Healthcare Careers: Explore Opportunities In The Medical Field
The medical field is growing rapidly. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of healthcare careers is projected to grow by 19 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is much faster than the average for all other occupations. With so many healthcare occupations to choose from, it can be hard to decide on just one. In this week’s blog, we discuss a handful of the careers that are available in the world of healthcare.
Medical assistants are individuals who work alongside doctors, physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. They are able to find jobs in a variety of healthcare settings including private doctor’s offices, hospitals, ambulatory care services, outpatient facilities, clinics and more.
Medical assistants are trained in both clinical and administrative duties. This cross-training is fundamental the smooth running of medical facilities. Examples of clinical duties they may perform include:
- Take patient’s medical histories
- Explain procedures and treatment plans to patients
- Assist with patient exams
- Prepare patients for exams
- And more
Examples of administrative responsibilities include:
- Schedule appointments
- Greet patients
- Update patient medical records
- Arrange hospital admissions
- And more
As is the case with most healthcare careers, medical assistants should have a genuine passion for helping people. A medical assistant is often the first person a patient encounters when entering a medical facility. Therefore, it is important that medical assistants are trained in how to make patients feel comfortable and at ease in a clinical setting.
Lab assistants are trained in the collection and processing of specimens for testing and diagnosing purposes. They are able to find employment in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, private physician’s offices, blood collection centers, clinics, medical laboratories and more.
Specimen collection is one of the primary responsibilities of lab assistants. This requires specialized training in performing procedures like venipunctures (the process of obtaining blood samples intravenously). Lab assistants then must properly label the samples that are collected and deliver them to the appropriate testing department. Lab assistants also get to help with some of the tests in the lab, such as pH and bacterial culturing.
It is important that lab assistants have a passion for helping people. While lab assistants might spend slightly less time face-to-face with patients than medical assistants do, they interact with patients during a time that is very stressful for a lot of people: blood draws. It is important that lab assistants know how to calm the nerves of an anxious patient so that they can collect their samples with minimal discomfort.
Medical billers and coders specialize in processing medical records and claims so that healthcare providers can receive payment for services rendered. Trained medical billers can find work in a variety of settings including doctor’s offices, hospitals, insurance companies, clinics, medical billing companies, nursing homes, medical laboratories, and more.
Medical billers and coders are fundamental to ensuring that revenue cycles run smoothly for medical providers, insurance companies, and patients. Whenever a medical service is performed, a medical coder assigns a code to the service rendered. Once procedures are recorded and diagnoses are documented, medical billers assemble the medical bill, transmit the claim, and follow up with insurance companies and patients.
Compared to medical assistants and lab assistants, medical billers/coders typically spend less time working face-to-face with clients. So for people who want the security of a career in the medical field but who prefer a job that doesn’t require a ton of patient interaction, medical billing and coding is a great choice.
Optical assistants, or optometric assistants, are individuals who aid optometrists in clinical and administrative duties. This is a great career for customer service oriented people who wish to work in the medical field.
Optical assistants can work in a number of settings including an optometrist’s private office, a vision care clinic, or any other medical facility that provides eyecare. Wherever they find employment, optical assistants perform a variety of tasks that keep the facility running smoothly. These tasks include:
- Answering phones
- Greeting patients
- Managing patient records
- Scheduling appointments
- Assisting with vision tests
- Helping patients select eyeglasses
- Teaching patients how to use and care for contact lenses
- And more
For people who want to enter the growing medical field but who do not want to deal with blood on a regular basis, a career as an optical assistant might be a wonderful fit.
Healthcare Careers: Which One Is Right For You?
Now that you know a bit more about some of the healthcare careers that are out there, it is time to consider which one would be the best fit for you. We at Lamson Institute have helped many adults determine which career best suits them, and we are happy to help you with this process as well!