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Look to the Future: Become a Medical or Healthcare Assistant

There are a number of different factors that can contribute to a person's career choice. Some individuals decide to pursue a career that is fulfilling and rewarding, some people want a career with job security for the future and others want to find something that is financially lucrative.

Quick Facts: Healthcare Assistant Industry
Median Pay:   $30,377 per year | $15 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Postsecondary non-degree award
Work Experience:   None
Number of Jobs, 2014:   3,279,000

Healthcare Assistant Occupations:

  • Medical assistants$29,960
  • Medical transcriptionists$34,750
  • Home health aides$21,380
  • Psychiatric aides$26,220
  • Nursing assistants$25,100
  • Occupational therapy aides$26,550
  • Physical therapist aides$24,650
  • Physical therapist assistants$54,410

While each individual makes his or her own decision, ultimately, one thing you won't want to ignore is the job growth prediction for a certain field.

Occupations with predicted job growth are great options for those who appreciate job security and stability today and years in the future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the fastest growing occupations include that of personal care aides, physical therapy assistants and physician's assistants.

If you are interested in a career in the field of health care, then discover why these jobs are growing, what it takes to succeed and what kind of salaries and job prospects are available.

Predictions For Job Growth in the Field

One of the most integral factors that aspiring college students should take into consideration when choosing a major is the predicted job growth in their field of choice.

Although it is important to find a career that interests you, it is also important to find a job with a large number of job openings and a high demand for qualified applicants.

Fortunately, those who are considering a career in health care's vast field or as a medical assistant will be pleased to note that predicted job demand for these career fields is steadily rising, according to the BLS.

Between 2012 and 2022, the demand for personal care aides is set to rise by 48%, occupational therapy assistants by 42%, physical therapy aides by 41% and physician assistants by 38%.

This is ideal for those who are ready to enter the job market in the next few years, as careers will not be as competitive if the demand is high.

Health Care and Medical Assistant Career Opportunities

Medical assisting is a wonderful career for all kinds of people, and it may interest you to know that this is not a singular job description.

There are all kinds of medical assistants in the medical field, and you can do everything from administrative work in a private practice to deal with patients in occupational therapy.

What is so fantastic about this variety is that individuals can choose the specific employment position that best fits their needs and skills.

Some of the careers that you might be interested include that of dental assistants, home health aides, physician assistants, medical secretaries, medical transcriptionists, nursing assistants and medical administrative assistants.

Average Salaries For Employees in this Field

Trying to pin down the exact salary for someone in this field can be tricky, as the exact amount paid might depend on things like your education, your experience, how successful you are in your position and even the geographical location where you work.

However, there are a number of groups, such as the BLS, that average out median salaries in the United States to paint a clearer picture overall.

These average salaries for related careers might help you to choose the option that best fits into your financial goals:

  • Home Health Aide: $20,820
  • Medical Assistants: $29,370
  • Medical Transcriptionists: $34,020
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants: $48,940
  • Physical Therapy Aide: $39,430
  • Dental Assistants: $34,500
  • Education: Which Degrees Prepare Graduates For Success

The diversity of careers in the field of medical assistants and health care means that there is no one specific qualification required for employment.

However, almost every employer hiring someone in this industry will require them to have an absolute minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent of a general education degree.

In order to secure anything but an entry-level position, earning a college degree is a smart decision.

An associate degree can be a solid option for those who want to dive into a new career as quickly as possible.

Taking an average of two years to complete, the associate degree can prepare individuals for a career in a variety of different positions.

Those who have the time and advanced career goals may opt to pursue a bachelor's degree, which typically takes just four years to complete.

Both of these degree options in medical assisting can be completed online or on a college campus, and some of the courses included in the degree program are pharmacology, anatomy, microbiology, business communications and emergency medicine.

Characteristics of Successful Medical Assistants

Along with getting the right college degree, post-secondary training and licensing in the state you want to practice, there are some traits that can help ensure that you become a successful assistant in the medical industry.

Begin detail-oriented is a vital skill, as the data you collect from patients or input into computers could affect a person's diagnosis or treatment.

The best medical assistants are also great communicators whether they are chatting with patients before a therapy sessions or emailing their boss to explain something about a patient's file.

Those who work in medical billing or coding should also have strong math and computing skills.

Potential Places of Work in this Field

One of the things that makes this career field so appealing to college students is that work can be found for graduates in all types of environments.

If you are interested in dentistry, you could serve as an assistant in a dental practice. If you want to pursue a career in physical therapy, working as a physical therapist's assistant is a wonderful place to start.

Other medical and health care assistants work in hospitals, nursing homes, private practices, clinics and even schools. Since there is demand around the world for trained medical professionals, you may even decide to seek out work overseas.

Healthcare is a booming industry in the United States, and securing a career as an assistant or other aspecits of the healthcare industry can be a great way to find fulfillment, job security and stability in your life.