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Other Medical Careers

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Compare the career paths available in healthcare:

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Medical assistants support the work of nurses and doctors by doing a wide variety of administrative and clinical tasks. The administrative tasks assigned to a medical assistant may include answering telephones, greeting patients, scheduling patient appointments, and filling out insurance forms.

Conversely, the clinical tasks performed by a medical assistant include preparing blood for lab tests, taking patient vital signs, preparing and administering medications (as directed by a doctor), recording patient medical histories, and assisting doctors during physical examinations.

Medical assistant programs are often the first step for many individuals who want to enter the healthcare industry.

Program Information

Average Time

8-12 months

Estimated Cost

$2,000-15,000

Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists are medical professionals who specialize in working with a patient’s blood. Their work is an integral part of blood transfusions and donations, as well as medical testing and research.

Not only are phlebotomists responsible for drawing a patient’s blood, they are also tasked with labeling blood samples after verifying a patient’s identity, making anxious patients feel at ease, updating the patient database with new information, and maintaining their medical equipment and work area.

Program Information

Average Time

2-8 months

Estimated Cost

$300-1,200

EMT/Paramedic

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics are providers of emergency medical care. They are often the first called to the scene in the event of an accident or sudden illness. Both EMTs and paramedics are trained to drive an ambulance and provide pre-hospital care. Although they may seem similar, emergency medical technicians and paramedics vary in a few distinct ways.

The “entry-level” position in emergency medical care is emergency medical technician. Requiring less training than a paramedic, EMTs perform tasks such as assessing a patient’s condition, performing CPR, and administering oxygen and epinephrine auto-injections.

While paramedics are trained to do all of the tasks that an EMT can do, they are also required to undergo a longer training period in order to provide more extensive care. Their specialized tasks include providing oral and intravenous medications, managing a patient’s airway, and interpreting EKGs.

Program Information (EMT)

Average Time

1 month

Estimated Cost

$200-1,500

Program Information (Paramedic)

Average Time

1-2 years

Estimated Cost

$5,000-15,000

Physician Assistant (PA)

Physician assistants are medical professionals who work in a variety of settings. They can provide primary care by performing physical exams, reviewing and recording patient medical histories, diagnosing illnesses, discussing treatment options with patients, and writing prescriptions.

In addition to providing primary care, they can also work in hospitals assisting with surgery, setting broken bones, and interpreting test results.

While it may seem that there is little difference between a physician assistant and a doctor, it is important to note that PAs receive less training than doctors and must work under the supervision of a physician or surgeon.

Program Information

Average Time

2-3 years

Estimated Cost

$25,000-80,000

Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists are allied health professionals who administer therapeutic doses of radiation as prescribed by a doctor. This type of therapy is used to treat diseases, often cancer.

Beyond actually administering the treatment using advanced computerized equipment, radiation therapists have many other responsibilities including explaining the treatment to patients, making sure the patient does not experience unusual reactions to the treatment, and keeping records of the course of treatment.

Detailed record keeping is a necessity as many patients receive radiation therapy over a long period of time, and the patient’s historical information is important in determining future treatment.

Program Information

Average Time

1-2 years

Estimated Cost

$2,000-15,000

Radiography

Radiologists are medical doctors who specialize in using medical imaging devices to diagnose and treat patients. They use a variety of techniques to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries including magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, x-rays, and ultrasound.

In addition to simply using operating the medical imaging devices, radiologists also interpret the results and report their findings to the patient’s physician. Doctors often consult with radiologists to get their expert opinion when evaluating medical images.

They are also responsible for the patient’s safety by shielding the parts of the body that are not being imaged, as it is important to make sure the patient receives only the amount of radiation necessary for the image.

Program Information

Average Time

2 years

Estimated Cost

$1,000-14,000

Ultrasound Technician

Ultrasound technicians, as known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use high-frequency sound waves (called ultrasounds or sonograms) to generate images of the inside of the body. This method is non-invasive and considered very safe, as it is used on pregnant women to track the growth and development of a fetus.

Pre-natal sonograms are not the only type performed by ultrasound technicians, however. They perform sonograms on many areas of the body including the abdomen, breast, brain, muscles, and spinal cord.

The work of ultrasound technicians is vital for allowing doctors to safely look inside the human body for the purpose of diagnosing an ailment or tracking the development of a fetus.

Program Information

Average Time

1-2 years

Estimated Cost

$5,000-40,000