The healthcare industry is the fastest growing employment sector in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. More than 18 million people work in some facet of the industry in America, from doctors’ offices to hospitals to nursing homes and rehabilitation care facilities—and the industry continues to grow.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects an additional four million jobs to be added in the next decade, more than in any other industry. If you're considering a career in the medical field, then know you don't necessarily have to go to medical school and become a doctor. There are many rewarding jobs in the medical field that require much less training.
Where To Start Out In The Medical Field
Medical billing technician
Medical billing technicians make sure that the right insurance company, individual, or government agency gets bills for medical services and then tracks the payment. According to the BLS, this is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the healthcare industry, and the average worker makes an annual salary of $38,040. To get one of the many entry-level medical billing jobs, you should complete a certification program or earn an associate degree in this specialty.
Medical office secretary
Each doctor's office and medical department in large care facilities requires someone to schedule appointments, coordinate staff schedules, handle correspondence, and assist patients when they first arrive. That person is the office secretary. Without you, most offices would cease to function efficiently. This position requires only a high school diploma or GED equivalent, although good communication skills are a must.
Medical coding technician
This career involves making sure that medical invoices are properly coded for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Like medical billing technicians, most entry-level medical coding jobs require that you complete a certificate program or earn a two-year associate degree in medical coding.
Physical therapy assistant
The need for physical therapy assistants is expected to increase by 30 percent over the next decade, much faster than most other careers. This career requires you to complete a two-year associate degree program. The median salary for a physical therapy assistant is $57K.
Entry-level transcription jobs are another option. You'll take the data physicians and other healthcare workers write on paper or dictate and input it into a permanent patient record in a standardized format. Some post-secondary education is required for this career, usually a certificate program. The median annual salary is $35K.
Careers Don’t Stop Here
Many people find these jobs satisfying and want to do them for the rest of their careers while moving up the ranks within the profession.
Others want to go on to become nurses or doctors, and that’s great too. You will have experience and general medical knowledge under your belt, which will help you in your next set of classes. With the right training and careful studying, you can go far in the field!