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Going Into Healthcare? Five Exciting Careers To Consider


The growth of the nation's healthcare industry isn't just due to our desire to diagnose and treat illnesses. It's also due to an increased emphasis on preventing disease, illness and injury. Beyond the familiar roles of doctors and nurses are numerous other exciting healthcare careers you can consider pursuing that also are very fulfilling. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts the greatest employment growth until 2020 will be in healthcare support jobs, such as diagnostic medical sonographers and nurse practitioners. Here's a look at other potential careers to consider:

Nurse practitioners

These healthcare providers have a wide range of capabilities combined with being able to treat patients independently of physicians. They diagnose and treat both acute and chronic illnesses or may focus on disease prevention and promoting health and wellness. These are registered nurses who have attended graduate school, so they can prescribe medication along with ordering, performing and interpreting lab work, x-rays and other diagnostic tests. The median salary is $97,990 and BLS projects the profession to add more than 30,000 positions through 2022.

Diagnostic medical sonographers

These technicians combine both technical and social elements, which can make for an interesting career. They must become skilled with advanced medical technology, but also interact with often nervous or hesitant patients to get the best diagnostic image possible while addressing their concerns. The position's median salary was $66,410 in 2013 and the BLS estimates there will be 27,000 positions to be filled by 2020.

Obstetrician-gynecologists

Obstetrician-gynecologists are diversified specialists who focus on delivering surgical and medical care to women and their fetuses. This profession combines obstetrics, focusing on women's healthcare before, during and after childbirth, and gynecology, involving diagnosing and treating disorders of women's breasts, reproductive system and related disorders. The median salary is $216,750 with a range between $121,240 and $286,000 annually. BLS projects an 18 percent increase in the number ob-gyn's through 2022. Check out Vitals to find experienced specialists.

Physical therapists

Physical therapists are healthcare providers who helping injured or ill people manage their pain, improve their movement and range of motion, prevent additional injury or pain and encourage health and wellness. They treat people with a range of ailments resulting from sprains, strains and fractures; back and neck injuries; arthritis; neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy or stroke; amputations; and work or sports injuries. The median salary is $79,860 and the BLS projects the profession to grow by 36 percent through 2022.

Respiratory therapists

These healthcare providers care for patients with breathing problems resulting from chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema, COPD, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis and lung cancer. Their patients can range from premature infants whose lungs haven't developed to teens who develop asthma to older adults suffering from decades of smoking. They also treat emergency room patients suffering from shock, heart attack or near drowning. The median salary is $55,870 and the BLS projects about 19 employment growth through 2020.

Entering the healthcare profession doesn't necessarily mean becoming just a doctor or a nurse. Numerous jobs are available in addition to those listed here, including pharmacist, dental hygienist, occupational therapist and massage therapist. Some require a two-year degree, while others require a four-year degree plus additional training (such as dental school). The range of workplaces for healthcare professionals also has expanded beyond the traditional ones of hospitals, clinics and doctor and dentist offices. Many of these healthcare professionals now work in places such as nursing homes, outpatient surgery centers and home healthcare agencies.

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