Do you love the idea of a career in the medical field but the idea of spending years and years in medical school – very expensive years at that – is not something that appeals to you? The good news is that because the medical and healthcare field is such a diverse one there are plenty of great career opportunities that cover a number of different education levels and skill sets. And as the healthcare field is still one that is rapidly expanding, finding the right job is not too hard. Here is a look at the top ten hottest jobs in the field right now:
LPN – Licensed Practical Nurse
An LPN is an essential part of any team providing active, hands on, medical care, whether that care is being provided in a hospital, a doctor’s office or even out in the community. An LPN works under the direct supervision of an RN (registered nurse) or an MD in most cases, although LPNs working in the home healthcare field often work alone.
In order to become an LPN you need to complete a 9-12 month course that is offered at almost every community college and then pass the licensing exam. It is a career path with plenty of room for growth, as many LPNs continue to go to school on a part time basis while working to become an RN. The average salary for an entry level LPN is around $51,000 per annum.
Another very hands on position in the healthcare industry is that of Nursing Assistant. Often these are the people who have the largest amount of day to day personal interaction with patients, which is something that many people find very fulfilling. In order to become a Nursing Assistant you will need to complete a 2-3 month training and certification course. These are offered at community colleges and occasionally even to high school seniors. The average salary for an entry level Nursing Assistant is $33,000 in the US in general, higher in larger urban areas.
Emergency Medical Technician
The position of Emergency Medical Technician is not one for everyone as it is a high stress position and calls for a great deal of poise, patience and empathy, as well as the ability to remain calm in disturbing situations. In order to become an EMT it will take 10 weeks – 2 years of formal education, depending upon what level you wish to work at. Many EMTs choose to complete their basic EMT training, find work and then continue schooling on a part time basis to advance. Salary in this field is dependent upon training level and can vary from $19,000 – $50,000.
A Phlebotomy Technician is another crucial member of many medical teams. These are the individuals who are responsible for drawing blood samples for analysis, a skill that involves patience and empathy as well as basic practical knowledge. In order to obtain such a position you will need to complete an accredited training course that usually takes between 28 and 32 classroom hours to complete and then sit a certification exam. Such training courses are offered at community colleges, vocational schools and in some states by the Red Cross. An entry level Phlebotomy Technician can expect to earn between $26,000 and $29,000 per annum.
An EKG is a crucial diagnostic test that is performed in both doctor’s offices and hospitals. It is an EKG Technician’s job to perform the test, using very sensitive equipment, and ensure that the reading is taken accurately in order for a physician to interpret the results. EKG Technicians are also often asked to transcribe the results that they obtain from testing. The training course required to become an EKG Tech takes 2-4 months to complete and while obtaining an official certification is not a must but it will usually increase your earning potential. Courses are offered at community colleges, vocational schools and at some hospitals. A certified, entry level EKG tech can expect to be able to command a salary of $29,000-$31,000.
An Ultrasound Technician is the individual who actually performs ultrasounds for diagnostic testing and then prepares the results for interpretation by a Radiologist. This is a position that comes along with a great deal of patient contact with a wide variety of patient populations, including pregnant women and patients being seen on an emergency basis. In order to become a Certified Ultrasound Tech you will need to complete an accredited course at a community or junior college, technical or vocational school that takes between 12 and 24 months to complete. A certified Ultrasound Tech can earn an annual salary of between $25, 000 and $30,000.
Becoming a Pharmacist does involve six years of formal education, but you can become a Certified Pharmacy Technician in around 9-12 months by completing an accredited training course at a community college or vocational school. A pharmacy tech serves as a Pharmacist’s assistant, taking and verifying prescription requests from patients and physicians, verifying prescriptions for accuracy and completing the appropriate health insurance billing. An entry level Pharmacy Tech will be able to command an annual salary of between $30,000 and $32,000.
Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
Medical billing and coding professionals are crucial to the survival of any medical or healthcare practice as these are the people who ensure that providers are correctly reimbursed for the services they provide. Formal education is not mandatory for such positions but most practices now do prefer to hire those who have completed a minimum of a 6-12 month formal certification course at an accredited vocational school or community college. A medical billing and coding specialist can work in many different environments, and so the average salary varies a great deal, but on average it is around $32,000.
Medical Administrative Assistant
Working as an admin assistant in a medical environment calls for an additional set of skills, including the ability to understand basic medical terminologies, basic medical billing practices and possessing a good working understanding of the HIPPA patient privacy laws. It is possible to obtain such a position without going to school, but increasingly medical practices prefer to employ those who have completed a 6-12 month formal training course. On average a Medical Administrative Assistant will earn between $25,000 and $30,000.
Medical Records Clerk
Medical records – and good record keeping practices – are more important than ever before in the world of healthcare, so the demand for skilled medical records technicians is increasing. These positions are no longer all about filing paper charts though. Almost all medical records are electronic these days, so the position calls for excellent organizational and computer skills, as well as an extensive knowledge of the HIPPA patient privacy laws.