Medical Careers

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The thriving healthcare field offers some of the nation's best career opportunities. If you're seeking a personally and financially rewarding career consider the healthcare industry. Well-paid healthcare professionals work with caring co-workers to improve peoples' lives.

Due to the increasing larger elderly population the demand for healthcare and medical professionals continues to increase. The healthcare and medical sectors encompass an array of rewarding careers. The health/medical industry continually seeks qualified professionals for a variety of healthcare careers and medical careers.

Many healthcare careers only require a two-year degree or a certificate. Many of the health careers and medical careers require people to complete a licensure program or course training. Many of the careers in health and medical technology require specific certifications.

This section provides pertinent, reliable information about an array of healthcare careers and medical careers. We provide detailed career information such as employment outlook, salary, training, education and much more. We help you find the healthcare career or medical career right for you.

Once you've investigated this page on Medical Careers we encourage you to keep reading our website's extensive career guide information with details on job options, education requirements and salaries.

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Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians and Vascular Technologists

Education and Certifications Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians and Vascular Technologists Need

People interested in a cardiovascular technologist, cardiovascular technician or vascular technician career generally need an Associate of Radiologic Technology degree or an Associate of Nursing degree. However, some cardiovascular technologists have a Bachelor of Radiologic Technology degree.

In most programs, associates or bachelors, students work with an experienced technologists or technician in a lab setting for course credit. Some schools provide an Associate in Cardiovascular Sonography degree.

Some community colleges offer one-year certifications for individuals who have already received training in a medical field.

A cardiovascular technician working as an EKG technician usually receives 4-6 weeks of on-the-job training from their employer.

Cardiovascular technologists, cardiovascular technicians and vascular technicians do not require certification, but it's highly recommended, as most employers prefer certification. Many insurance providers only pay for work conducted by a certified cardiovascular technologist, a certified cardiovascular technician, or a certified vascular technician.

A variety of certifications for cardiovascular technologists, cardiovascular technicians, or vascular technicians exist, depending on their clinical focus, and they may become certified in multiple areas. In most cases, cardiovascular technologists, cardiovascular technicians, or vascular technicians must take continuing education courses to maintain their certification.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Cardiovascular technologists, cardiovascular technicians, and vascular technologists work with doctors, aiding in procedures dealing with the most vital human organ – the heart.

Cardiovascular technologists focus on patients' hearts, measuring heart rates and helping with the diagnosis of heart ailments. Cardiovascular technologists do everything from taking ultrasounds of the heart to aiding doctors in inserting a catheter and balloon angioplasty.

Cardiovascular technologists help in the invasive procedures by shaving and preparing the area on a patient's body for surgery, applying topical anesthesia, and monitoring the patient's blood pressure and heart rate during the procedure. A cardiovascular technologist career may also include using a Holter monitor and administering a stress test.

Cardiovascular technicians, also called cardiographic technicians or electrocardiogram (EKG) technicians, work closely with cardiovascular technologists and may specialize in electrocardiogram (EKG) testing.

Vascular technologist careers include helping physicians diagnose blood flow disorders via listening to the blood flow in patients' arteries and checking for abnormalities. Vascular technologist careers also include using ultrasound instruments to record information about blood flow in veins, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. These tests are often performed during or soon after surgery.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $52,070
2016 number of jobs 50,530
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 29 percent
Entry-level education requirements Associate degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $67,520
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $36,940

 

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Education and Certifications Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Need

Individuals seeking a diagnostic medical sonographer career typically need an Associate of Sonography or a postsecondary certificate from an accredited institute or hospital program. Colleges offer an Associate in Sonography degree and a Bachelor in Sonography degree. Some colleges offer an Associate in Cardiovascular Sonography degree program or an Associate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree program.

Individuals already involved in the healthcare field can obtain a one-year certificate. Some sonographers obtain a degree in radiologic technology or nursing, then receiving on–the-job training.

Many employers prefer or even require a professional certification. Certification involves graduating from an accredited program and passing an exam related to the specialty the diagnostic medical sonographer is most interested in. Diagnostic medical sonographers must also take continuing education courses to keep their certification up-to-date.

Some states also require licensure for diagnostic medical sonographers. Requirements for licensure vary by state.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Diagnostic medical sonographers assess a variety of medical conditions after performing an ultrasound, sonogram, or echocardiogram. Diagnostic medical sonographers utilize imaging equipment that directs sound waves into a patient's body.

