Even if you don’t want to be a doctor or a nurse, you shouldn’t overlook the health care industry when planning your career. With an aging population, this is a fast-growing field where you are almost guaranteed a job. Consider the following (less obvious) careers in health care:
Audiologists evaluate hearing, diagnose hearing disorders, and fit patients with hearing aids. They may also provide auditory training and perform research. Patience is an important characteristic for an audiologist to have because you will be working with elderly patients and children. In addition, you may work with other professionals (speech pathologists, physicians, etc.) to plan a patient’s treatment. An undergraduate degree in communication sciences/disorders will provide the necessary coursework for admittance to an audiology graduate program. A clinical doctoral degree is becoming the standard requirement for audiologists. See The American Academy of Audiology’s website for more information.
Optometrists diagnose and treat diseases and conditions related to the eye. They perform vision tests and prescribe corrective lenses. Although optometrists do not perform surgery, they may prescribe medication to treat eye conditions if state law allows. Those wishing to obtain a doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree will need to take a variety science courses as undergraduates in order to be admitted to one of the sixteen optometry schools in the United States. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry provides information about optometry education.
3. Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists provide rehabilitative therapy to emotionally, mentally, and physically disabled patients. Therapy involves learning daily living skills that helps patients lead productive and independent lives. They may also help patients compensate for a permanent loss of function. Occupational therapists work in schools, hospitals, nursing care facilities, and clinics. A master’s degree is required in order to practice. See the American Occupational Therapy Association for more details.
4. Radiologic Technologist
Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations and administer radiation therapy. This not only requires knowledge of anatomy, proper patient positioning, and safety protocols, but also an empathetic and caring nature. See the American Society of Radiologic Technologists for more information about the profession and education requirements.
5. Medical Laboratory Technologist
Medical Laboratory Technologists (also known as clinical laboratory technologists) perform laboratory tests for diagnosis and treatment of diseases. They analyze blood, urine, and other bodily fluids, looking for abnormalities. Laboratory technologists also analyze blood samples to test for blood type and compatibility for transfusion, among other things. If you are interested in science, enjoy working with laboratory equipment, and have an investigative personality type, this may be a good career choice for you. See the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science for more information.
Read Top 100 Health Care Careers: Your Complete Guidebook To Training And Jobs In Allied Health, Nursing, Medicine, And More for more on healthcare career options.