Health Care

Health care or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in human beings. Healthcare is delivered by health professionals (providers or practitioners) in allied health fields. Physicians and physician associates are a part of these health professionals. Dentistry, midwifery, nursing, medicine, optometry, audiology, pharmacy, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and other health professions are all part of healthcare. It includes work done in providing primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care, as well as in public health.

The health care sector in the United States consists of an array of clinicians, hospitals and other health care facilities, insurance plans, and purchasers of health care services, all operating in various configurations of groups, networks, and independent practices. Some are based in the public sector; others operate in the private sector as either for-profit or not-for-profit entities. The health care sector also includes regulators, some voluntary and others governmental. Although these various individuals and organizations are generally referred to collectively as “the health care delivery system,” the phrase suggests an order, integration, and accountability that do not exist. Communication, collaboration, or systems planning among these various entities is limited and is almost incidental to their operations. For convenience, however, the committee uses the common terminology of health care delivery system.

The Importance of Healthcare

“Health aid saves lives and allows children to develop mentally and physically, which will pay off within a generation. Studies show that these children become healthier adults who work more productively. If you’re arguing against that kind of aid, you’ve got to argue that saving lives doesn’t matter to economic growth, or that saving lives simply doesn’t matter.”

Why focus on health?

Health is rooted in everyday life. If children have to walk hours every day to fetch clean water, or become ill because they were never properly immunized, then they are most likely not attending school and bettering themselves. Studies have shown that if a mother dies, then her children are also less likely to survive. If a father is sick or disabled, then he is not able to generate an income and feed his family. At HAS, we eliminate barriers to health so that people can focus on what is important to them — learning, providing for their family, building a home and a future, and realizing their true potential.

Health Care Careers

Whether you currently work in the health care industry as a provider, as a manager, an administrator, or you are simply a prospective student looking for a career in health care, there are an abundance of opportunities that await you within this industry. In fact, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics has states that of the twenty fastest growing jobs today, fifty percent of them are related to the health care industry. By 2018, it is expected that roughly 3.2 million new health care related jobs will be created. Though job placement is never guaranteed, in times of economic uncertainty, it makes sense to be explore a career field that is certain to at least present opportunities for employment.

Career Assessment Resources

o Career Assessment and Personality Trait Tools

Health Care Career Ladder Resources

o Career Advancement in Health Care

That being said, because the career choices in health care are many, it can often be difficult and sometimes overwhelming to know where to begin and how to identify which career best fits your personality, needs, and interests. has been designed with this in mind. Each career has been placed into one of five health care pathways: direct patient care, imaging and diagnostics, facility support, health informatics and business, and research and development.

If you know for sure that you want to be in direct contact with patients on an daily basis, start by exploring the careers within the "direct patient care" pathway. If management or the business side of health care is what peaks your interest about the industry, begin by exploring careers within the informatics / business pathway. Regardless of where you begin and where you end up, you will find a great deal of information including health care job descriptions, education and training information, licensure and certification requirements, and career action plans to help guide you along in this process.

Why You Should Consider a Career in Healthcare

The thriving healthcare field offers some of the best career opportunities in the United States. If you’re seeking a personally and financially rewarding occupation, consider the healthcare industry.

As a well-paid healthcare professional, you’ll work with caring coworkers to improve people’s lives. Salaries of nonsupervisory employees in most healthcare fields are higher than the average pay for all private industry. Plus, you have more than 80 healthcare occupations to choose from.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the healthcare field to create more new jobs than any other field. The BLS forecasts a 33% employment growth for the healthcare and social assistance industry from 2010 to 2020, providing 5.7 million new jobs. The BLS forecasts continued demand for healthcare workers at all education levels.

The top five healthcare growth sectors are shown below:

  • 1. Home healthcare services
  • 2. Non-physical healthcare practitioner offices
  • 3. Medical and diagnostic laboratories
  • 4. Outpatient care centers
  • 5. Physician offices

What Type of Healthcare Job is Right for You?

If you enjoy working with people, consider careers such as physician, nurse, occupational therapist, or physical therapist. If you’re a little shy, consider a job in a medical laboratory or a pathology job.

Many healthcare occupations only require a two-year degree or a certificate. For example, a physical therapist assistant only needs a two-year associate’s degree. The median wage for physical therapist assistants in 2016 was $45,290.† Moreover, physical therapist assistant is one of the fastest growing occupations: The BLS forecasts 40% employment growth rate from 2014 to 2024.

Shown below are some healthcare jobs, together with their rankings, from the 2012 U.S. News & World Report‘s “25 Best Jobs” list:

  • • Registered nurse (#1)
  • • Pharmacist (#3)
  • • Medical assistant (#4)
  • • Physical therapist (#8)
  • • Occupational therapist (#10)
  • • Clinical laboratory technician (#13)
  • • Speech-language pathologist (#14)
  • • Paramedic (#15)
  • According to U.S. News & World Report, jobs were selected based on the hiring demand forecast by the BLS for occupations from now until 2020, as well as employment growth potential, average salary, current unemployment rate for each industry, and job satisfaction.