The role of diagnostic medical sonographers is very important, as they must not only be able to answer patient's questions, helping them understand the procedure and results, but they must also accurately operate and maintain the imaging equipment and recognize the difference between normal and abnormal images while conducting an ultrasound, sonogram, or echocardiogram.

A diagnostic medical sonography career includes recording all findings in the patients' records and sharing any preliminary findings with physicians.

Diagnostic medical sonographers specialize in the following: abdominal, breast, musculoskeletal, neuro, and obstetric and gynecologic sonography.

The diagnostic medical sonography field also includes vascular sonography and cardiac sonography. Cardiovascular technologists and vascular technologists also use sonography when assisting doctors in diagnosing issues with patient's heart, arteries and veins.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $65,620
2016 number of jobs 122,300
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 17%
Entry-level education requirements Associate degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $50,760
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $99,840

 

EMTs and Paramedics

Education and Certifications EMTs and Paramedics Need

Individuals interested in an EMT career or a paramedic career need to have a high school diploma, or equivalent, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, and a state license.

People interested in an EMT career or a paramedic career can obtain formal training from technical institutes, community colleges, and other facilities specializing in emergency care training.

EMT-Basics have the least amount of training, while paramedics have the most amount of training. Paramedics may obtain their training through a community college, earning an associates degree.

EMTs and paramedics must take a course and become certified to drive an ambulance.

EMTs and paramedics may be certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) on four different levels: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate 1985, EMT-Intermediate 1999, and Paramedic. Some states have their own certification and may use different titles for the same positions.

EMTs and paramedics must obtain a state license, the requirements vary by state.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Doctors aren't the only professionals who save lives on a regular basis; emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics regularly respond to emergency situations and care for sick and injured individuals sometimes facing a life-threatening situation. EMTs and paramedics arrive and act quickly at emergency situations; they stabilize individuals enough to transport them to the hospital for further care.

Upon arrival, an EMT or paramedic must quickly and accurately assess someone's situation and needs, then distribute the appropriate care, which could be anything from bandaging a small wound to CPR. EMTs and paramedics also must properly strap patients to backboards in order to keep them safe during transportation.

Following every interaction with a patient, EMTs and paramedics must write up a patient care report, recording all medical care they administered to the patient and explain the need for medical care.

EMTs and paramedics frequently drive ambulances and may work as part of a helicopter's flight crew. An EMT career and a paramedic career include working with police and firefighters, who respond to the same emergency situations.

Responsibilities of an EMT or paramedic vary depending on the state they work in and how much training they have completed. The three levels of titles: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and Paramedic.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $33,380
2016 number of jobs 248,000
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 15%
Entry-level education requirements Postsecondary nondegree award
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $21,880
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $56,990

 

Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides

Education and Certifications Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides Need

Most home health care aides and personal care aides have a high school diploma, although no specific education requirements exist for this position. Home health aides and personal care aides typically receive on-the-job training. Some employers may require a competency evaluation prior to hire.

Some states have no training requirement for home health aides and personal care aides, but other states require a formal training from a community college, vocational school, elder care program, or home health care agency. Some states also require a background check for all home health aides and personal care aides.

Home health care aides working for an employer receiving reimbursements from Medicare or Medicaid must obtain training and pass a competency evaluation or earn a state certification.

Home health aides and personal care aides may receive certification from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Certification is not required, but many employers prefer to hire certified workers.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Home health aides and personal care aides are also known as superheroes to the individuals they help. Typically, home health aides and personal care aides assist disabled, chronically ill, cognitively impaired, and elderly individuals.

Common duties performed by home health aides and personal care aides range from assisting clients in bathing and dressing to light housekeeping duties and meal planning and preparation. A home health aide career and a personal care aide career include scheduling appointments, social events, and exercise, as well as arranging transportation to and from events for a client. Perhaps the most important thing home health care providers and personal care aides do for their clients, however, is provide companionship.

Home health aides usually work for certified home health or hospice agencies receiving government funding. They are usually supervised by a nurse. Duties of a home health care worker may range from giving massages, skincare, and help with braces or artificial limbs to changing sheets and emptying bedpans.

Depending on the state laws, home health aides may also occasionally dispense medication or check their client's vital signs under the direction of a nurse or healthcare practitioner.

Personal care aides often work in a client's home and are hired directly by the client or the client's family. Personal care aides may not provide any medical services.

