Lesser-Known Health Care Jobs

By on February 26, 2013

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20 percent of all new jobs created in the United States until 2016 will be in the healthcare field. In addition, the salary and wages for many professions in the field are expected to grow by a whopping 22 percent.

If you’re considering entering this booming and rewarding field but aren’t sure if the traditional positions fit your interests and personality, you might be surprised to learn that many of the fastest-growing and most potentially lucrative positions in health care are ones you probably never even knew existed.

Biostatistician

If you have a passion for health care and numbers, consider a career as a biostatistician. Have you ever wondered how all those statistics, facts and figures found on websites and newspapers are compiled? That’s exactly what a biostatistician does: compile facts and figures and calculate statistics. Biostatisticians work through insurance carriers, hospitals, clinics, public health agencies and universities. Their work may include anything from monitoring a county’s flu vaccination program to charting the impact of HIV on a certain culture or age group. According to the BLS, the median wage for a statistician was $69,900 in 2007. Although it’s possible to land an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree in biostatistics or statistics, the majority of employers hire candidates with at least a master’s degree.

Surgical Technologist

Watch almost any medical-themed movie and chances are you’ll see a doctor nonchalantly utter the word “scalpel” to a technician. Along with assisting the anesthesiologist, nurses and surgeon, a surgical technologist is also charged with prepping the room for an operation and transporting the patient to recovery. Unlike a traditional surgical career that requires a doctor of nursing practice or another related advanced degree, the majority of surgical technologists are trained in a vocational school or hospital. The average program lasts anywhere from 18 to 24 months, and after graduation, a newlyminted surgical technologist can expect to earn at least $33,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cytotechnologist

You may have heard of an epidemiologist, but there’s a good chance you didn’t know the field of cytotechnology even existed. A doctor or epidemiologist collects the data from patients, but it’s the duty of a cytotechnologist to sit down at the microscope and study the illness on a cellular level. Because the position is rather new, the BLS doesn’t have specific data regarding salary. However, the field is expected to grow rapidly over the next 10 to 15 years, and recent graduates can expect to earn at least $43,200 per year. Much like biostatisticians, it’s possible to enter the field withonly a bachelor’s degree. However, your state might also require you receive licensure through the American Society of Clinical Pathology.

Orthoptist

Optometrists, though not licensed physicians, can diagnose and treat a variety of eye diseases and conditions. Ophthalmologists can also treat eye conditions, and because they’re licensed doctors they can also perform a variety of procedures and surgeries. If you’re diagnosed with an eye condition or disorder, chances are the person who gave you the news was an orthoptist. It’s the job of an orthoptist to assist an ophthalmologist in diagnosing and treating a variety of ailments, from lazy eye to glaucoma. The average orthoptist works on a consulting basis, although there are several other opportunities available, including research. To obtain licensure, an orthoptist must complete a bachelor’s degree program and one to two years of training.

Child-Life Specialist

Dealing with a childhood illness is devastating, and the reason why the position of child-life specialist was created. As a CLS, you’re charged with helping a child and family cope with a chronic illness through mentoring, play and other activities. You’ll work closely with other health care professionals to create an all-encompassing plan to treat a child’s illness. It’s often the job of a CLS to act as a health care advocate for the child, or simply be there to offer a hand or hug. A bachelor’s degree and related experience is often required for the position, and the average child-life specialist can expect to earn $44,000 per year.

Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons

About the Author: Florence Best is a guest blogger and recent graduate ofthe Catholic University online. Florence earned a degree in nursing and now works at a children’s hospital in California.

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