The health care industry provides perennially safe career bets; as long as people ail, they need health care professionals to provide assistance. After rigorous schooling, passing state exams and acquiring licensure, health care professionals go on to earn respectable salaries as they work in hospital, private practice and educational environments. Health care careers range in area of expertise, training requirements and responsibility--be sure to familiarize yourself with all aspects of each career before making a choice.
According to ExploreHealthCareers.org, Registered nurses--more commonly known as "RNs"--generally serve in a collaborative fashion with other health care professionals to assess, plan and administer patient care. The duties of a RN range widely; they observe patients, manage patient cases, develop care plans, provide emotional assistance to patients and administer hands-on patient care procedures. Some RNs focus on specific medical areas. While most RN work environments are collaborative, RNs may work on their own. Outside of work in healthcare facilities, RNs may also conduct medical research, teach nursing or educate patients about health issues. Working as an RN requires an average of three to four years of higher education (usually in the form of a bachelor's degree, associate degree or nursing certificate) as well as a state license. According to 2008 data from the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses earn a median annual salary of $62,450. Registered nursing is one of the fastest growing medical career fields in America.
After acquiring an accredited degree and state license, dental hygienists spend their time examining teeth and maintaining oral health in their patients. Chiefly, dental hygienists remove stains, tarter and plaque from teeth--some states allow hygienists to place fillings and periodontal dressings, while others do not. These medical professionals not only clean teeth using a variety of instruments--usually serving in a private practice--they educate patients in proper oral care and administer preventive oral care. The BLS notes that the dental hygiene field is one of the fastest growing jobs in the country (as per 2010 data). In a flexible part-time work environment, dental hygienists earn a median annual wage of $66,570 per year (according to 2008 BLS data).
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapists examine and treat patients with conditions, ailments or injuries that might negatively affect their physical abilities. Physical therapists, or PTs, work with patients of all ages to restore hampered physical abilities, reduce physical pain, restore injured body parts and prevent physical or movement-based complications. To work in this field, budding professionals must acquire an accredited postgraduate degree and receive licensure from the state in which they plan to practice. Once employed, professional PTs work long, full-time hours in a competitive and fast-growing field. According to 2008 BLS data, PTs earn a median income of $72,630 yearly.
- Photo Credit cost of healthcare image by Cindy Haggerty from Fotolia.com
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