Direct support professionals work with individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Their tasks typically include creating a behavior plan, helping their client find work, and teaching self-care skills.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $23,130
2016 number of jobs 2,927,600
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 41%
Entry-level education requirements High school diploma or equivalent
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $18,450
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $31,260

 

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs)

Education and Certifications Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) Need

Licensed practice nurses and licensed vocational nurses need to complete an accredited program and obtain a license prior to practicing. Technical schools and community colleges provide one-year practical nursing certificate programs and one-year vocational nursing certificate programs.

Once they have earned a certificate, licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses can take the National Council Licensure Examination, also called the NCLEX-PN. Every state requires these nurses to have a license.

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What They Do

Licensed practical nurses (LVNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) are the faces of reassurance to medical patients. Working under the direction of registered nurses and doctors, licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses perform basic medical care duties and interact regularly with patients.

A licensed practical nurse career and a licensed vocational nurse career includes helping patients dress and bathe, monitoring their health and regularly recording and reporting their findings to registered nurses and doctors.

Licensed practical nurse careers and licensed vocational nurse careers involve changing bandages and administering other basic health care, helping a patient eat, and generally working to make patients more comfortable.

Depending on their work environment, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) may need to perform tasks ranging from teaching family members how to care for a patient, to collecting samples for testing, to helping deliver and feed a newborn.

The duties an LPN and an LVN are allowed to perform vary by state.

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Career Advancement Opportunities

Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses may advance in their career to a supervisory role after obtaining experience. An LPN and an LVN may also advance to become a registered nurse, after obtaining additional education through LPN and RN programs.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $45,030
2016 number of jobs 724,500
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 12%
Entry-level education requirements Postsecondary second degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $32,970
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $61,030

 

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Education and Certifications Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians Need

Medical laboratory technologists typically need a Bachelor of Medical Technology or a Bachelor of Life Sciences degree. Hospital-based programs offer courses for a Bachelor of Medical Technology degree. Hospital-based programs provide students the opportunity to work in the hospital during their senior year.

People seeking a medical laboratory technician career typically need an Associate in Medical Laboratory Technology degree, an Associate in Medical Laboratory Technician degree or a Certificate in Medical Laboratory Technology. The certificate programs typically take one year to complete. Individuals may also get certified as a medical laboratory technician through the armed forces.

Medical laboratory technologists require licensure or registration in some states, which includes obtaining a bachelor's degree and passing an exam. Requirements vary by state.

Some states and some employers require medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory technicians to obtain certification. Even where certification is not required, it is highly recommended, as many employers prefer to hire certified medical laboratory technologists and certified medical laboratory technicians. A general certification and certifications in specialties are available.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Medical laboratory technologists, medical laboratory technicians, clinical laboratory technologists, and clinical laboratory technicians all have the unique job of performing laboratory work with bodily fluids, among other substances, but their specific duties differ slightly.

Medical laboratory technologists perform more complex tasks, as well as train and supervise medical laboratory technicians. A medical laboratory technologist career includes studying blood, urine, and tissue samples, looking for any abnormalities.

Medical laboratory technologists collect blood samples for transfusions, preparing it for use by identifying the number of cells, the blood group, blood type, and compatibility with other blood types.

In performing their work, medical laboratory technologists work with microscopes, cell counters, automated equipment, and computerized instruments. Medical laboratory technologists record their data, update a patient's medical record, and discuss results with physicians.

Medical laboratory technicians perform tests ordered by physicians, but they are under the supervision of a medical laboratory technologist, thus the technician's tests are simpler.

Medical laboratory technologists working in a large laboratory may have a specialty. Medical laboratory technologists have specializations such as: Blood bank technologists also called immunohematology technologists, clinical chemistry technologists, cytotechnologists, immunology technologists, microbiology technologists, molecular biology technologists, phlebotomists, and histotechnicians.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $51,770
2016 number of jobs 335,700
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 13%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $29,640
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $79,530

 

Medical and Health Services Managers

Education and Certifications Medical and Health Services Managers Need

Typically, people interested in a medical services manager career or a health services manager career need at least a Bachelor in Health Administration degree and a license. Some hospital and healthcare employers prefer a Master in Health Administration degree or a Master of Health Care Administration degree. For some positions a Master in Public Administration degree may suffice.

Many college programs give student interested in a medical services management career or health services management career specializations to choose from.

Some colleges and universities offer a MBA in Healthcare Administration degree or an MBA in Health Services degree.

Paths can range from hospitals and nursing care centers to mental health facilities and physician's offices. Some employers allow only on-the-job training instead of a formal college education for a medical services manager job.

All medical services managers need a license and each state has its own set of regulations and standards for different areas of health services management.

