How to Break into the Medical Field

There are numerous entry-level healthcare jobs that do not require extensive education to break into the medical field. Many of these jobs offer opportunities to establish long term medical careers. Healthcare jobs are always in demand, regardless of the country's economic condition. The following explores some of the most potential job prospects for the near future.

Registered Nurse

According to BLS figures, job openings for registered nurses are expected to exceed half a million by 2016. As more people acquire healthcare insurance to meet Obamacare regulations, the need for registered nurses will only increase. RNs play a key role in the medical profession; they assist doctors in examining and treating patients, provide rehab services and help educate the public on how to maintain good health and wellness.

Educational requirements for becoming a RN vary, depending on the position and training you desire. A 2 year Associate’s Degree or 3 year Diploma program can prepare you for entry-level nursing positions in various healthcare settings. By extending your education to the Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree level, you can expand your career options to include hospitals, public health departments, community health programs, schools and more. Nurse graduates are required to pass an exam for licensing in their state before they can practice their profession.

Home Health Aide

Health aides perform healthcare duties in private residences and assisted living facilities. Their patients may be elderly individuals or those suffering from chronic illness. Duties include checking vital signs, administering medicine and aiding patients with their physical care. The job outlook for health aides is promising due to the growing elderly population. It's also a good way to enter the medical profession as you gain valuable experience that can advance your career.

Although a college degree is not required to become a health aide, it is important to receive proper training and education to advance in your career. Many aides receive on the job training by working under doctors or nurses; others complete a training program as a certified nursing assistant or licensed vocational nurse. Medicare/Medicaid funded agencies require that aides complete a minimum 75 hr. training program, have at least 16 hrs. of practical experience and pass a state certification program. National certification from the National Association of Home Care and Hospice is an added plus.

Medical Assistant

The demand for medical assistants is great with employment opportunities opening up all across the country. Medical assistants carry out administrative and clinical duties that are essential to healthcare professionals. Certificate and degree training programs for this profession are available through vocational schools, community colleges and universities and take anywhere between one to two years to complete. Applicants should ensure their program is accredited by a reputable accrediting agency in order to get qualified training for in their field. Accredited programs often include opportunities for internships in clinics and hospitals that provide students with valuable experience in their upcoming profession.

Medical assistant programs consist of both medical and office training for a balanced education. Students are generally taught clinical and lab procedures, first aid, patient relations, medical law, ethics and techniques for administering medicine. Certification is a must after completing your training as it indicates your competence in this field. You can obtain certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants or American Medical Technologists associations. Some states may also require passing an exam for licensing before allowing you to practice your profession.

Pharmacy Technician

The responsibilities of pharmacy technicians vary depending on the state where they live. In general, pharmacy technicians help pharmacists prepare prescriptions and offer basic customer assistance. Preparation of medications includes mixing, measuring, counting proper medicine dosage and labeling. The prescription is then double checked by the pharmacist before releasing to the patient. Technicians may also perform administrative tasks such as filing insurance forms or updating electronic records.

At present, there are few state and Federal requirements for pharmacy technician training. Many technicians receive training from professional licensed pharmacists on the job. Most employers prefer that technicians have some formal training and certification before hiring. Pharmacy technician training programs generally take a year to complete and are available through pharmaceutical companies and local colleges and universities.

Through a training program, students learn math, precision, communication and customer service skills that are essential for the job. Pharmacy technicians must be accurate and meticulous in their work as their customer’s health depends on it. Certification is a must after completing your program in order to prove your competence in this field. Certification also qualifies you to work with licensed pharmacists in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes or local pharmacies in your area.

These are but a few of the many healthcare jobs available for individuals wanting to break into the medical field. These healthcare professions offer many opportunities for establishing a prosperous career for the future.