Careers: Dental Hygienist, Medical Lab Technician & More Healthcare Positions

Careers: Dental Hygienist, Medical Lab Technician & More Healthcare Positions
Considering the healthcare field? Your community college can equip you for any number of healthcare positions.

The health care industry is one of the hottest, in terms of employment and job stability. The really good news is that many of the in-demand positions in health care can be landed with a two-year degree from your local community college. Check out these top 10 healthcare careers you can move into with a community college degree.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists assist dentists in their offices, educating patients and providing cleaning and preventative care. According to a report in U.S. News and World Report, the average annual salary for these professionals is around $68,000, and many only work part-time. You can launch your career as a dental hygienist with a two-year degree at your local community college. Many schools feature dental laboratories, where students work with actual patients for practical, hands-on experience. In some states, hygienists must also pass an examination to practice, but community colleges often provide the preparation and opportunities for testing as part of the degree program.

Medical Laboratory Technician

This medical professional performs routine laboratory tests for diagnostic and monitoring purposes. Tests might include blood and urine tests, as well as examinations of tissue and other bodily fluids. Medical laboratory technicians typically work in the lab of a hospital, according to the website for the MHA Health Careers Center. They might also work in the laboratories of public health clinics, universities, and biomedical companies. The average annual salary for a medical laboratory technician is around $32,000, and job growth is expected in this field at a faster rate than average through 2020.

Radiology Technician

A radiology technician is another health care profession you can begin with a two-year degree. Technicians work directly with patients, explaining procedures, evaluating the patient’s condition and then running appropriate tests. In some cases, technicians might assist radiologists in more complex testing, and they are typically responsible for maintaining the equipment within the radiology department. MHA Health Careers Center cites an average annual salary for a radiology technician at nearly $40,000, with excellent job growth predicted in the field over the next few years.

Physical Therapy Assistant

An associate’s degree in physical therapy assistance will prepare you for an exciting career working with patients currently undergoing physical therapy, according to Yahoo Education. Patients are often recuperating from surgery or an injury, working to regain strength and range of motion to resume normal daily activities. The job includes monitoring patients, overseeing exercises and maintaining physical therapy equipment. The average annual salary for a physical therapist assistant is around $51,000.

Registered Nurse

Nurses are always in high demand in the healthcare field, and many begin their careers with a two-year degree from their local community college. Nurses usually have a diverse list of duties on each shift, caring for patients, administering medication and updating charts. Nurses may also be responsible for educating patients and their families on the specific illness or injury, and the care that will be required for recovery. A registered nurse can expect to earn an average annual salary of nearly $60,000, and the job outlook for nurses remains strong through 2020.

Respiratory Therapist

A respiratory therapist is a medical professional are responsible for testing patients’ breathing ability, oxygen intake, and lung capacity. They might also administer breathing treatments for patients immediately after surgery, or during an illness or injury. In some cases, respiratory therapists may see chronically ill patients over a long period of time, developing relationships with those patients, as well as administering care and educating them on their condition. The MHA Health Careers Center website states that the average annual salary for a respiratory therapist is around $40,000.

Health Information Technology Specialist

If you would like a healthcare career that doesn’t involve direct patient contact, the job of a health information technology specialist might be the right choice for you. This professional maintains patients’ records online, updating histories, entering examination results and monitoring patient information security. A strong aptitude in technology is required, as well as a two-year degree for most positions. The average annual salary for a health information technology specialist is around $33,000, according to Yahoo Education.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in educating patients about their medication and filling prescriptions for doctors. These professionals might work in a hospital, drug store or grocery store – anywhere a pharmacy is located. Yahoo Education states this field is predicted to grow at a faster than average rate, with an average annual salary of around $29,000.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants typically work in doctors’ offices, taking patients’ vital signs, administering basic tests and maintaining patient records. The type of duties will depend in part on the size of the office – smaller offices allow medical assistants to do a wider variety of work, while larger offices usually have more than one professional to complete these different tasks. Medical assistants begin their careers with a two-year degree and can expect to earn an average annual salary of around $29,000.

Veterinary Technician

Do you prefer patients of the four-legged kind? If so, the job of a veterinary technician might be a better option. This professional works with veterinarians, administering medical care to pets of all kinds. Technicians might perform diagnostic testing, collect vital signs and educate pet owners on the care of their pets. The average annual salary for a veterinary technician is around $30,000.

Finding a job in the healthcare field isn’t too hard with a two-year degree under your belt. With plenty of degree options available at community colleges today, you are sure to find a career path that will fit you perfectly.

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