Students looking to embark on their medical careers have several options to choose from. Medical careers are not necessarily limited to professional degrees in medicine or surgery. There are several other specializations that are equally important and are quite essential in delivering quality health care services to those in need. Students may pursue their careers in any of the following disciplines, depending on their personal interests.
A dental assistant is usually a part of a dental health team, assisting with chair side dental procedures, laboratory tasks, paper work, sterilizing and maintaining tools and equipment, as well as performing preventative dental procedures, and educating patients on dental care under the supervision of a qualified dentist. Dental Assistant Certification (CDA) is mandatory to work in select states. Other states permit assistants with a certificate or diploma in dental assisting, or associate degree to assist qualified dentists.
A career in dental hygiene requires students to attend a dental hygiene program from an ADA-accredited school. Students may opt for a certificate course, an associate degree, a bachelors or a master’s degree in dental hygiene, before getting a dental hygienist license. Two years of formal schooling and a license from the state in which the student wishes to practice is a must for a career in dental hygiene.
Dialysis technology careers pave the path for students to help with dialysis in the capacity of a dialysis technician or a haemo-dialysis nurse. There are several levels of study being offered in dialysis technology, including a diploma program or an associate’s degree. A valid license and a certification is a must for dialysis technicians across all states.
EMT, Paramedic & Fire Technology
EMT basic, intermediate and paramedic careers involve emergency care in times of dire need, handling all first aid and premedical diagnostics and care before the patients are shifted to the nearest medical facility. Fire technology careers opens up opportunities in the public fire service department, as well as emergency teams of all major industrial, commercial, business, hospitality and healthcare structures.
Degrees in healthcare administration open up several opportunities in this industry, with career paths starting from that of healthcare secretary to top management positions in leading healthcare institutions. The two-year associate degree programs trains students in basic administration techniques, healthcare coding practices and terminology, computer usage as well as human anatomy and physiology.
A bachelor’s degree prepares the trainee to address ethical, legal aspects of healthcare, while offering insights into management and administration fields, making the student fit to manage healthcare center operations.
Those wishing to enhance career options may take up the masters’ or doctoral programs that cover nuances of managing large scale healthcare operations, including handling infectious diseases as well as managing policy framework, financial workings as well as IT systems in large organizations in the healthcare Industry.
A diploma or an associate’s degree with a license in massage therapy from the state in which the student wishes to practice, are the basic requirements for a career in this field. Psychology, physiology, anatomy, specific massage techniques to address symptoms as well as business techniques, form a part of the curriculum. A career in massage therapy will eventually open up opportunities in spas and health resorts, sports teams, or even an entrepreneurial venture. Specializations include neuromuscular, Swedish, deep tissue and other types of massage.
This career option helps the aspirant handle in-patient registration and care, first aid service, assistance in patient examination, as well as routine checkups and paper work, apart from lab procedures, and legal aspects of the job. Accredited programs with internships offer an excellent opportunity to learn the nuances of this career. Certified medical assistants are welcome across all states as they are qualified to handle complex procedures. There are several certifications offered by AAMA, NHA as well as the AMT.
Medical Billing & Coding
Medical billing and coding is slowly gaining prominence as healthcare records are increasingly getting electronic. Maintaining electronic records in standard formats, and retrieving information as needed to address insurance claims, call for familiarity with computer operations and software usage. Specializations and certifications, though not mandatory, are recommended as they help battle stiff competition in this field and yield better returns. This career, however, does not include direct interactions with patients. Diploma, associate’s and bachelor’s degree courses are available in this field.
Medical transcription career deals with accurately transcribing medical reports as dictated by a physician. Exceptional listening and transcription skills, apart from the latest medical vocabulary are a must for this career.
With several nursing levels to specialize in, aspirants may aim for certification and license in a chosen field.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Nursing (BSN)
A four-year course combining theory and hands-on training, enable trainees to handle an entry-level supervisory role with confidence.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
This program trains nursing assistants to help with activities of daily living (ADLS) under the supervision of registered or licensed nurses, or health care professionals. CNAs do not need a license to offer their services.
Practical & Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN)
A two-year associate degree program focused on hands-on training, enables aspiring nurses to assist doctors in monitoring vital stats, handle lab work, as well as offer bedside care to patients.
Patient Care Technology
Patient care technology helps paramedics, nurses and attendants to keep pace with technological advancements, new medical equipment and devices, and learn how and where they fit into the healthcare environment.
Pharmacy technology careers and courses enable aspirants to handle patient prescriptions. Pharmacy technology courses lead to pharmacy technician or pharmacy aide positions in hospitals and private pharmacies.
A career in phlebotomy involves mastery in techniques used to draw blood from veins or arteries of patients and preparing the sample for the lab test. Formal training and certifications improves career prospects.
Physical & Occupational Therapy
Careers in physical and occupational therapy deal with diagnosis and remedy of physical mobility and functional issues, social or mental disabilities in people across all age groups. A physiotherapist or an occupational therapist will have to be licensed in order to offer their services to the needy.
A career in respiratory therapy is focused on dealing with breathing problems, cardiopulmonary issues, lung infections and diseases, and emergency trauma cases that impair breathing in consultation with a qualified physician.
This discipline of study enables aspirants to pursue their careers as surgical technologists, first assistants or circulators assisting with different aspects of a surgery, based on their qualifications, specialization and certification.
A career in ultrasound technology provides the opportunity to work as a sonographer, who assists a physician in diagnosing ailments using sound waves. The ultrasound technician can specialize in monitoring different parts of the body. Certification, though not mandatory, offers an extra edge.
Students aspiring to treat or research health issues faced by animals can opt for a career in veterinary technology to work with animals in farms, zoos, or even pets.
Radiology/ X-Ray Technology
A career in radiology spans several specializations, including X-rays, computed tomography or CT, MR or magnetic resonance, with the technician getting to work on X-rays and scans to help physicians get a close look at the bones, organs and tissues of the body that may be affected.