These degrees could lead you to a new and exciting health care career without going to medical school.
Think a career in medicine means having to go to medical school? Think again.
Not every health care career requires an advanced degree. In fact, the majority of today's fastest growing medical careers require just a bachelor's or associate's degree, according to U.S. News & World Report's list of the best health care careers of 2011.
If you have an interest in health care, but don't want to go to medical school, this could be the right time to start exploring some health care career - and education - alternatives.
Keep reading to learn more about five health care careers that don't require going to medical school.
Career #1 - Health Information Manager
Do you want to work in the medical field, but prefer to avoid hands-on patient care?
Not a problem.
With a bachelor's degree in health care administration, which could include classes in accounting, health care ethics, and health care finance, you could prepare to pursue a career as a health information manager, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
As a health information manager, you'll likely be responsible for maintaining the security of patient records by ensuring that databases are complete, accurate, and available only to authorized personnel.
Job outlook: Job opportunities for medical and health services managers are projected to increase by 16 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department.*
Average salary: $93,670*
Career #2 - Medical Assistant
If you have a passion for helping others, consider earning a certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting, which the Department reports is a common route towards a career as a medical assistant.
A medical assisting program might include classes in diagnostic procedures, pharmacology, and diseases of the human body. These courses are ideal to help develop the skills you'll likely need to pursue a medical assisting career.
With this career, you might find yourself performing administrative tasks like scheduling appointments, filling out insurance forms, and filing medical records. You might also perform clinical duties such as taking medical histories and vital signs, explaining treatment procedures, and assisting with examinations.
Job outlook: Medical assistant jobs are projected to grow by 34 percent between 2008 and 2018.*
Average salary: $29,760*
Career #3 - Dental Assistant
Let's face it - going to the dentist's office can be dreadful. Working in a dentist's office however...well, there's nothing dreadful about that. If you could see yourself working in dental care, consider prepping for a dental assistant career by earning a certificate or associate's degree in dental assisting, the Department notes.
With courses that could include clinical practice, dental assisting techniques, and oral anatomy, a dental assisting program can help cultivate the skills you need to prepare for a career as a stellar dental assistant.
In a dental assistant position, you'll generally work alongside dentists to help with administrative, laboratory, and dental tasks. You could also prep instruments and patients, assist with dental procedures, and update medical records, appointment schedules, and patient billing information.
Job outlook: Dental assisting is projected to have a 36 percent increase in job growth between 2008 and 2018.*
Average salary: $34,140*
Career #4 - Physical Therapist Assistant
Are you interested in helping patients recover from an injury or illness? If so, consider earning an associate's degree in physical therapy assistance, which could help you prepare for a rewarding career as a physical therapist assistant, according to the Department.
If you think this career and educational route is for you, be prepared to study topics that might include disease and disability, kinesiology, and rehabilitation procedures.
As a physical therapist assistant, you'll likely work alongside the physical therapist, providing treatment that improves a patient's mobility, relieves pain, and decreases physical disabilities.
Physical therapist assistants may also aid patients with exercise and instruction during therapy sessions.
Job outlook: Physical therapist assistants are expected to see job growth of 33 percent between 2008 and 2018.*
Average salary: $49,810*
Career #5 - Registered Nurse
Are you interested in having a hands-on role in delivering health care to patients? If so, you could pursue an associate's degree in nursing to help prepare you for an exciting career in the nursing field, the Department notes.
With courses like anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and psychology, an associate's in nursing can offer you the well-rounded education you'll likely need to pursue a nursing career.
As a registered nurse, you might be directly involved in every aspect of patient care. This might include recording patient's histories, performing tests, analyzing results, administering treatments, and checking on a patient's progress.
Job outlook: The Department projects a 22 percent increase in nursing jobs between 2008 and 2018.*
Average salary: $67,720*
*All average salary and job growth information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, May 2010 statistics.
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