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Rushing to help someone having a medical emergency. Mastering the advanced technologies used to diagnose and treat illnesses. Crunching the numbers to make it possible to buy the best equipment and hire the best people. They all play an important part in healthcare, an industry that’s growing rapidly in the United States as people are needed to fill increasingly specialized roles. Take a look below to find out more about healthcare careers, and how to get the education needed to break into the field.

Meet the Expert
Dr. Ellen Averett
Dr. Ellen Averett Read More

Medical Schools & Degrees Learning Center

Whether it’s providing direct patient care or managing behind-the-scenes activities that make that care possible, there are plenty of ways to work in healthcare. It starts with knowing what jobs are available, and how to get the schooling to pursue them. Here we look at some of the major options.

Which Medical Degree is Right for You?

Choosing the right healthcare career begins with a thorough examination of both what you want and what you’re good at. In many cases, the two overlap, but it’s important to know what your priorities are. Ask yourself which of the following statements best describe you to see where the ideal fit is.

I work well under pressure and can stay calm and clear-headed even in emergencies.

I like taking charge and being the go-to person other people seek out.

I want to be directly involved with patients and helping them feel better.

I enjoy learning new technologies and figuring out how to best use them.

I can delve into a project for hours-especially when I’m learning something along the way.

I’m interested in the science of medicine and understanding how the body works.

I like having some flexibility to manage my own time and schedule.

I like figuring out how to get teams to work together and find the best ways to do things.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time in school-I want to get started as quickly as possible.

  • Paramedic/EMT
  • CRNA
  • Surgical technologist
  • Healthcare administration
  • Healthcare management
  • MRI technician
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Paramedic/EMT

    I work well under pressure and can stay calm and clear-headed even in emergencies.

    I want to be directly involved with patients and helping them feel better.

    I don’t want to spend a lot of time in school-I want to get started as quickly as possible.

  • CRNA

    I work well under pressure and can stay calm and clear-headed even in emergencies.

    I like taking charge and being the go-to person other people seek out.

    I want to be directly involved with patients and helping them feel better.

    I’m interested in the science of medicine and understanding how the body works.

    I like figuring out how to get teams to work together and find the best ways to do things.

  • Surgical technologist

    I work well under pressure and can stay calm and clear-headed even in emergencies.

    I enjoy learning new technologies and figuring out how to best use them.

    I’m interested in the science of medicine and understanding how the body works.

    I don’t want to spend a lot of time in school-I want to get started as quickly as possible.

  • Healthcare administration

    I like taking charge and being the go-to person other people seek out.

    I like figuring out how to get teams to work together and find the best ways to do things.

  • Healthcare management

    I like taking charge and being the go-to person other people seek out.

    I can delve into a project for hours-especially when I’m learning something along the way.

    I like having some flexibility to manage my own time and schedule.

  • MRI technician

    I want to be directly involved with patients and helping them feel better.

    I enjoy learning new technologies and figuring out how to best use them.

    I’m interested in the science of medicine and understanding how the body works.

    I don’t want to spend a lot of time in school-I want to get started as quickly as possible.

  • Medical transcriptionist

    I can delve into a project for hours-especially when I’m learning something along the way.

    I like having some flexibility to manage my own time and schedule.

    I don’t want to spend a lot of time in school-I want to get started as quickly as possible.

What Part Do Medical Support & Services Roles Play in Patient Care?

With a clearer picture of their interests and skills, students can begin to fine-tune exactly how they want to contribute to providing optimal patient care. Some jobs – such as paramedics or nurses – keep people on the run all day long, while others work primarily in office environments. Salary, a key consideration for most people, typically depends on the level of specialization and experience, although some careers may show more rapid advances in salary than others. Use the graphic below to determine how certain jobs contribute to the overall goal of patient care.

Roles

Specializations & Support Roles in Medical Facilities

There are a lot of moving parts in the machinery of a hospital or medical facility. The end goal is to get patients healthy, but healthcare workers can contribute to this in any number of ways. For example, an EMT treats brings a patient to a hospital emergency room, where an MRI technician performs an emergency scan that shows brain injury. The patient is taken into surgery, where a CRNA readies him with the needed anesthetic and a surgical technologist preps to assist in the operating room. On another floor, administrators and managers are working to coordinate his follow-up care within different departments, and to make sure all records are correctly created. Each job depends on the others, and at every step it’s vital for healthcare professionals to make sure they’ve done their part.

Paramedic/EMT

Median Annual Salary: $31,980

Growth Potential: 24%

Surgical Technologist

Median Annual Salary: $44,330

Growth Potential: 15%

MRI Technician

Median Annual Salary: $67,720

Growth Potential: 10%

CRNA

Median Annual Salary: $157,140

Growth Potential: 31%

Healthcare Administration and Healthcare Management

Median Annual Salary: $94,500

Growth Potential: $17

Medical Transcriptionist

Median Annual Salary: $34,890

Growth Potential: -3%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Expert Advice from a Healthcare Administrator

Getting the most out of an educational program, and turning it into a career: those are students’ main goals. It helps to have the insight of someone who’s already been down the road, so we turned to Dr. Ellen Averett to get her perspective and tips for students looking at programs.

What kinds of things should students be looking for when choosing a program? How can they evaluate them effectively?

Accreditation is the main way a student can be assured of the quality of the program. After that, visit the schools. Talk to current faculty and students. Talk to recent graduates. Ask what they liked about the program, and what they thought could have been better. Ask how the program helped them prepare for their current jobs. There are differences between clinical programs and business/management/administrative programs, but the process is similar. The difference is in what the student wants, and that depends on the student.

What are some tips for succeeding in a program and getting the most out of it?

Take advantage of all that you can. Involve yourself as much as possible in any “extra” experiences or opportunities the program may offer. Your investment of time and effort in a program is an investment in yourself and your future.

After graduation, what’s the best way to search for and then land a job?

Networking, networking, networking. Start developing those relationships when you start a program. Your professors and student peers will be a large part of your professional network, so cultivate and maintain good relationships with them.

With the benefit of hindsight, what were the most helpful aspects of your education? What do you wish you had given more attention to?

Most helpful was being exposed to areas of knowledge and experiences that were new to me, and developing relationships with faculty by being interested in their areas of expertise. I wish I had given more attention to getting even more real-life professional experiences in the context of the graduate program–for example, more internship kind of experiences.

As students go about deciding what area of healthcare they want to go into, what should they know about the industry and changes it’s undergoing or may be facing in the coming years?

It’s very dynamic, constantly changing. One must be comfortable with change and embrace it, and one must be comfortable with being a lifelong and independent learner in order to keep up with the changes. This is true for clinical care as well as health administration.