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What They Do

If you enjoy managing, directing and motivating others, have an interest in the medical field and health administration, and want to make a difference in the lives of patients; a career in health care management is in your future.

Medical services managers and health services managers organize and coordinate health and medical services in nursing homes, hospitals and other managed healthcare agencies, offices and clinics.

Both a medical services manager career and a health services manager career include delivering quality healthcare services and monitoring, adapting to and making sure staff members comply with the ever-changing laws, regulations and technology.

Both a medical services management career and a health services management career include overseeing assistant administrators, managing all facility finances and working with medical staff and department head members on all service needs and adjustments.

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Career Advancement Opportunities

Advancement in medical services management careers and health services management careers usually involve moving into higher levels and larger paying positions. Many college graduates start their careers as assistants and move their way up to health services managers. With many years of experience, managers can advance to consultants or professors of healthcare management.

A master's degree in healthcare management increases the chances of gaining a higher-level management job.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $98,350
2016 number of jobs 352,200
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 20%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $58,350
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $176,130

 

Medical Appliance Technicians

Education and Certifications Medical Appliance Technicians Need

No formal education requirements exist for people seeking a medical appliance technician career, as most medical appliance technicians learn their trade through on-the job training. Although some technical or vocational schools offer programs for medical appliance technicians, these programs are uncommon.

Medical appliance technicians don't need certification; however certification certainly helps in job competition, as it demonstrates mastery and professionalism to potential employers. The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics provides certification to medical appliance technicians.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Thanks to the work of medical appliance technicians individuals who lost limbs due to disease, aging, birth defects, amputation, or other reasons have the option of wearing medical supportive devices, such as prosthetic limbs, arch supports, facial parts, and foot and leg braces.

Medical appliance technicians create their devices based on work order and specifications from podiatrists, orthotists, prosthetists, and other healthcare professionals. Medical appliance technicians determine what materials and tools to use for a specific job. They create a pattern and form the fabric or material into the appropriate shape.

A medical appliance technician career includes using a variety of hand tools or power tools when shaping and finishing or polishing the devices they create. A medical appliance technician career also includes repairing broken medical supportive devices.

Orthotic and prosthetic technicians make orthoses and prostheses.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Some medical appliance technicians who complete additional formal education advance in their career to become an orthotist or a prosthetist.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $37,190
2016 number of jobs 13,640
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 N/A
Entry-level education requirements N/A
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $23,460
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $61,170

 

Medical Assistants

Education and Certifications Medical Assistants Need

Although there are no specific education requirements for beginning a medical assistant career, most medical assistants have at least a high school diploma. Some employers prefer hiring medical assistants who graduated from a formal education program.

Community colleges, vocational and technical schools provide an Associate in Medical Assisting degree program or an Associate in Medical Assistant degree program and a one-year medical assistant certification or diploma program.

Some states require medical assistants to pass an exam before they can perform more advanced tasks, such as taking x-rays or giving injections.

Medical assistants typically receive a few months of on-the-job training from a physician or a more experienced medical assistant.

Although medical assistant certification is not required for the occupation, passing a certified medical assistant exam provides an edge while job hunting, as employers tend to prefer hiring certified medical assistants.

A medical assistant can obtain certification from multiple organizations, with requirement ranging from graduating from an accredited program to passing a written exam.

Four different certifications exist for medical assistants: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA), and Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA).

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The 10 Best Online Medical Assisting Associate Degree Programs
The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Medical assistants play a major part in keeping the offices of health care practitioners, such as physicians, podiatrists, and chiropractors running smoothly.

Although their duties vary, depending on the office they work in, a medical assistant career may include generally performing administrative work, such as scheduling patients, filing, and helping prepare patients for physicians through taking the patient's medical history and measuring vital signs.

Medical assistant careers include helping physicians with patient examinations, giving patients injections as directed by the physician, and preparing blood work for the laboratory.

Medical assistants must learn how to use electronic health records; they're quickly becoming the standard in medical offices.

In a larger practice or hospital, a medical assistant may specialize in one of the following: administrative medical assistant, clinical medical assistant, ophthalmic medical assistant, optometric assistant, or podiatric medical assistant.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $32,480
2016 number of jobs 634,400
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 29%
Entry-level education requirements Postsecondary nondegree award
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $23,830
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $45,900

 

Medical Equipment Repairers

Education and Certifications Medical Equipment Repairers Need

People typically need an Associate in Biomedical Technology degree, An Associate in Biomedical Equipment Technology or an Associate in Engineering to begin a medical equipment repairer career. For purposes of advancement and working with more complex medical equipment, some medical equipment technicians need a bachelor's degree.

