How to get started in healthcare

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There’s a difference, however, between knowing a career in healthcare is for you, and knowing how to get started.

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How to get started in healthcare

  1. 1. How to Get Started in Healthcare By Beth Dumbauld If you’ve decided it’s time to get serious about your career, and you’re beginning to think a career in healthcare might be the best fit for your career goals, you’re in the right place. Careers in healthcare are stable, growing, and in-demand. In the last ten years, careers in healthcare have grown ten-times as fast as other careers – contributing 2.6 million jobs to the economy.1 In fact, the non-healthcare economy has grown at only 2.1% in the same ten year time period (or .2% per year). If you are looking for job growth and career opportunity, earning a degree in the healthcare field makes a lot of sense. There’s a difference, however, between knowing a career in healthcare is for you, and knowing how to get started. Often, it’s the getting started part that can be the challenge for adults going back to college, or students just begin to look at possible degree paths. As with any professional field, it’s important to know what the educational requirements are, and what degree path you need to pursue in order to get your dream degree. Online Education Is the Fast Path to Your Career in Healthcare With online education, you now have access to a flexible, convenient, and affordable way to earn a college degree that will let you have the career you want in healthcare. Additionally, you can take most of the introductory college courses required for a healthcare related degree through an online college course provider like StraighterLine, and have those low cost college courses transfers directly to the college where you plan on earning your degree. Some of the most respected healthcare programs in the country are offered online, as well as many healthcare programs offered by regional institutions like Excelsior College, Western Governors University (WGU), Capella University, Liberty University Online, Northern Virginia Community College, University of Maryland University College. Additionally, if you take online college classes that are eligible to earn ACE Credit through an online college course provider like StraighterLine, your courses are then eligible for transfer to over 1800 colleges and universities – allowing you an enormous advantage in terms of affordability and flexibility.
  2. 2. What’s more, if you are looking for a speedy on-ramp into the healthcare field, many of the fastest growing jobs in healthcare don’t require a 4-year bachelor’s degree. For many fast-growing professional healthcare careers, you can earn a 2-year associate degree and be quickly on your way to working in a stable, growing industry. Healthcare Career Options for ICD-10: Medical Coding and Medical Billing ICD (International Classification of Diseases) guidelines are changing, making healthcare professionals with ICD-10 expertise increasingly in demand now, and, in the future. Why does a change in ICD matter? ICD is the code set that medical professionals use to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures. It’s how medical providers, payers, vendors, and others in the medical marketplace communicate with each other. All of these entities need to speak the same language and use the same set of codes in order for information to be processed and disseminated appropriately. Healthcare students taking college courses today, as well as medical billers and coders taking courses to learn the latest ICD-10 codes and procedures, are at an advantage in the medical records marketplace. What is ICD-10? ICD-10 is a complete overhaul of the previous medical codes sets known as ICD-9. On October 1, 2014, all ICD-9 code sets will be replaced by ICD-10 code sets. ICD-9 has been used in healthcare diagnostics for 30 years2, but now provides only limited data about a patient’s medical condition and inpatient procedures. ICD-9 uses outdated terms and is inconsistent with current healthcare options. ICD-10 makes changes to keep codes current with the healthcare field as practiced today. ICD-10 Experts in Demand: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians If you are considering a career in healthcare, you may be new to the field – but you’ll still be on a level playing field when it comes to developing an expertise in ICD-10 codes. This means there may be no better time to consider a career in medical records and health information technology (such as ICD-10 medical coding or medical billing) than now. In fact, this profession is expected to grow 21% from 2010 to 2020. In 2010, the median pay for a medical records and health information technician was
  3. 3. $32,250. Education required is generally an associate degree or professional certification.3 Having a specialty in health information, means having a career that is in demand. Here’s a list of organizations that hire medical coders and billers: • A variety of organizations that provide health services to women in transition and other populations in need • Attorneys • Chiropractors, massage therapists and other specialized care providers • Correctional facilities • Dialysis centers • Hospitals • Immediate care centers • Independent physicians • Insurance companies • Medical practice groups • MRI and other testing centers • Schools that need instructors to teach medical billing and coding • Short-term-stay surgical centers • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers The Top Ten Healthcare Careers Expected to Have the Most Job Growth in Next Ten Years (2013-2023) and the College Degrees You Need Below, you will find a list of the top 10 healthcare jobs expected to have the most growth over the next ten years (2013-2023). Did you know that among the top 15 college majors ranked for earnings and unemployment rates, health majors rank #3 and #1, respectively. We’ve included the educational requirements appropriate for each healthcare career path, so it’ll be easy for you to know how to start training for a career in healthcare, and be well informed as your pursue your career and educational goals.
