Health Care Boom Opens Up Huge Demand For Support Staff

Not all of us have what it takes to become a physician or surgeon. These high-paying-and demanding-professions require huge investments of time and money, not to speak of the fierce competition to get into medical school. But, if you've always wanted to work in a hospital or doctor's office, becoming a healthcare support staffer might be just the shot in the arm your career needs. With training from a top-notch career college, in about 8 to 10 months, you can be a valued team member in a lab, pharmacy, physician's office or dental practice.

According to the Department of Labor, health care is the second fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing over 12 million workers. California, in particular, has a shortage of health care professionals, with vacancies across the state, raising salaries and increasing employment opportunities for high school graduates, career changers and other job seekers.

Although the media has focused on the critical need for registered nurses (RNs), well-trained and competent clinical support staff, such as Medical Assistants and Surgical Technologists, as well administrative support staff, including Health Claims Examiner/Medical Billers, are also an essential component in providing quality health care services.

In the past, on-the-job training might have been sufficient to become a member of a medical/dental office or lab support staff. But today, the bar has been raised: workers need to hit the ground running, with a complete understanding of the advances in medical technology, as well as the knowledge and practical skills necessary to be competent in different environments, whether private, public, governmental or university-based. As a Medical Assistant, for example, you might expect to help out with basic insurance billing, medical records and other office skills, but you might also check vital signs or help set up for physical exams. Medical Assistants have found work in hospitals, clinics, HMOs, and home health organizations.

Other hands-on, patient-oriented careers that have been increasing along with a growing and aging population are Massage Therapist, Pharmacy Technician, and Dental Assistant. If you find you enjoy these roles, it's possible to go on and receive further education to become a registered nurse or physician assistant.

One exciting health care option is a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, an ultrasound professional who performs clinical assessments and diagnostic examinations. Imagine the gratification of being able to track a baby's growth or help diagnose a tumor or organ disease. You can use your love of anatomy and physiology without needing years of intense schooling, while earning a satisfying living.

Optical Dispensing is another field with limitless potential. With a majority of the population requiring eyewear, an optical dispensing specialist who passes the National Optician Exam and Contact Lens Registry Exam can be qualified to work as a ophthalmic lab technician, contact lens fitter, eye doctor's assistant, manufacturer's representative or optical office manager. You can even open your own store someday --an exciting and challenging opportunity to realize your financial and personal independence.

No matter what health care support staff position is right for you, look for a fully accredited college with qualified faculty, modern facilities, and placement assistance. An admissions representative can help you figure out where your aptitude and talents lie. And when the time comes, you can receive help with interviewing skills, resume preparation, and job leads.