Medical equipment repair technicians train under supervision for three to six months. During this time medical equipment repair technicians learn a different piece of medical equipment one at a time and over a period of a few months. They learn to work more independently without supervision.

Medical equipment repairers typically receive continuing education in new advances in biomedical technology.

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) provides medical equipment repair certification in different areas. Medical equipment repair certification is not mandatory.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

A medical equipment repairer career involves repairing and servicing biomedical, electro-medical technology and various types of medical systems. A medical equipment repairer career may involve testing, maintaining, repairing and adjusting biomedical and electro-medical systems.

A typical day for a medical equipment repairer involves testing and calibrating components using power tools and measuring devices, finding defective parts and replacing them, inspecting equipment using analysis equipment, recording maintenance and repairs.

Medical equipment repair technicians participate in the latest in medical technology training. Some medical equipment repairers educate personnel on the correct use of medical devices.

Medical equipment repairer careers include examining medical devices and structural environments to check for correct handling of equipment to protect patients and medical personnel from mechanical hazards.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $48,820
2016 number of jobs 47,100
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 4%
Entry-level education requirements Associate degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $29,570
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $80,460

 

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Education and Certifications Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Need

A medical records technician career or a health information technician career generally requires an Associate of Health Information Technology degree or a Health Information Technology certificate. Some schools offer an Associate in Health Information Management degree.

Employers generally prefer medical records technicians and health information technicians with professional certificates. Some organizations require candidates pass an exam, whereas other organizations require candidates graduate from an accredited program. Certification includes Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR). Medical records technicians and health information technicians must renew certification regularly and take continuing education courses.

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What They Do

Without the work of medical records technicians and health information technicians, medical records would not be as accurate, well organized, and correctly filed electronically; in other words, these individuals are a vital cog in the medical field machine.

Medical records technicians and health information technicians code and organize patient information in a variety of ways, creating properly electronically coded paperwork for insurance reimbursement purposes and for the databases and registries that hold people's medical histories.

Although the specific duties assigned to a medical records technician or health information technician depend on the side of the office they work in, they generally check medical records, ensuring accuracy and completeness, then organize the data for clinical databases and registries. Medical records techs and health information techs responsibilities include protecting patient's health information for confidentiality, authorized access for treatment, and data security.

Medical records technicians and health information technicians do not work with patients directly, but they do regularly interact with physicians and other healthcare professionals, while trying to get any necessary information to complete medical records or assure accuracy.

Medical records techs and health information techs may specialize in a variety of areas, but most work as either coders or cancer registrars.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $39,180
2016 number of jobs 206,300
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 13%
Entry-level education requirements Postsecondary nondegree award
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $25,180
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $64,610

 

Medical Scientists

Education and Certifications Medical Scientists Need

People interested in a medical scientist career typically need a doctoral or professional degree such as a medical degree. A Ph.D. program or a joint M.D. / Ph.D. program are the two main paths medical scientists take to obtain a degree.

A doctoral degree can take about 6 years to complete and culminates in a thesis presented to a professorial committee. A dual doctoral-medical degree program can take up to 8 years to finish and combines both scientific research and medical studies.

In order for medical scientists to interact with patients medically, they need a medical degree and become a licensed physician, which can take up to 7 years to complete.

Students who look forward to a biomedical science career typically need a bachelor's degree in a biological science. Humanities courses in areas such as grant writing are also beneficial before entering a medical scientist career.

Many medical scientists publish various research and medical articles for scientific journals as well as work for federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health.

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What They Do

A medical scientist is literally a lifesaving profession. Medical scientists use clinical investigations to find answers and solutions to complex diseases. They conduct research to improve overall human health and wellbeing.

A medical scientist career appeals to people interested in understanding human diseases, intensive lab work, biochemistry, and human anatomy. A biomedical science career attracts some medical scientists.

Medical scientists work in different areas such as the federal government, research universities and private industries such as pharmaceutical companies.

A typical day for a medical scientist involves different types of research, clinical trials and investigative studies to find answers and solutions for various human diseases.

A medical scientist career includes researching and developing preventive measures to ward off diseases, following safety methods to avoid contamination, preparing and analyzing laboratory samples to pinpoint and identify microorganisms and cell structure, performing data analysis and formalizing and structuring drug dosages for medical drugs.

