses are available as online or continuing education, so you can better your marks, without leaving your current situation, before you apply.
Keep track of volunteer work you do that promotes health, because it demonstrates your serious interest in the field. Most fields allow you to start in an entry level position with a certificate from an accredited institution, but for career advancement, acquire an Associates or Bachelors degree. Make sure that the school you choose is accredited by the specific body responsible for that field.
Online programs should usually be supplemented by interaction with patients and training in use laboratories or with medical equipment. Health care careers in general often require shift work nursing, for example , but with advancement and seniority, you can choose shifts you find convenient more easily. The pharmacist must know the composition, effects, and possible side effects of common prescribed medications and treatments Patients must be counseled how to use medications and what to avoid when using them.
Many people over 50 have one or more chronic illnesses, managed principally by medications and associated lifestyle changes. The pharmacist may look after such patients over decades. The job includes medication knowledge and communicating good advice effectively to the patient. A pharmacist is expected to complete two years of undergraduate coursework in sciences, then pass a pharmacy college admission exam, for a four-year pharmacy program resulting in a doctorate in pharmacy a Pharm.
Physicians may delegate jobs like conducting complete physicals, providing treatment, counseling patients, or prescribing routine medication to an assistant, while attending to more specialized matters.
The need for physician assistants is expected to grow, especially in rural and inner-city health care, principally due to an aging population. Start with a college degree and get some health-related work experience.
After you complete an accredited, usually two-year program and pass a national exam, you can get a license. Continuing education is critical in this area, and you must complete hours every two years, learning the latest effective techniques.
Recertification is expected every six years. Working with X-rays, you will review the diagnosis and prescription provided to you by a radiologist, which includes preparing the equipment and maintaining accurate records. This is an excellent career choice for a person who is comfortable as a technical member of a medical team fighting serious illnesses like cancer.
Many patients have potentially serious problems, so a reassuring personality is important. Radiation is physics, and the body is biology and chemistry, so you are working with the physics aspect of the human body. When people have suffered a serious illness or injury, rehabilitation programs help them heal.
As a physical therapist, you assess their needs, and organize and carry out a program to help them. Start with a Bachelors degree science is best and then you need a degree from an accredited physical therapist program.
When people come back from serious illness or accident, they often need help relearning daily living tasks, especially if they have lost limbs, senses, or functions. In this career, you assess and help them relearn their daily life a well as possible. You need a Masters degree and national certification, as well as a license to practice. You keep track of dangerous radioactive elements that can provide life-saving information or, save lives. You must know your elements and your equipment, and how they interact.
You prepare the solutions and calculate the doses. You may be asked to help with the procedures. This is a great career for someone who really enjoys helping in, say, the fight against cancer, but has a strong physics side and is most productive when focusing on the technical issues. Certificate programs are available from a variety of settings: Some schools offer radiologic training online. A key career asset is the certificate issued after you pass the exam provided by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board, recognized by state licensing agencies throughout the United States, after which you can use the professional credential, CNMT.
In this career, you assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders caused by accident, disease, or birth defect.
You may teach a sign or symbolic language or help the patient use speech equipment. You may research speech and language problems.
A closely related degree is audiology hearing-related problems. This job will suit a science-minded person who enjoys working directly with people. Part of your job may include persuading people to keep trying, because success can be a matter of patience. As a dental hygienist , you help people keep and enjoy their teeth. That includes cleaning teeth, noticing any signs of disease, and educating patients on oral hygiene.
This is a good job for a person who likes detailed work but also has a flair for teaching and persuading. For this career, you need a two-year degree from a dental hygienist school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
A Bachelors or Masters may be required for lab work. The audiologist usually works with a physician, evaluating hearing, identifying problems, and prescribing and administering increasingly sophisticated hearing devices, mostly aimed at a growing aged population.
But school systems offer substantial career opportunities as well. Audiologists also assess noise levels in workplaces and conduct hearing protection programs. This career can put a music degree to work.
