With the US job market in a serious downward trend for the last few years, it is good to get an understanding of the employment landscape for the next ten to twenty years. Doing so can help mitigate financial shortcomings, especially if you are planning to raise a family.
One area to look is health care. With the Obama administration and Congress getting closer and closer to passing a health care reform bill, you should be thinking that a career in health care is one way to go. Maybe it’s even the best way to go if you’re still unsure of what to do.
Now a job in health care could mean anything. You don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse. Those jobs are just what most people think of when health care employment is mentioned. So you could be a techie and be in health care. You could be in office administration and be in health care. You could be in marketing and be in health care. There are enough varied responsibilities to make the health care system work.
Below are two health care jobs that are traditional and very doable for the majority of young people and recent high school graduates who are still unsure of how they’ll shape their future.
Nurses: Working with patients at the hospitals and clinics
Nurses are the most popular health care jobs and have been for the past few years. Being the main workforce in hospitals, they keep a very busy schedule, most times, working 10-12 hour shifts at a time for three to four days in a row. Nurses perform a lot of testing, monitoring, medicine application, etc. Their hands get dirty, so to speak.
Consequently, they are handsomely paid for their skills. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), the average salary for a nurse in 2008 was $31.31 per hour. Put that in 40 hour work week plus overtime, then the yearly salary for nurses skyrockets. According to the USBLS, the top paid nurses in 2008 made $92,240 per year. That salary is more than adequate for most US workers.
To become a nurse, you must finish nursing school with a bachelor’s (BSN) or associates degree (ADN). Then you must pass the NCLEX-RN, the standardized, national test to become a nurse.
Physical Therapist: Working with patients out of the hospitals
When a patient gets discharged from the hospital, his or her medical care is not necessarily over. There are follow ups that need to happen so that whatever ailment they’ve had that sent them to the hospital in the first place does not happen again. The care outside of the hospital is called outpatient care.
For some ailment, one of the outpatient care follow-ups is physical therapy. This is done to ensure that the patient gets stronger in both body and mind. Many times, the therapy is done at the patient’s home while he or she is recovering.
If you’re familiar with working out in gyms, then a physical therapist is like a trainer. Except that the physical therapist also documents the patient’s progress with instructions from the doctor in charge of the outpatient care.
A physical therapist typically asks the patient to perform light exercises such as leg lifts, stretches, and walking. Sometimes, they provide brief massage therapy when necessary. Visits could be periodical or just a one time event.
Physical therapists do no get down and dirty as nurses do, but they still work directly with patients. Albeit, the patients they work with are already out of harm’s way. They ought to have great people skills along with other skills that could come in handy. Attending a massage therapy school is something that could help.
When looking to get in healthcare, one must realize that the majority of job opportunities require direct interaction with patients in some form or another. That’s what healthcare is all about, taking care of another person’s well being. Healthcare is one of those topics where consumers at large look to experts who are well educated and experienced in their field of expertise. You have to be a people’s person to succeed.