When many people realize their passion for the medical field, they ask themselves one question: “Should I become a doctor or a nurse?” However, while they are both lucrative, rewarding, and honorable careers, they are not the only two options out there.
With a little research, future healthcare professionals can discover dozens of unique career paths in the medical field in which they can apply their passion for healthcare. In addition to doctors and nurses, they can become therapists, hospital administrators, information technology professionals, or technicians in a specific specialty.
Technicians/technologists are critical to patient care and the success of a hospital or healthcare facility in providing that care. One unique aspect of a hospital job as a technician is the opportunity to select a specific specialty to work in. To give you a glimpse of what these careers might look like, we’ve selected four of the most popular specialities to highlight:
If you have an interest in eye care and enjoy working with patients, a career as an ophthalmic technician may be a good fit. Ophthalmic techs work alongside an ophthalmologist, helping patients with eye disorders, vision measurements for glasses and contacts prescriptions, and blindness prevention.
They can also work with optical instruments and train patients on how to use and maintain them, and can even assist ophthalmologists during eye surgery and other procedures.
The median annual income for ophthalmic technicians is around $33,430. Certification is required before one is allowed to begin practicing. To obtain certification, one must complete, at minimum, a one-year program from an accredited facility, though some eye clinics may require an associate’s degree in addition to the certification program.
More detailed information about this career can be found in our ophthalmic technician career profile. For current job openings for ophthalmic techs, view our job search page.
Ultrasound technicians (or diagnostic medical sonographers) produce and record images using ultrasound equipment that physicians use to make diagnoses. In addition to working with expectant mothers to produce images of growing babies, ultrasound techs can also use equipment to examine breast tissue, brain and spinal cord and muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and organs in the abdominal cavity. They also work closely with patients by preparing them for the procedure.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ultrasound technicians earn a median annual salary of $62,540. To become one, an associate’s degree in medical sonography is recommended in addition to on-the-job training.
To view current hospital job opportunities for ultrasound technicians, visit our job openings page.
While there’s a good chance you have heard of the others, you may not have heard about a career as a dietetic technician. Our dietary intake has a significant impact on our overall health, and dietetic technicians help people take control of their health by helping them understand how to make better and more nutritious food choices.
In doing so, dietetic technicians can help patients reduce their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and others. Working alongside registered dietitians in hospitals, nursing homes, and private practices, dietetic techs plan menus and educate patients on proper nutrition practices.
The median annual income for dietetic technicians is $36,208. To become one, future dietetic techs must obtain an associate’s degree followed by the completion of an accredited program involving 450 hours of supervised practice experience in various community programs, healthcare and foodservice facilities.
For more information about a career as a dietetic technician, check out our job profile page.
X-ray technicians, also known as radiologic technologists, use cutting-edge equipment and technology to take a look inside of the human body. X-ray techs prepare patients for the procedure by taking a brief medical history, explaining what the process entails, and answering any questions the patient may have.
After preparing the patient and producing images of inside the patient’s body, they then work with radiologists to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries.
The median annual income for x-ray technicians is $55,870. To obtain certification through The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), one must complete a two-year associate’s degree program. Upon completion of an accredited program, x-ray techs must pass a national certification exam to obtain licensure.
To browse current openings for x-ray technicians, view our job search page.
Becoming a technician or technologist is a rewarding career path -- and with many only requiring an associate’s degree along with certification, the road to becoming one is not as long as other healthcare careers. While the four careers listed above are a few of the most popular technician jobs, keep in mind that there are many other options and specialties one can pursue.
In fact, there are 25 different categories of technicians and technologists on our job search page alone.