The health sector offers many career choices in the diagnostic, patient care, and therapy sections. However, individual interests and talents determine the perfect career choice. Some of the popular health professions include pharmacy technician, physical therapist assistant, radiologist, respiratory therapy technicians, and the licensed practical nurse (LPN). The paper summarizes the roles, working environments, academic qualifications, potential earnings, and the employment outlooks of these careers.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), the minimum academic qualification for joining a training program is a high school diploma. Additionally, the agency recognizes academic equivalents of credentials from countries outside America (General Pharmaceutical Council, 2015). A qualified technician earns an approximate annual salary of $ 29,320, based on the pay scale of 2012. Currently, there is a high demand for pharmacy technicians due to the rising cases of chronic, lifestyle, and nutritional diseases.
Similarly, employment opportunities are expected to rise by 21 percent because of an increase in the number of aged patients and lifestyle diseases. Licensing varies across states. Some States offer special tests while others issue licenses upon completion of formal training programs (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 2015). Most technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists in pharmacies while others work in drug stores and chemical outlets. The professionals must be ethical, careful, and accurate to avoid giving wrong prescriptions.
Physical Therapist Assistants
These professionals assist patients regain their motor skills after physical injuries. The minimum academic requirement to work as a therapist is an associate degree in a physical therapy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) estimates the average annual wage for the assistants at $52,160. Currently, the demand for physical therapy assistants is very high due to an increasing number of aged persons and a rise in chronic illnesses. Additionally, the demand is expected to grow because of increasing cases of accidents, occupational injuries, old age, and chronic illnesses. In fact, a 41 percent growth is expected by the year 2022.
According to Gardner (2011), the professionals must be licensed after passing a national physical therapy examination. Licensing is mandatory in all American states except in Hawaii. The assistants work under the supervision of therapists in the occupational, physical, and speech therapy departments (Bellamy, 2011). The assistants can also be employed in the nursing care facilities. The professionals must be patient, gentle, ethical, and observe all professional standards.
These professionals conduct scanning and imaging procedures on patients. An associate degree is required after taking basic courses in scanning and imaging technology (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, 2015). The annual salary for these professionals was $54,620 in 2012. Currently, the profession is gaining popularity because of an increasing population of aged and at-risk groups. The future is expected to increase employment opportunities by 21 percent because of rising cases of osteoporosis, poor lifestyles, and increasing physical injuries (Cigna, 2015). Most of the professionals work in hospitals across the country.
Additionally, others work in the diagnostic laboratories and outpatient healthcare facilities. According to the American College of Radiology (2015), some radiologists work in physicians’ offices and surgical hospitals. One of the characteristics of these professionals is ethics. Additionally, they must be very cautious, accurate and careful when assessing patients’ health to avoid making an erroneous diagnosis.
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These professionals assist patients diagnosed with breathing problems. The minimum requirement for joining respiratory therapy programs is a high school diploma (Penn Medicine, 2015). However, practicing therapists must have at least a bachelor’s degree. The US department of labor sets the average annual wage for the professionals at $55,870. The current demand for respiratory therapists is caused by smoking, pollution, and respiratory illnesses.
A 19 percent growth is expected by the year 2022 because of increasing exposure to pollutants, smoking, and living environments that increase chances of contracting respiratory illnesses. State and professional exams are required for certification (Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, 2014). Additionally, students must complete professional programs accredited by the national board for respiratory care. All States, excluding Alaska certify and license respiratory therapists (American Association for Respiratory Care, 2015). The professionals must be ethical, empathic, and very careful.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs)
These professionals work with registered nurses and are involved in administering basic patient care in healthcare institutions (Shi & Singh, 2014). The minimum academic requirement to join a nursing course is a high school diploma, which allows students to pursue certificate or diploma programs in technical and community colleges (Practical Nursing, 2015). The average annual wage for LPNs is $41,540. In most cases, the professionals work full time because of the high demand in hospitals.
LPNs are some of the highest sought professionals (College of Healthcare Professionals, 2015). The demand for these professionals will growth by 25 percent in 2022. Additionally, extended care facilities are increasing because of a high number of aged persons and high rates of diabetes and obesity. The professionals work mostly in hospitals, residential and home care services, as well as nursing care centers (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2015). The LPNs should be empathic, caring, patient, and ethical.
The healthcare professionals require specialized training programs. Additionally, their wages are above average. Whereas some professionals in this sector require specific professional skills, all professionals share several personal traits. The professions focus on improving the health and wellbeing of patients in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
American Association for Respiratory Care. (2015). Accredited Respiratory Therapy Schools. Web.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2015). Baccalaureate Nursing Programs. Web.
American College of Radiology. (2015). What Is a Radiologist? Web.
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. (2015). Pharmacy Technician Accreditation. Web.
Bellamy, J. (2011). Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Careers Overview. Web.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Healthcare Occupations. Web.
Cigna. (2015). Benefits of the Cigna Network. Web.
College of Healthcare Professionals. (2015). Why CHCP is Different. Web.
Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. (2014). Find a CoARC-Accredited Respiratory Care Program. Web.
Gardner, K. (2011). Who Are Physical Therapist Assistants? Web.
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General Pharmaceutical Council. (2015). Entry requirements. Web.
Penn Medicine. (2015). Health Care Professionals. Web.
Practical Nursing. (2015). Welcome to a Career in Practical Nursing. Web.
Shi, L., & Singh, D. (2014). Delivering health care in America. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Web.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. (2015). Education. Web.