Your key task is helping people to adjust to and compensate for hearing loss in constructive ways. An audiologist typically has an MA, but there is a trend toward PhDs. You must be licensed in your state in order to practice. In this career, you serve people who have serious spinal or limb injuries or have lost all or parts of limbs due to accident, battle, or disease, by preparing and fitting orthopedic braces or prostheses. Prostheses have greatly improved due to batteries, microcomputers, and small sturdy circuit boards, allowing for greater function, with more advances to come.
New materials offer lighter, more natural designs, for both children and adults. Coaching skills are important because the prosthetist needs to persuade the depressed patient that the gains from learning to use the prosthesis are worth the investment of time and energy.
Nursing is such a broad profession that the simplest way to describe it appeared as a subtitle on the cover of a successful book, Nurse , by Peggy Anderson: The registered nurse is a highly skilled practitioner who may, for example, be the first person to assess patients in an emergency room triage nurse , supervise physician-directed treatments, or respond first to hospital emergencies. Most nurses specialize, and a few examples of specialties are patient education specialists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists.
It is a career into which one can grow in many directions. More and more hospitals are requiring that new hires have at least a BSN degree. Currently, there is a considerable shortage of nurses in the United States, to the extent that the government encourages nurses to immigrate. Many nursing programs are available online.
This career includes analyzing and evaluating the health and safety of work environments and designing programs to address issues. It includes inspections and enforcement personnel as well as environmental protection officers.
The job would suit a person who grasps the industry issues and has a flair for getting people to cooperate to avoid needless risks. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology had accredited 45 programs in health physics, industrial hygiene, and safety by This field offers a variety of degree options, including Associate degree and 1-year certificate programs, aimed at technicians. Online degrees are available. Diagnostic medical sonographers direct sound waves into the body via ultrasound equipment, to produce an image or live video that physicians can use in detecting abnormalities.
The growth of this field can be judged by the number of expecting parents who have an ultrasound of their baby on the fridge door, but ultrasound is routine for illnesses and injuries as well. As a result, the ultrasonographer is a critical member of the health care team, and needs the ability to get the patient to cooperate as well as to interpret the results quickly and accurately.
Online courses are available at the certificate, Associates degree, and Bachelors degree level. You may be taking your hands-on training at a local hospital. In this field, the technologist uses increasingly sophisticated laboratory equipment to prepare and conduct tests on human body fluids or cells, to identify disease agents or deficiencies, and then provides the information to physicians.
The field is excellent for the science-minded student who is eager to learn and use the most advanced health sciences technologies, and to upgrade skills as the opportunity arises. As in many growing fields, certificates, Associates or Bachelors degrees all provide entry, at least at the technician level. The critical path includes taking courses certified by a body such as National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences NAACLS or a similarly respected body, as well as getting certification by a professional association.
Note that the field encompasses so many sub-specialties that the student may be dealing with the requirements of different agencies and regulations, depending on the sub-specialty and the state. Online components are offered for many programs, but you need access to a laboratory as well. In this career you assess and treat breathing disorders. This includes working with the patient, but also maintaining patient records, and operating and maintaining the equipment.
Respiratory therapy is another of the fields that is growing due to an aging population. As of , there was a total of accredited programs in the United States, at colleges, universities, technical schools, and medical schools.
Bear in mind that in a growing field like this, you may be able to get financial or other help to upgrade your training. New technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging have greatly expanded the field, leading to much faster than average growth. An eagerness to keep up with advancing technology and the ability to work with anxious patients are key factors for success. You could enter the field through a certificate months , an Associates degree, or a Bachelors degree, with associate.
An associate degree is the most prevalent form of educational attainment among radiologic technologists and technicians. Research may be part of the work.
In addition to a Bachelors degree, there are often license, certification, or registration requirements, depending on the state. In this career, you will help the occupational therapist with treatments and procedures. The essential purpose of occupational therapy is to help patients recovering from injury or disease or dealing with developmental delay live in an environment suited to them.