Healthcare providers play a very important role in a patient’s health. The need and demand for healthcare providers continue to rise as the elderly population increases. The rate of employment for healthcare providers is higher than the average occupation in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of healthcare occupations is expected to increase by 26% from 2010 to 2020, while the average increase of all occupations is expected to be 14%.
Here are the statistics on healthcare occupations that do not require a doctorate degree. These occupations only require a master’s degree, bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, postsecondary degree, or less than a high school education.
Dental hygienists provide dental care by cleaning teeth and examining for signs of oral diseases. They also provide preventative dental care such as sealants and fluoride treatments and educate patients on oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing techniques. An associate degree in dental hygiene is usually required to become a dental hygienist.
Dietitians and nutritionists advise patients on food, nutrition, diet and healthy lifestyles. They help manage diseases by promoting good eating habits and proper nutrition. A bachelor's degree and a license is required to become a dietitian or a nutritionist in most states.
Home Health and Personal Care Aides
Home health and personal aides have an expected job growth of 70%, which is one of the fastest growing healthcare occupations. Both home health and personal care aides help patients with activities of daily living (for example, bathing or dressing), light housekeeping (for example, washing dishes or laundry), and meal preparations. Personal care aides provide companionship and assist patients with daily tasks; however, they do not provide any type of medical service. Unlike personal care aides, home health aides work for certified home health or hospice agencies and provide basic health-related services such as monitoring pulse, temperature or respiration rate. A college education is not required to become a home health aide or personal care aide.
Medical Assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks in a variety of healthcare settings. They provide administrative services such as scheduling appointments or filing. Clinical tasks include recording patient history, measuring vital signs, performing ECGs, and lab procedures. Many medical assistants learn on the job.
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Medical records and health information technicians work with healthcare providers to ensure accurate and complete medical records and health information. They also organize and maintain confidentiality and accessibility of health information. An associate degree and certification is usually required.
Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants assist patients with activities of daily living, which includes cleaning, bathing, dressing, and helping patients eat. They are a vital part of the healthcare team and work under the supervision of LPNs/LVNs or Registered Nurses (RNs). A high school diploma, postsecondary training, and certification is required to become a nursing aide.
Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing prescription medications by transcribing, filling, compounding, packaging and labeling prescriptions. They process insurance claims and provide customer service in retail settings. In hospital settings, pharmacy technicians prepare intravenous medications and deliver medications to patients. Pharmacy technicians have at least a high school education and usually complete a technician training program and pass a state exam to become a licensed pharmacy technician.
Physician assistants provide medical care to patients under the direction and supervision of physicians and surgeons. They examine, diagnose and treat injuries and diseases per the protocol of the physician or surgeon. Physician assistants are licensed and have a master's degree.
Registered nurses provide patient care and/or promote patients’ health in many different healthcare settings such as homes, hospitals, clinics, schools, healthcare agencies and long-term care facilities. Registered nurses usually have a bachelor's degree and are licensed.
Respiratory therapists examine and treat patients with respiratory disorders. They manage ventilation machines for patients who cannot breathe on their own. They administer diagnostic tests, evaluate results and counsel patients on respiratory disorders and proper ventilation techniques. Respiratory therapists may have associates or bachelor's degree and are licensed in all states except Alaska.
Those embarking on a healthcare career should look into which occupations are projected to grow in the next several years. Given the changes in the healthcare system and the number of new patients that will require care, the healthcare sector will provide many career opportunities.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition.