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9 Best Career Options In Healthcare

Many professional jobs in healthcare don't require a bachelor's degree; they may call for certification or a license, only. Some can be a lifelong career, or just a stepping stone along your healthcare career path. These jobs serve to help you get your foot in the door to land your dream job.

Check out these in-demand healthcare jobs, which provide competitive wages and can be done in a hospital or a physician office setting.

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Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work under both registered nurses and physicians to provide basic nursing care, such as changing bandages, checking blood pressure, helping patients with self-care tasks such as bathing or dressing, etc. The work will vary depending on the setting and state. If you're considering a career in nursing but aren't ready to commit to a higher degree, becoming an LPN is the way to go. You can always advance your education, down the line.

LPNs must complete an accredited program to earn LPN designation. These programs typically take about a year to complete and combine classroom and supervised clinical experience. If you want to get into nursing, but don't want to obtain a higher degree, becoming an LPN is a good option. The average annual wage for an LPN in 2016 was $44,090. There were 724,500 LPN jobs in 2016.

Medical Administrative Assistants (Secretaries)

Medical administrative assistants work in office settings or hospitals, and perform tasks such as answering phones, collecting patient information, scheduling appointments, verifying insurance information, and greeting patients in the waiting room. They must be good at multi-tasking and customer service. This is a great introductory job into the business-side of medicine.

There are no formal requirements for medical administrative assistants; however, most are certified. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for medical administrative assistants working a physician office is $33,820 per year, whereas hospitals average at $35,550. The number of jobs in 2016 was 556,820.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants support physicians with administrative and clinical help to provide basic care for patients. They may perform administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, updating medical records, bookkeeping, and preparing patients for exams. Their clinical tasks may include taking patients' vital signs, preparing blood samples for lab work, administering injections, etc. Medical assistants are a great entry level position, which can provide both clinical and administrative experience.

There are no formal education requirements to be a medical assistant, but most employers require certification. Most medical assistants undergo on-the-job training and earn a medical assisting diploma that can be completed in 12 months. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Median annual salary in 2016 was $31,540. The number of medical assistant jobs in 2016 was 634,400.

Medical Biller

Even though medical billing and coding are often thought to be the same career, they are distinct jobs. A medical biller must understand coding language and how to read medical invoices, and makes sure everyone is billed correctly. A medical biller submits and follows up on claims with health insurance companies to receive payment for services rendered by a healthcare provider. A knowledgeable biller can optimize revenue performance for the practice or hospital they bill for.

Many hospitals and physician practices require medical billers to be certified. Average pay is $48,734, depending on credentials and experience of the biller.

Medical Coder

Medical coders transform healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. The diagnoses and procedure codes are taken from medical record documentation, such as physician's notes, laboratory and radiologic results, etc., to be paid by insurance carriers. They check the medical chart to ensure it's coded correctly because there is a direct correlation between code choice and physician reimbursement.

Many hospitals and physician practices require medical coders to obtain certification. Average pay is as high as $52,707, depending on credentials and experience. Certified medical coders earn 21 percent more than those without certification.

Medical Record Auditor

Medical record auditors must understand governmental coding guidelines, physician documentation, fraud, abuse, and penalties for incorrect documentation. It is a critical piece to compliant and profitable healthcare facilities and physician practices. Auditors perform quality assurance and coding risk analysis, and communicate the results and findings to physicians, coding staff, and compliance officers.

To ensure medical record auditors have a clear understanding of all the nuances of medical record auditing, hospitals and physician practices require have certification. The average pay is as high as $63,683, depending on credentials and experience.

Medical Scribe or Transcriptionist

A medical scribe is a great occupation for those interested in medical terminology and who can think and type quickly. They document the patient encounter, procedure, lab results, etc., and enter it in the electronic health record. Physicians use scribes under their direct supervision, while shadowing them during a patient encounter. A transcriptionist, on the other hand, completes the patient chart by listening to a physician's voice dictation and converting that into a written report. That way, the physician can focus on patient care, instead of the computer. Most medical scribes and transcriptionists work for hospitals, physicians' offices, and third-party transcription service companies. Some are self-employed and work on a contract basis.

Medical scribes and transcriptionist require certification and typically make $35,720 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 data. There were 57,400 medical transcriptionists in 2016.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies, including those found in drug, general merchandise, and grocery stores, and in hospitals. They work under a pharmacist helping to fill prescriptions, taking patient information in person and over the phone, organizing inventory, accepting payment, processing insurance, etc. It is a great stepping stone career for those who want to become a pharmacist.

Most employers require pharmacy technicians to complete a certification program, which can be completed in as little as nine months. The median wage for a pharmacy technician in 2016 was $30,920 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 402,500 pharmacist technicians in 2016, and employment is projected to grow at 12 percent through 2016.

Ultrasound Technician

Ultrasound techs perform ultrasounds on patients and pass along information to providers. Most people associate ultrasound with pregnancy monitoring, but it also aids in diagnosing tumors, determining organ health, evaluating heart conditions, detecting blood clots, finding the cause of pain, etc. Ultrasound technician work is critical for physicians and clinicians to diagnose and treat their patients with accuracy. Work settings include ultrasound rooms in a quiet, clean office or hospital department.

Depending on the employer, ultrasound technician education requirements may include an associate's degree, diploma, or certification, which can be completed in less than two years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for medical administrative assistants working in a physician office is $69,450; whereas, hospital workers averaged $71,510. The number of jobs in 2016 was 65,790.

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