Shown below are some of the healthcare jobs from the 2011 U.S. News & World Report‘s “50 Best Careers” list:

  • • Dental hygienist
  • • Massage therapist
  • • Optometrist
  • • Physician assistant
  • • Physical therapist assistant
  • • Radiological technologist

Here are some good-paying healthcare jobs that only require an associate’s degree:

  • • Cardiovascular technologist and technician
  • • Dental hygienist
  • • Diagnostic medical sonographer
  • • Licensed practice/vocational nurse
  • • Massage therapist
  • • Occupational therapist assistant
  • • Radiologic technologist
  • • Respiratory therapist

The following are some good-paying healthcare jobs requiring only a bachelor’s degree:

  • • Clinical laboratory technician
  • • Dietician
  • • Medical and health services manager
  • • Medical technologist
  • • Mid-level office manager
  • • Recreational therapist
  • • Registered nurse
  • • Transplant coordinator

Health care jobs are in high demand across the board

  • 1 .Medical Assistant
  • A medical assistant is a person who completes administrative tasks in a doctor’s office or hospital. Medical assistant jobs are growing much faster than most professions in America, with an estimated increase of 31% in available jobs between 2010 and 2020.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $30,550 a year, $14.12 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
  • 2 . Nursing Assistant
  • A certified nursing assistant is someone who helps a registered nurse or licensed vocational nurse get through a day at work. A nursing assistant may be responsible for obtaining vital signs, organizing medical equipment, administering sponge baths, and more. Many nurse aides work in retirement homes, taking care of elderly patients who cannot do certain tasks on their own. In some instances, nursing assistants are able to begin work without any formal education.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $25,620 a year, $11.74 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Associate of Science in Nursing, Trade school or technical college training
  • 3 . Home Health Aide
  • A home health aide is in charge of assisting a home-bound patient with day-to-day tasks, like bathing, dressing, and housekeeping. A home health aide may travel between several patients in a day, or he may be assigned to live with a patient full time. Workers in this profession often deal with patients who are disabled, elderly, chronically ill, or cognitively impaired.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $21,830 a year, $10.01 an hour
    • • Suggested education: None
  • 4 . Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Licensed practical nurses are sometimes called LPNs, licensed vocational nurses, or LVNs. They provide basic nursing care in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. LPN are typically in charge of administering medicine, drawing blood, checking vital signs, and noting patient records for other workers. Many LPNs go back to school to become registered nurses.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $42,400 a year, $19.97 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Diploma of Nursing, Associate of Science in Nursing
  • 5 .Physician
  • Physicians treat and diagnose patients. Many of them work in hospitals, but they may also operate their own firms. Physicians can work in many specialties, including pediatrics, family care, oncology, and intensive care. Most physicians spend 10 years or more in college before completing a residency program at a local hospital. After several additional years of training, they are able to work with patients on their own.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $190,060 a year, $80+ an hour
    • • Suggested education: Doctor of Medicine
  • 6 .Therapist
  • Therapists and mental health counselors help patients overcome mental disorders that affect their daily lives. Some therapists choose to specialize in certain conditions, like obsessive compulsive disorder or childhood depression. With a degree in psychology, therapists are able to analyze the cause of mental instability and suggest ways for patients to get past their symptoms. Many patients use their therapists as a venue for venting about issues they could not otherwise talk about.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $71,760 a year, $33.66 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Master of Science in Psychology, Doctorate of Psychology
  • 7 . Registered Nurse
  • Registered nurses take care of the majority of nursing requirements in hospitals and clinics, from coordinating patient care to providing emotional support for families. Most RNs go through four years of schooling to earn a bachelor’s degree, but some are able to find work with an associate’s. The estimated job growth for this profession is 26%, which means there will be an extra 711,900 registered nursing jobs between 2010 and 2020.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $67,930 a year, $31.48 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Associate of Science in Nursing (rare)
  • 8 .Pharmacy Technician
  • Pharmacy technicians are responsible for helping pharmacists assist patients. They must understand drug names and uses, but they do not have enough education to prescribe medication or assess the compatibility of a drug with other drugs a patient takes. Pharmacy techs must know how to dispense medications and determine the correct dosages so they can give the right amount of medication to patients. Some pharmacy techs also perform secretarial duties in a pharmacy.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $30,430 a year, $14.10 an hour
    • • Suggested education: High School Diploma, Trade school or technical college training
  • 9 .Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
  • A diagnostic medical sonographer or DMS is a person responsible for operating the imaging machines in a hospital, clinic, or physician’s office. A sonographer will operate an ultrasound, sonogram, echocardiogram, or similar device that disputes waves in a person’s body to create images. This person is not licensed to assess the images and diagnose patients through them. That is left to the physician.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $59,170 a year, $27.81 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography or equivalent
  • 10 .Clinical Laboratory Technician
  • Clinical laboratory technicians, more commonly known as lab techs, perform a variety of tests in a medical laboratory. They collect samples of fluids and tissues to use in the lab, and then they perform tests to provide data for physicians and surgeons to assess. Many lab techs work in this profession as they earn a higher degree in the medical field, such as a doctor of medicine or doctor of pharmacology.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $49,070 a year, $22.99 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Associate of Science in Biology, Associate of Science in Chemistry, Associate of Science in Pre-Medicine
