Health Sciences Careers

As the population continues to age, the proportion of senior citizens to other age groups continues to rise. This population change directly increases the demand for health services.

As a result, the job opportunities in health sciences careers are bound to increase. If you like helping people in their greatest times of need, have a compassionate heart and a detail-oriented mind, you may serve well in one of these booming fields.

Those in some health sciences careers, like phlebotomy, nursing and paramedic jobs, work directly with patients. You can work in health sciences careers in dentistry as a dental hygienist or work with animals as a veterinary technician. You can also work with machines, as do radiation therapists, or sit behind a desk, as with medical billing and computer programming. Whatever type of work you excel in, there is likely a career in health sciences in demand of it. Estimates listed for salaries in these various careers comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Nursing

There are a number of different careers you can explore in nursing. The median salary for registered nurses was $72,180 in 2016 and only rises as the demand for nurses increases. The most lucrative nursing jobs include the following:

  • Nursing Administrator
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Informatics Nurse
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

For the greatest chances of success and career development in nursing, it helps to exceed minimum education, experience and certification recommendations. Consider specializing rather than working as a general nurse and continue taking courses and certifications to advance your knowledge and skill set even once you are employed.

Dental Hygienist

As of writing, there are over 200,000 jobs available as a dental hygienist. The median salary of dental hygienists in 2016 was $72,910. The career has only a 0.5 percent unemployment rate, significantly lower than the rate for all other health sciences occupations combined. In a U.S. News ranking, dental hygienists were ranked the third-best job in health care support and the 17th best job overall.

Paramedic and EMT

If you want to help care for sick and injured people in immediate times of crisis, you may serve as a paramedic or emergency medical technician (EMT). Both jobs make approximately $33,380 per year or $16.05 per hour, according 2017 BLS estimates.

The work can be strenuous, stressful and physically demanding at times. You could be expected to work long or odd hours, including overnight. Most of your time working will be spent responding to calls, caring for individuals on-site and, if necessary, transporting them safely to hospitals or other appropriate medical facilities.

Radiation Therapist

If you would like to work with cancer patients and feel comfortable working with technology, you may find a rewarding job as a radiation therapist. As the individual responsible for administering radiation treatments to cancer patients, your role is a combination of detail-oriented medical procedures, as well as compassion and communicativeness to help put patients at ease while they are going through a traumatic situation.

Radiation therapists made approximately $80,570 per year in 2017, or $38.73 per hour. The job only require an associate degree for entry-level positions. In 2016, there were over 19,000 jobs in the field. By 2026 the number of radiation therapist jobs is expected to increase by 13 percent, much faster than the average for other health sciences occupations, with an estimated 2,400 new jobs created. As a radiation therapist, you may work in a hospital, outpatient center or physician’s office.

Phlebotomist

The job of a phlebotomist is to take blood from patients for medical testing. Phlebotomists work with patients on a daily basis. As a result, they need to be communicative, calming and compassionate to keep patients comfortable while taking their blood.

At the same time, phlebotomists are responsible for taking the right amount of blood into the proper vials, marking them accurately and clearly, preparing them in a centrifuge for the lab and recording their data in a database. Therefore, being a phlebotomist also requires a keen eye for detail and a level of competence with computers.

Veterinary Technician

If you would rather work toward the health care of animals rather than people, consider a job as a veterinary technician. A vet tech could be a veterinary technologist or a veterinary technician, the primary differences between the two being the level of education required for the jobs, the pay and the job’s responsibilities.

As a vet tech, you will often have to calm and restrain animals as they undergo examinations and treatment, and you will frequently encounter sick, injured or aggressive animals. You may even need to euthanize animals when necessary. If you feel you could handle all of those responsibilities, then you could make an average of $33,400 per year or $16.06 per hour, with only an associate degree.

There are over 100,000 vet tech jobs currently in the country, with 20 percent more expected to rise by 2026. Veterinary technologists earn wages at the higher end of the range for a health science career but must also get a four-year bachelor’s degree in a related field. Whether you wish to be a vet technician or technologist, you will have to finish a postsecondary certification program in addition to your basic college educational requirement.

Medical Billing and Coding

Perhaps you wish to work in a field helping people, but hands-on health care is not exactly right for your skill set. Maybe you work better with numbers and computers than with people. You can still help people with their health care by working as a medical biller and coder, ensuring their medical services get properly paid for so there are no hitches or headaches for them to deal with on top of treatment.

Often, you can even find work as a medical biller and coder from home. Wherever you work, you will be dealing with issues of confidentiality, security, accuracy and timeliness, among other important job-related responsibilities.

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