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Almost everyone knows that healthcare is a booming industry. In fact, it is now considered the largest employer in the US. But what many people do not know, is that you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse to get a job in this field. You’ll find people with many various types of degrees in the medical field, including lawyers, secretaries, and janitors. But if you’d like to specifically pursue an education in health care, here are just a few little-known opportunities you might check out.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Nuclear medicine technologists are the professionals who perform nuclear imaging tests. These include PET (positron emission tomography) and SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans. They also handle and prepare radioactive drugs for cancer patients. Nuclear medicine technologists typically hold an associates degree and earn about $74,000 per year.
Wound-care specialists work in hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and clinics. It’s not a glamorous job, but they provide an essential service. These specialists remove infected tissue from wounds, and treat them with the appropriate medicines and coverings. Most people in this profession are either doctors or nurses, who choose to practice in this area of medicine. They might attend medical career colleges for their nursing degrees and then go directly to work for a wound-care facility. And because it is such a specialized field, they usually earn a higher salary than their colleagues with no specializations.
A dental prosthetist is someone who makes dentures. But closely related to this job are denturists and prosthodontists. A denturist also makes dentures, but he or she also is responsible for fitting them to the patient. And a prosthodontist is a dentist with specific denture training and specialization. Someone in this field might work in a denture clinic in Calgary, for example, helping patients and dentists with denture care; or they might work in a factory that specifically manufactures them.
A cytotechnologist is someone who studies cells under a microscope, looking for abnormalities. Their roles are to find diseased cells while they are still in the treatable stages. Most of them work in laboratories, either independently, or alongside pathologists. And they are required to hold four-year degrees and certificates from a cytotechnology program. They also must show proficiency by passing a certification exam.
Pedorthists make customized footwear for patients with specific conditions. These might include people with bunions, hammertoes, arthritis, or diabetes. They usually see patients to study their feet and assess their particular needs. And then they create the shoes that fit them and help them perform better in their day-to-day lives. To become a pedorthist, you would attend a specialized education program that is approved by the American Board of Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics. You would then participate in a 1,000-hour practicum to receive hands-on experience and training.
Cardiac perfusionists are professionals who attend surgeries with physicians to run the heart-lung machines. These machines basically work in place of the heart functions while the patient is being operated on. They purify and circulate the blood when the heart cannot perform on its own. People in this profession are required to hold bachelor’s degree, complete a training program, and take a certification exam to become certified. The salary for perfusionists is typically $60,000 to $70,000 per year to start. But the average salary for most is more than $100,000.
Many of these little-known health care careers are weird and well-paid. And it’s usually the case that the more specialized fields are higher-paid and more in-demand.