Many students pursue health sciences careers because they want a job where they make a difference and help other people.
Medical careers often pay well and are highly sought-after fields no matter where you live in the United States. Medical careers are most commonly associated with doctors, but plenty of other health science careers exist where you do not need a doctorate.
Some careers in the health sciences involve working in hospitals or other patient facilities. Other health science careers are more active, such as a paramedic or an EMT worker. Administrative themed health science careers are available as well, such as medical billing positions.
The amount of training you need changes depending on your chosen job. Some careers have specific degree requirements, while others only require certification. Many careers have room for advancement, but you may require additional schooling or certification before advancing into the next career path. While many careers in health sciences are available to choose from, some of the most popular options are covered below.
Even among the health sciences field, nursing careers are highly pursued no matter where you apply for work. Nursing careers can be excellent career choices because there is room for advancement. Multiple nursing jobs exist, ranging from licensed practical nurses to registered nurses. No matter what your specific nursing career, you primarily work in patient-care tasks.
Your responsibilities change depending on your career path as well as your training. The educational requirements for nursing jobs change depending on where you are applying as well as your chosen position. Most require at least an associate degree, but some jobs only require certification. Many employers offer additional training to help nurses advance in their career.
Dental Hygienist Careers
Dental hygienists perform many tasks. Although they are typically associated with teeth cleaning, they have more responsibilities than this. Dental hygienists are responsible for conducting X-ray examinations and perform other dental prep services before a patient sees the dentist. Dental hygienists often advise patients as well, providing better tips for keeping their teeth healthy.
Dental hygienists are typically supervised by a licensed dentist, but the exact requirements change depending on where you work. In some situations, dental hygienists work under multiple doctors throughout their workweek.
As of writing, dental careers are seeing a significant increase in demand. Dentists believe this is because of advancements in dental hygiene and equipment, leading to patients keeping their teeth for longer. This, in turn, requires more visits to the dentist.
A dental hygienist career can be an excellent choice for applicants interested in a health science career but are worried about working in a high-stress environment. Dental hygienists work at their own pace and do not have to worry about life or death situations when treating their patients.
Paramedic and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Careers
If you want a job helping people but do not want to spend all day working in a hospital, a paramedic or EMT career can be an excellent choice. Paramedic and EMT careers are considered high stress because both jobs involve treating patients on the spot, some of who may have life-threatening conditions. As a paramedic or an EMT, you are the first person to respond to a medical emergency.
In addition to treating patients on the scene, you are responsible for transporting the patient to the hospital or other medical facility. Both jobs require more physical activity compared to other health science careers. Typically, paramedics and EMTs work in pairs, but some medical facilities have a different procedure.
Radiation Therapist Careers
The exact requirements to become a radiation therapist change depending on the hospital you are applying in, with some requiring additional schooling or certification. No matter where you work, you must be properly licensed to handle radiology equipment. Administering the wrong dosage of radiation causes serious health issues, so it is not a career you get into without the right level of training.
Radiation therapy is part of the oncology branch, which focuses on medicine for diagnosing, preventing or treating cancer. Radiation therapists often work in a hospital alongside a larger oncology team. In addition to administering radiation treatment, radiation therapists provide emotional comfort to patients.
Phlebotomists are some of the most common medical careers, especially among recent graduates. It is one of the easiest health science careers to overlook, as many are unaware what it entails. A phlebotomist is responsible for drawing blood from a patient, which is common in numerous medical tests.
Phlebotomists commonly work in hospital and doctor settings, but others work in donation centers or research facilities. Handling blood is a delicate task. When you are dealing with diseased blood, you risk infecting yourself or someone else if you do not follow the proper safety procedures.
Being detail-oriented is a helpful trait for phlebotomists since they deal with numerous blood samples throughout the day. Blood samples are nearly identical, so a good phlebotomist has a system in place to differentiate between all the samples. Since drawing blood is so common in medical procedures, phlebotomists typically find work no matter where they live.
Medical Billing and Coding
Medical billing and coding are easy health science careers to overlook because they do not directly involve treating patients. Medical coding plays an important role in the healthcare process.
Medical billing and coding professions focus on gathering a patient’s history and recording everything about his or her current treatment and insurance information. All of this is used by doctors and other healthcare professionals to come up with a treatment plan.
Medical coders take care of many patients throughout the day. It requires a great deal of concentration because coders must juggle different codes and jargon for dozens of patients. Attention to detail is vital, as many medical codes look similar but are used for vastly different treatment plans.
Medical billing requires an equal amount of attention. Different medical procedures exist with similar names, but vastly different costs. Health insurance plans often cover specific operations, so you must precisely report what is included in the bill to make sure the patient receives the proper coverage from their insurance provider.