Medical scientist careers involve working with teams of other professionals such as professionals in health departments and physicians to improve health safety standards. Medical scientist careers also involve preparing scientific grant proposals to acquire funding from government institutions.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $82,090
2016 number of jobs 120,000
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 13%
Entry-level education requirements Doctoral or professional degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $45,120
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $160,520

 

Medical Transcriptionists

Education and Certifications Medical Transcriptionists Need

A medical transcriptionist career may begin with an Associate of Medical Transcribing degree, offered through vocational schools, community colleges, and distance-learning programs. Many medical transcribing programs include supervised on-the-job experience.

Not all medical transcription programs are accredited; medical transcription certification requires graduating from an accredited program.

Certification is not required for medical transcriptionists; however certification provides an edge in job competition. Two certifications are available for medical transcriptionists: Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) and Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT). Both certifications are available through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Medical transcriptionists must adapt and speak the medical language of many different healthcare professionals, as they transcribe verbal notes from doctors and healthcare professional into written notes that become a permanent part of a patient's file.

A medical transcriptionist career includes deciphering medical terminology and abbreviations while transcribing verbal phrasing into diagnostic test results, operative reports, discharge summaries, and referral letters among other documents. Although, medical transcriptionists often use speech recognition software for the first few drafts of transcribing, medical transcriptionists must still review and edit the technology.

Aiding in the transcription process, medical transcriptionists use headsets and a foot pedal which controls the speed at which recorded materials plays in their earphones. Medical transcriptionists speak directly with healthcare professionals regarding clarification of notes, such as inconsistencies.

A medical transcriptionist working in a doctor's office may also answer phones or greet patients.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $35,250
2016 number of jobs 57,400
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 -3%
Entry-level education requirements Postsecondary nondegree award
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $21,670
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $51,410

 

Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

Education and Certifications Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants Need

Nursing aides and attendants typically need a postsecondary certificate or award. Many community colleges and vocational schools provide a certified nursing assistant program.

Nursing aide and attendants programs teach the basic principles of nursing and include supervised clinical work. Nursing aide and attendants programs are available through community colleges, technical schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Orderlies typically need at least a high school diploma and may receive on-the-job training if they are not involved in patient care.

After nursing aides and attendants complete their state-required education, they need to take a competency exam, which allows them to use state-specific titles. Passing the exam places nursing aides and attendants on a state registry. Individuals have to be in the registry to work in a nursing home. Some states require continued education and a criminal background check.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants may very well be the most important part of someone's day. Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants care for patients in hospitals and in long-term care facilities, helping them perform basic daily functions such as eating, bathing, going to the bathroom, and cleaning.

For patients confined to a bed or wheelchair, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants help reposition the patient for comfort and transportation to another bed or wheelchair. Nursing aides and attendants often take a patient's blood pressure, temperature, and sometimes may dispense medications. Orderlies do not provide healthcare services.

Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants have a great deal of daily contact with patients and may develop close relationships with them.

Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants all work together under the supervision of a licensed practice or vocational nurse or registered nurse.

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Career Advancement Opportunities

In some states, nursing aides and attendants may obtain additional credentials beyond Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA) and become a Certified Medication Assistant (CMA), which allows them to dispense medication to patients.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $27,510
2016 number of jobs 1,564,300
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 11%
Entry-level education requirements High school diploma plus competency exam
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $20,680
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $38,630

 

Physician Assistants

Education and Certifications Physician Assistants Need

A physician assistant career begins with a master's degree. Most applicants to a physician assistant master's program already have a bachelor's degree and some healthcare-related work experience, such as experience as a registered nurse, emergency medical technician, or a paramedic.

Allied health schools, academic health centers, medical schools, and four-year colleges provide most of the physician assistant programs. Physician assistant programs include supervised clinical training in a variety of areas, such as family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, and pediatrics.

All states require physician assistants to have a license. Obtaining a license involves passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Physician assistants need to take continuing education courses to maintain their license. Additionally, physician assistants must pass a recertification exam or complete an alternative program that combines learning experience and a take-home exam every six years.

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The 25 Best Bachelor's in Health Sciences Degree Programs
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What They Do

Physician assistants do a lot more than your average assistant. Physician assistants, under the supervision of a physician or surgeon, do everything from performing physical exams on patients, to diagnosing injuries and illnesses, to prescribing medication.

Patients often meet with a physician assistant prior to meeting with a physician. A physician assistant career includes reviewing patients' medical histories, performing exams, ordering or interpreting any necessary diagnostic tests. They sometimes provide a diagnosis and treatment for patients. Treatment can range from giving an immunization to setting a broken bone.