  4. 4. 1- Home Health Aides: 44% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)4 A home health aide5helps a number of different populations that need personal assistance such as the chronically ill, cognitively impaired, and older adults. College Degree Required: No college degree required; on the job training. This career path is often used as an entry point into the healthcare field. 2010 Median Pay: $20,170 Number of jobs in 2013: 1,086,244 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 1,562,590 2- Veterinary Technologists and Technicians: 39% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)6 A veterinary technologist7, under the guidance of a licensed vet, performs medical tests to assist veterinarians in the diagnosis and treatment of illness and injury in animals. College Degree Required: Associate degree 2010 Median Pay: $22,040 Number of jobs in 2013: 86,026 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 119,881 3- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers: 33% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)8 A diagnostic medical sonographer9uses imaging equipment (sonogram, ultrasound, echocardiogram) to assess a patient’s health condition. College Degree Required: Associate degree 2010 Median Pay: $64,380 Number of jobs in 2013: 58,478 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 77,806
  5. 5. 4- Physical Therapist Assistants: 32% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)10 A physical therapy assistant11works under the supervision of a physical therapist to help patients regain movement and manage pain. This position typically works hands-on directly interacting with a patient. College Degree Required: Associate degree 2010 Median Pay: $37,710 Number of jobs in 2013: 71,957 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 94,825 5- Occupational Therapy Assistants: 31% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)12 Occupational therapy assistants13work under the supervision of an occupational therapist to help patients recover and/or improve their skills required for everyday activities. College Degree Required: Associate degree 2010 Median Pay: $47,490 Number of jobs in 2013: 31,865 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 41,700 6- Physical Therapist Aides: 30% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)14 Physical therapist aides15 work under the direct supervision of physical therapists and much of their workday is spent with patients. Aides typically will spend time setting up equipment and preparing treatment areas. College Degree Required: On the job training. This career path is often used as an entry point into the healthcare field. 2010 Median Pay: $23,68016
  6. 6. Number of jobs in 2013: 50,917 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 65,986 7- Audiologists: 27% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)17 Audiologists18 diagnose and treat hearing issues and problems in patients. College Degree Required: Professional or Doctoral degree 2010 Median Pay: $66,660 Number of jobs in 2013: 13,736 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 17,394 8- Physical Therapists: 27% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)19 Physical therapists20 help rehabilitate and treat individuals with chronic issues and injuries by helping patients improve movement and manage pain. College Degree Required: Professional or Doctoral degree 2010 Median Pay: $76,310 Number of jobs in 2013: 206,374 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 261,142 9- Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics: 26% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)21 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)22 and paramedics are first responders in a medical emergency. They are charged with assessing medical needs, treating, and transporting patients in an emergency medical situation. College Degree Required: Postsecondary certificate (non-degree) 2010 Median Pay: $30,360 Number of jobs in 2013: 235,682 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 296,977
  7. 7. 10- Dental Hygienists: 24% (Projected Ten Year Growth Rate)23 Dental Hygienists24 work with a dentist to clean teeth and provide preventative dental care and maintenance. College Degree Required: Associate degree 2010 Median Pay: $68,250 Number of jobs in 2013: 193,311 Number of expected jobs in 2023: 240,358 The Demand for Trained Healthcare Professionals Has Never Been Greater As the growth rates of the healthcare careers above show, there’s never been a better time to get on the fast track to your dream degree in healthcare. Americans are using walk-in emergency care centers, same-day surgical centers, emergency rooms, dialysis providers, test centers, and many other kinds of healthcare providers more than ever before. Each of those businesses need trained professionals to staff their operations. In the same way, the change to ICD-10, the complexity of medical insurance policies and new healthcare legislation have increased the opportunities for qualified medical billers and coders, and as the population ages, demand for healthcare services will only continue to grow.

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