You may have heard about the tremendous need for workers in the health care profession, and experts predict the demand to continue increasing over the next decade and beyond. If you have been considering a job in health care, you have probably asked yourself the crucial question: “Which medical career is right for me?”
Examining the various pros and cons of some of the most sought-after and fastest-growing health care professions can help you make the right career decision.
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN), as you might hear the position called in some states, works under the direction of a registered nurse or physician. They provide basic care such as measuring vital signs, collecting fluid samples, and assisting with personal hygiene.
- As an LVN/LPN, you can enjoy the satisfaction of providing personalized care to patients.
- You won’t have to spend as much time on administrative work as registered nurses do.
- You can enter the profession with less than a year of training.
- The work can be physically and mentally demanding.
- Tending to the needs of severely injured or ill patients can be extremely challenging.
- Workdays may stretch beyond a standard eight-hour shift.
Medical assistants perform a variety of administrative tasks within a health care facility, such as greeting patients, scheduling appointments, and assisting patients with insurance forms. They may also assist the doctor with examinations or clinical procedures or take notes as needed.
- The work can be interesting and varied.
- You can enjoy working as part of a team.
- You can complete training that will give you a competitive edge in less than a year.
- Medical assistants may have limited responsibility.
- They may earn less than other members of the administrative team.
- Additional training may be necessary for career advancement.
Medical Office Specialist
Medical office specialists (MOS) are typically responsible for managing the administrative side of a health care facility. Similar to a medical assistant, they can answer phones, schedule appointments, and interact with insurance companies. However, they specialize more in administrative tasks and do not assist with medical procedures.
- You get to interact with lots of patients and be a friendly face to set people at ease.
- The MOS is the most valued administrative role within a medical office and comes with a high level of responsibility.
- You don’t need a degree, though a certification program can help prepare you to work as an MOS.
- The job can be stressful when the medical office gets busy.
- You may have to work long hours.
- Handling complex tasks such as processing medical claims can be frustrating at times.
Dental assistants typically help dentists in delivering patient care. Some dental assistants also perform various administrative functions within a dental office.
- Working in a dentistry office may be slower-paced than other medical facilities.
- You get to work with lots of people and can help make anxious patients feel more comfortable.
- You get to play a role in helping others maintain good oral health.
- Dental assistants must often work with difficult patients who are apprehensive or in pain.
- Working with people’s mouths and bodily fluids may be unpleasant to some people.
- Advancing your career may require additional training.
Massage therapists use their hands to manipulate muscles to relieve pain, reduce stress, and help patients recover from injuries.
- Massage therapists often derive great pleasure in helping people relax and feel better.
- You can work in varied environments such as chiropractor’s offices, cruise ships and spas.
- You may be able to enjoy a flexible schedule.
- Massaging patients is a physically demanding job.
- Providing massage therapy can also be emotionally draining, causing some therapists to experience burnout within a few years.
- Self-employed massage therapists may also bear the additional burdens that come with operating a business.
Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
Medical coders translate complex medical terminology found in patient records into the standardized codes used for billing and insurance claim processing.
- Medical coding can be an excellent career choice for detail-oriented individuals who are not intimidated by the prospect of having to deal with medical jargon.
- Some coders may have the opportunity to work from home.
- Most medical billers and coders enjoy predictable, stable schedules.
- Staring at a computer screen all day long can become tedious.
- Resolving billing issues may be frustrating at times.
- This career requires a formal certification, though you can complete training in less than two years.
Veterinary technicians and veterinary technologists assist veterinarians in providing health care to animals. They can perform routine medical tasks on their own, such as weighing animals or taking their temperature, and they can assist veterinarians with medical procedures.
- This career is ideal for individuals who have a genuine love of animals.
- You get to help people by caring for their cherished pets.
- No two days are just alike.
- The job can be physically demanding and stressful at times.
- Animal behavior can be unpredictable, especially when they are hurt or frightened, which could place you in harm’s way.
- Euthanizing animals who are beyond the help of veterinary care can be especially emotionally taxing.
Pursuing an Education in Health Care or Medical Care
Many colleges offer a wide range of educational programs in each of the listed medical specialties. Depending on the specialty and the program selected, your training can lead to a Diploma, certification, or an Associate of Applied Science.
By enrolling in one of these programs, you’ll receive all the education you need in your chosen field, and you’ll also have the chance to experience hands-on training in hospitals, clinics, or medical offices. Your instructors will help you turn your passion into useful skills and give you all the tools you need to successfully interview and land a job as a medical professional.