Physician assistant careers include answering questions from patients and their family members; following up with patients to monitor progress and to complete insurance paperwork. Some physician assistants make house calls and then report back to a physician.

Physician assistants work in primary care, family medicine, emergency medicine and psychiatry. The duties a physician assistant may perform on patients varies by state.

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What can I do with a Biology degree?
What can I do with a Nursing degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Physician assistants may advance through obtaining additional education in a specialty, such as internal medicine, rural primary care or occupational medicine. Physician assistants can take these advanced educational programs after graduating from an accredited program and have certification from the NCCPA. The additional education provides physician assistants with opportunities for broader responsibilities and higher wages.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $104,860
2016 number of jobs 106,200
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 37%
Entry-level education requirements Master's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $66,590
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $146,260

 

Physicians and Surgeons

Education and Certifications Physicians and Surgeons Need

Physicians need many years of schooling including four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and up to eight years in internship and residency programs, depending on their medical specialty.

Medical schools require all students to have a bachelor's degree, pass a national medical test named the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), gain letters of recommendation, provide transcripts and have an interview with the admissions committee. Medical schools also look at volunteer work, extracurricular activities and a student's overall personality.

The first two years of medical school usually involve mostly course work in subject areas such as biochemistry and anatomy as well as extensive lab work. The last two years mainly include working under trained physicians in local hospitals in special rotations areas such as pediatrics, internal medicine and gynecology. Students choose an area or specialty for their residency program. This program can take up to 8 years to complete depending upon the specialty.

All physicians and surgeons need to take a national licensure exam to attain a license and practice medicine. M.D.s take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). D.O.s take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). To increase chances of employment, doctors also have the option of becoming board certified by taking an examination after several years of residency.

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What They Do

Physicians and surgeons examine, diagnose and treat injured and sick patients. Physicians take patient histories, discuss proper diet and nutrition, prescribe medications, interpret diagnostic tests, and create a treatment plan. Surgeons operate on patients to treat a broad spectrum of injuries and illnesses from broken bones and deformities to different forms and stages of cancers.

Physicians and surgeons typically need good dexterity, excellent problem solving and communication skills, patience, and stamina.

Physicians include M.D. (Medical Doctor) and D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). A medical doctor and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine use similar methods of diagnosis and treatment. However, D.O.s place additional importance on preventive medicine and holistic patient care.

Physicians and surgeons work in many different specialties. The specialties range from anesthesiologists who focus on the care of surgical patients and pain relief to family and general physicians who treat a range of everyday conditions from flu viruses to broken bones.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $208,000
2016 number of jobs 91,400
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 13%
Entry-level education requirements Doctoral or professional degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent N/A
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent N/A

 

Psychiatric Technicians and Psychiatric Aides

Education and Certifications Psychiatric Technicians and Psychiatric Aides Need

Psychiatric technicians need an associate degree or certificate from a community college or technical school. Many institutions offer work experience. Certificate and Associate degree programs can last from one semester to up to two years.

A psychiatric aide needs at least a high school diploma to attain employment. Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides gain hands-on training prior to starting a position with little or no supervision.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

Psychiatric technician and psychiatric aide positions are rewarding jobs for people who has an interest in psychology, enjoys assisting and caring for others and knows how to deal with complex situations through conflict-resolution.

Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides work with a medical team to help patients who have mental or emotional conditions and developmental disabilities. The two professions are similar, however, technicians encourage patients to develop skills and offer recreational and therapeutic care, while aides assist patients in day-to-day activities and ensure a safe, healthy environment.

Both occupations work very closely with a mental health medical team and because they have such close contact with patients, they can play a pivotal role in their overall health and outlook.

A typical day for a psychiatric technician includes assisting patients with daily living activities, observing, listening and recording patients' behavior, dispensing medication and following important directions from doctors and other healthcare workers.

Psychiatric technicians admit and discharge patients, physically restrain patients who may harm themselves or others, and carry out therapeutic and recreational activities.

Psychiatric aides do many of the same duties; however they also clean bed linens and other equipment, transport patients to and from different areas of a hospital or residential care center, and generally perform more maintenance work to ensure a safe and clean environment.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $29,330
2016 number of jobs 139,700
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 6%
Entry-level education requirements Postsecondary certificate
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $19,520
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $43,270

 

Radiation Therapists

Education and Certifications Radiation Therapists Need

Radiation therapists typically need a Bachelor of Radiation Therapy degree or an Associate in Radiation Therapy degree to begin a radiation therapist career. In most states, radiation therapists need a license, graduate from an accredited radiation school program and obtain certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

A certified radiation therapist must complete an accredited radiation therapy program, work with ARRT ethical standards, and pass the radiation therapist certification exam. The ARRT exam covers clinical concepts in radiation oncology, radiation safety and quality assurance, treatment planning and delivery, and patient care and education.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

A radiation therapist career appeals to people interested in science and technology who also enjoy taking care of people, especially cancer patients.

