Love to help others and want to enter a field that's hiring? Check out these hot health care careers.
Want to pursue a career that lets you help people and is in-demand? You might want to look to health care.
"Health care jobs are expanding in nearly every area, thanks to the graying of the population and massive investment by pharmaceutical and medical device companies," says Joel Garfinkle, a career coach and author of "Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level."
"There are plenty of opportunities for nurses, doctors, technicians, assistants, and a variety of other support staff," adds Garfinkle.
So whether you're looking to kick off your career or just want a major change-up, check out our list of health care careers with potentially promising outlooks.
Career #1 - Medical and Health Services Manager
Want to pursue a health care career with big potential? A career as a medical and health services manager might be worth considering, especially if you like being in charge.
These managers could plan, direct, or coordinate what goes on at a health care facility, with duties like creating work schedules or handling patient billing, says the U.S. Department of Labor. You might find these managers running an entire facility, a specific clinical department, or even a medical practice for a group of physicians.
Why It's Got Potential: This career is on the hiring upswing, with employment of medical and health services managers projected to grow by 22 percent from 2010 to 2020. This growth could be due to the aging baby-boom population, which will increase the demand of the health care industry and lead to more health care facilities, according to the Department of Labor.
And as the health care field in general expands, more people are needed to manage all of the employees, says Paul J. Rega, author of "How to Find a Job When There Are No Jobs."
Education Options: For this career, typically one would need at least a bachelor's degree in health administration, notes the Department. But master's degrees in health services, long-term care administration, public health, public administration, or business administration are also common credentials.
Career #2 - Medical Assistant
Love clerical work, but want to be in an environment where you get to help people? A career as a medical assistant might be a good fit.
As for what they do, medical assistants might perform a combination of administrative and clinical tasks. They could do everything from taking a patient's history, helping doctors with examinations, or scheduling patient appointments, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why It's Got Potential: A positive for those that want to enter the field: employment of medical assistants is projected to grow by a whopping 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, says the Department of Labor. What's causing this demand? An increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other health care facilities will need medical assistants to carry out routine administrative and clinical duties, says the Department.
Education Options: Don't have an associate's or bachelor's degree? Don't fret. In most states, there are no formal educational requirements for medical assistants, according to the Department. But some employers may prefer candidates with formal education, such as a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree.
Career #3 - Dental Assistant
Appreciate a good smile? If you want to help children and adults take care of their teeth, a hot career as a dental assistant could be worth considering.
As for a dental assistant's day-to-day tasks, they could work hand-and-hand with the dentist by handing them instruments during procedures. Other duties might include sterilizing equipment, instructing patients on proper dental hygiene, and scheduling patient appointments, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why It's Got Potential: From a hiring standpoint, this job has potential - as employment of dental assistants is expected to grow by an impressive 31 percent from 2010 to 2020. This may be due to dentists adding more dental assistants to complete routine tasks, allowing the dentist to see more patients, says the Department of Labor.
Aging baby boomers also may factor into the increase in hiring, notes the Department. "As the baby boomers get older, so will their teeth, creating even more need for dental care," says Rega.
Education Options: To prepare to pursue this growing field, there are several possible paths. "Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and possibly pass a state exam," according to the Department. But in other states, there are no formal education requirements. Accredited programs include certificate or associate's degree programs.
Are you known for your organizational prowess and technology skills? Consider pursuing a booming career as a medical records and health information technician.
Medical records and health information technicians generally organize and manage health information data, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They can do so by making sure data is up to par - checking for accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems.
Why It's Got Potential: According to the Department of Labor, with the demand of health services expected to rise, there should be a greater need for technicians to organize all of the data.
"Most major hospitals have already made - or are in the midst - of the transition to electronic records, and many smaller practices are now making the change as well," says Garfinkle.
In fact, the Department projects the employment of medical records and health information technicians to increase by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020.
Education Options: Want to get started as a medical records and health information technician? To prepare to pursue this in-demand career, you will typically need a certificate or associate's degree in health information technology, says the Department. But keep in mind that most employers prefer candidates with professional certification.
Career #5 - Registered Nurse (RN)
Looking for a hands-on role in a booming field? A career in nursing could be the ticket.
As a registered nurse, you could care for patients by providing medicines and treatments, recording medical histories and symptoms, and monitoring medical equipment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They might also be in charge of general health screenings, immunization clinics, or blood drives.
Why It's Got Potential: The nursing field has great hiring potential, as employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, notes the Department of Labor. That growth is due, in part, to an increased emphasis on preventive care and the aging baby boomer population.
In addition, "Beginning nurses are paid better than almost any job requiring a comparable level of education," says Garfinkle.
Education Options: Another reason a career as a registered nurse may have potential: committed students might have the opportunity to finish coursework in as little as two years, if they earn an associate's degree in nursing, says Garfinkle. An additional option: you could prepare to pursue a nursing career by earning a diploma from an approved nursing program, says the Department.
Career #6 - Pharmacy Technician
Are you an orderly and precise person? Do you measure out amounts perfectly when baking? If so, an in-demand career as a pharmacy technician could be a good fit.
Pharmacy technicians generally help licensed pharmacists work with prescription medications. They might count tablets and measure medications for prescriptions, mix medications, and even package and label prescriptions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why It's Got Potential: Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow by an impressive 32 percent from 2010 to 2020, says the Department of Labor.
Why the uptick? "As a result of advances in pharmaceutical research, more prescription medications are being used to fight diseases," says the Department. Also, the number of older people is increasing, and they tend to use more prescription drugs than younger people.
Education Options: According to the Department, a high school diploma or its equivalent is usually required. Some states, however, have their own requirements for pharmacy technicians, such as passing an exam and earning a certificate through a formal education program.
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