Perhaps you have an affinity for healthcare and medicine and you love to help people, but the expense and number of years required for medical school have caused you to rule out becoming a doctor. With medical school costs averaging around a quarter million dollars, this is a very understandable dilemma. Luckily, there are some great healthcare career paths that pay well, are rewarding, and don't require medical school. Here are five ideas to consider when looking for a career in healthcare:
Being a medical assistant is a versatile and exciting career choice for anyone with an interest in medicine and who has great people skills. Medical assistants are heavily involved in patient care, from updating medical records, to explaining procedures to patients, to drawing blood. Great interpersonal skills and the ability to easily learn and retain technical information are important qualities in a medical assistant.
As a medical assistant, you can work in a small clinic, large hospital, or urgent care facility, and doctors will heavily rely on you to keep everything running smoothly for patients.
If you already have a bachelor's degree in a healthcare-related field (or are interested in getting one) and would like to be involved in important, life-saving cardiovascular surgeries, you should definitely look into the unique job of being a medical perfusionist. A perfusionist is responsible for providing heart surgeon patients with heart and lung functions while they are undergoing surgery, typically through operating a heart-lung machine or blood pump.
Perfusionists typically need a specialized licensed on top of their BA, which can be well worth the effort with an average salary of $110,000.
Nurses not only perform important medical services such as inserting an I.V., but they also provide patients with a caring and personal touch. Requirements can vary by state, but generally to become a registered nurse you will need an associate degree in nursing and to pass a licensing exam. Nurses with a bachelor's degree or higher earn more money and may have the opportunity to move into the fields of nursing education or nursing administration.
Nurses are needed in hospitals, small clinics, schools, and even in developing countries. You can also become specialized in a specific nursing area of interest, such as pediatric nursing, trauma nursing, or spinal care nursing.
Getting certified as an X-ray tech allows you to use cutting-edge medical technology on a daily basis while providing a very useful service for doctors and patients. You will use imaging machines to create accurate x-rays, helping doctors to diagnose everything from broken bones to tumors.
While many X-ray techs work as generalists, you can also choose to specialize, for example by becoming certified in mammographies or CT scans. Specializing in this way allows you to focus on work you're especially interested in and earn more money at the same time. To become an x-ray technologist you typically need an associate degree as well as a certificate.
If you find the idea of participating in life-saving surgeries exciting, you should consider becoming a surgical technologist. Working under the supervision of a surgeon, surgical technologists help surgeries go as smoothly as possible by performing tasks like handing the surgeon the appropriate tool at just the right time, and preparing the operating room before and after surgery.
This job requires the ability to anticipate the surgeon's needs, think and act quickly, remain calm and organized even under stressful circumstances, and thrive in an exciting, fast-paced environment.
By pursuing one of these careers in healthcare, you will be able to enjoy a meaningful and well-paying job with ample opportunity.