Radiation therapists provide radiation treatments to help patients with cancer and other diseases. The radiation treatments shrink and/or remove tumors and other diseases from a patient's body.

A typical day for a radiation therapist technologist consists of reviewing radiation machines and other technological equipment to ensure the equipment works properly. A radiation therapist technologist career includes explaining treatment plans and answering questions to help patients feel safe, educated and informed.

Radiation therapist careers include checking advanced computer systems to make sure they administer the right dose of treatment to the correct area of the patient's body. Radiation therapist careers also involves following safety procedures to prevent overexposure.

Radiation therapists are part of an oncology team and work with numerous specialists including radiation oncologists, dosimetrists and oncology nurses.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $80,570
2016 number of jobs 19,100
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 13%
Entry-level education requirements Associate degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $55,530
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $123,020

 

Radiologic Technologists

Education and Certifications Radiologic Technologists Need

Many people seeking a radiologic technologist career acquire an Associate in Radiography degree. Some schools offer radiology certificate programs.

Some colleges and universities provide a Bachelor in Radiologic Technology degree program. The Bachelor in Radiologic Technology programs emphasize diagnostics, patient career and advanced technology required for radiology technologist careers in hospitals clinics and other types of healthcare facilities.

In most states, radiologic technologists must be licensed, graduate from an accredited radiography school program and receive certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT).

To become a certified radiologic technologist, a student must complete an accredited radiography program and pass the certification exam. To continue a radiologic technologist career, a practitioner must take continuing education courses.

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The Medical and Healthcare Degrees Source: Online, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's

What They Do

A radiologic technologist career attracts detail oriented people with an interest in science and technology, who possess technical skills.

Radiologic technologists perform a variety of diagnostic imaging examinations on patients such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and x-rays.

Radiology technologists spend a typical work day taking physician orders and producing images of specific areas of patients' bodies and make sure they use properly maintained equipment.

Radiologic tech careers include preparing patients and educating them on exactly what the procedure entails. Radiologic tech careers also include operating technological and mechanical equipment to take images and keeping detailed records of all the procedures.

Due to the various types of diagnostic equipment, radiologic technologists specialize in different areas of radiologic technology such as CT scans and MRIs. Some radiologic technicians use the name CT technician or MRI technician. Radiologic techs also specialize in mammography using x-ray systems to produce breast images.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $60,070
2016 number of jobs 241,700
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 13%
Entry-level education requirements Associate degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $48,600
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $97,460

 

Registered Nurses

Education and Certifications Registered Nurses Need

Registered nurses typically need at least an Associate in Nursing degree to begin a nursing career. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs usually take four years to complete and include more training in areas such as communication and leadership. A BSN is also important if a registered nurse wants to explore areas outside hospital settings such as research and administrative positions.

Alternatively, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program usually takes two to three years to complete and takes place in a vocational school or community college setting. Supervised clinical training and experience is also part of all degree programs and can take place in numerous areas such as home health agencies, walk-in clinics and other care facilities. Registered nurses with an ADN or diploma can also work towards a BSN by completing an RN-to-BSN program.

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What They Do

A registered nurse career attracts people interested in caring for the sick and interested in the fields of science, medicine, and technology.

Registered nurses assess patient health issues, implement nursing care plans and treat the sick, injured and disabled as well as organize and maintain medical records. Registered nurse careers may include educating patients on disease prevention and developing health education clinics, such as a community outreach program.

A registered nurse career is not for the faint of heart. It takes a great deal of patience, physical stamina and in many cases, a strong stomach, to deal with the vast array of emotional and life threatening situations nurses face each day.

A typical day for a registered nurse consists of observing patients and recording daily medical histories, dispensing medications, consulting with doctors and other medical professionals on patient progress, and educating both patient and family members on how to treat the illness or injury after discharge.

Many nurses oversee other licensed nurses and work in specific disease treatment areas as well as work outside of clinical settings as hospital administrators, case managers and healthcare consultants.

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Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $70,000
2016 number of jobs 2,955,200
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 15%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $48,690
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $104,100

* Salary, number of jobs and employment growth provided by
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