Career to Consider
Jobs in Healthcare
Careers to consider within an exciting industry
During our current “jobless recovery,” the medical field is one area that has been fairly recession-proof. Healthcare has even been growing while other professions, like manufacturing, contract.
Why is this happening? Call it the Baby Boom effect. After the end of World War II, when soldiers returned home to settle down and enjoy domestic life, there was a spike in the birth rate — one of the largest in history — called, appropriately, the Baby Boom. The babies from that boom now comprise most of our older population. As they age, the Boomers need more medical services, which means more jobs for the workers who staff the industry.
“The first baby boomer just turned 65 last year, so when it comes to healthcare jobs in America, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” said Chris Rupkey, an economist from Bloomberg. These jobs “are going to literally explode over the next two decades.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. are healthcare-related. In fact, healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018 — more than any other industry. Last month, hospitals, long-term care facilities and other ambulatory care settings added the largest monthly increase recorded by any employment sector.
Attracted to the medical field but squeamish about blood? No problem! This diverse field supports many different skills and provides lots of options, including jobs that don’t require stepping inside an examination room or donning a surgical mask. If you are curious about some of the many career opportunities the medical field has to offer, check out the following jobs. They might surprise you! Whether you are a numbers guru, a budding artist, a people person, a tech geek, a natural caregiver or anything in between, you may find that your talents are well-suited to this field.
Medical assistants are supervised by physicians and nurses and are crucial for the smooth running of a medical office, whether on the clinical side or the administrative side. A medical assistant might specialize in clinical work (working with patients), administrative work (back office admin duties) or both!
Clinical assistants deal directly with patients: taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures, preparing patients for examinations, assisting physicians during exams and preparing laboratory specimens. Clinical assistants are also responsible for basic maintenance of the medical office, including purchasing and maintaining supplies and equipment, sterilizing medical instruments, disposing of contaminated supplies and keeping waiting and examination rooms neat and clean.
Administrative assistants manage patient documentation: updating and filing patients’ medical records, filling out insurance paperwork and arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services. Administrative assistants may also occasionally answer telephones, greet patients, handle correspondence, schedule appointments and deal with billing and bookkeeping.
Medical Biller and Insurance Coder
Squeamish about blood? No problem! Medical billers or coders are the brains behind each medical record, bill, payment, insurance document and piece of paperwork. Billers make sure that patients and insurance companies are billed correctly for services, while coders analyze and code medical procedures to establish accurate invoices. Billers and coders usually work together to generate detailed records of treatments and payments.
The billing and coding team must stay up-to-date with the latest new tests, techniques and procedures to insure that documentation is in step with the constantly progressing field of medicine.
While the surgeon might be the superstar of the operating room, the technicians are the unsung heroes that keep the show running smoothly. Surgical techs (also called surgical technologists or operating technicians) are part of operating room teams, working shoulder-to-shoulder with physicians during procedures.
Techs are responsible for ensuring that every aspect of the operating environment (both in the room and on the patient) is prepped, sterilized and ready to go. Techs must create, maintain and ensure a sterile field and pass to the surgeon all requested instruments, scalpels, sponges and medications. Afterwards, the techs will gather and dispose of all contaminated instruments and supplies and then clean and disinfect the operating room for the next procedure.
Medical ultrasonography (or just “sonography”) is a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to produce dynamic visual images of organs, tissues or blood flow inside the body.
Sonographers (also called ultrasound techs) operate sophisticated electronic equipment that uses reflected ultrasound “echoes” to create images of the specific part of the body being examined. After applying a conducting gel to the area, the sonographer presses a transducer to the skin. As the transducer is moved around, it emits and receives pulses of ultrasound waves, producing an image on the monitor.
The sonographer looks for subtle differences between healthy and pathological areas of the body and works collaboratively with physicians to ensure that the images recorded are useful for diagnosis.
Dental Lab Technician
Are you a sculptor at heart? Or are you a meticulous engineer? Better yet, are you a perfect mix of both? Satisfying both a creative soul and a meticulous mind, this profession is the art and science of manufacturing corrective devices and replacements for natural teeth.
A dental tech works closely with dentists and orthodontists to design devices like crowns, bridges or false teeth. After the dentist has taken a mold of the patient’s teeth, the dental tech uses the mold to produce a wax replica of the teeth, from which the tech constructs any needed devices using a variety of high-tech materials, such as ceramics, plastics and metal alloys.
The dentist fits the new dental work in the patient’s mouth and the dental tech later makes adjustments to those devices as directed by the dentist to ensure that the patient’s smile looks completely natural.
Working with both licensed pharmacists and customers, pharmacy technicians (also called pharm techs) receive prescription requests, count tablets, measure medications and transcribe data and label containers. Pharm techs may also perform administrative duties like answering the phone, operating the cash register and filling out insurance forms. Attention to detail, accuracy and customer courtesy are essential for this career. Being a night owl helps too, as some pharm techs find jobs in 24-hour pharmacies.