  • 11 . Dental Assistant
  • Dental assistants take on the administrative duties in a dental office, and they may be required to perform basic patient care. For instance, a dental assistant may prepare a patient for oral cleaning, or he may be in charge of filing patient records for the office. Dental assistant jobs are expected to grow by 31% between 2010 and 2020, leading to 91,600 new jobs in 10 years. This growth rate is much faster than the national average.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $35,080 a year, $16.59 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Associate of Science in Dental Assisting, Bachelor of Science in Dentistry
  • 12 .Pharmacist
  • A pharmacist is a health care professional in charge of dispensing prescription medications to patients and medical facilities. Pharmacists must have an extensive knowledge of chemistry and anatomy/physiology to determine if prescriptions will work well for a patient’s medical conditions and pre-existing drug uses. They may work in pharmacies, drug stores, and in-hospital drug dispensaries.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $114,950 a year, $56.09 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Doctor of Pharmacy
  • 13 .Emergency Medical Technician
  • Emergency medical technicians or EMTs care for sick and injured patients in emergency rooms, ambulances, and other fast-paced medical environments. EMTs must have a basic knowledge of a variety of medical conditions so they can properly help the patients they encounter. They must be available on-call to react at a moment’s notice. Some EMTs work for fire departments and health care equipment distributors, but most find employment with hospitals and emergency medical clinics. The job growth rate for EMT positions is a staggeringly high 33%.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $14.91 a year, $34,370 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Trade school or technical college training
  • 14 .Radiologic Technologist
  • Radiologic technologists, also called radiology techs, are in charge of administering diagnostic imaging exams, such as x-rays and CT scans. Radiologic techs work alongside radiologists, but they are not trained to diagnose the results of the imaging exams they perform. These test results are passed along to physicians and surgeons to look over. The growth rate for this profession is 28%, leading to an additional 61,000 jobs between 2010 and 2020.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $26.26 a year, $56,450 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Associate of Science in Radiology, Trade school or technical college training
  • 15. Physical Therapist
  • Physical therapists help patients recover from illnesses or injuries, per the suggestion of a physician. PTs use their hands and special equipment to work out different muscles in a patient’s body and build strength in otherwise weak areas. A physical therapist may help an athlete recover for a game or a car accident victim regain the ability to walk. Most of these professionals work in physical therapy clinics or rehabilitation centers. The growth rate for physical therapist jobs between 2010 and 2020 is expected to be 39%.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $81,110 a year, $38.39 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Master of Science in Physical Therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • 16 .Dental Hygienist
  • A dental hygienist is a person who works in a dentist’s office, cleaning patient’s teeth before, during, and after a dental procedure. Dental hygienists work side-by-side with dentists, orthodontists, and other dental professionals. The estimated job growth for this profession is 38% between 2010 and 2020, which is much higher than the national average. There will be 68,500 new jobs coming available at that time.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $70,700 a year, $33.75 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene, Trade school or technical college training
  • 17 .Health Information Technician
  • Health information technicians, also known as medical records technicians, are in charge of the records for health care facilities. They inspect health information data to make sure it is accurate, accessible, and easy to read. As the medical industry transitions to electronic record keeping, workers in this field must adapt to new software programs and technologies. Health info techs must understand a variety of classification systems used to code and organize patient information.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $36,770 a year, $16.42 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Trade school or technical college training
  • 18 . Clinical Laboratory Technologist
  • Clinical laboratory technologists perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissues, and other samples in a medical office. They may be referred to as medical laboratory scientists, and they have to work in accordance with several departments in a hospital or clinic. Some clinical techs specialize in a certain type of test, but they must still be versed in the other exams needed in an office.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $58,640 a year, $27.69 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Associate of Science in Pre-Medicine, Associate of Science in Chemistry, Associate of Science in Biology
  • 19 . Occupational Therapy Aide
  • Occupational therapy aides and physical therapist assistants work with physical therapists to help patients recover from injury and illness. They assist with therapeutic practices that are used to improve muscle function, build strength, enhance the immune system, and much more. This job is growing at an exceedingly high rate, with an estimated 41% increase in available positions between 2010 and 2020. With minimal training, this job practically guarantees work options in the future.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $42,290 a year, $20.25 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Associate of Science in Physical Therapy, Trade school or technical college training
  • 20. Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Speech-language pathologists diagnose and treat patients with communication disorders, such as lisps and stutters. They may also help patients with swallowing disorders by teaching them how to identify and utilize the muscles in their mouths. Many workers in this profession are employed at elementary schools and private daycare facilities, but work is also available in hospitals and clinics offering speech therapy.

    • • Annual salary, hourly wage: $72,730 a year, $33.59 an hour
    • • Suggested education: Master of Science in Speech Pathology, Doctor of Speech Pathology

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