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What career options are there in the medical field that involve working directly with patients other than doctor.

I want to know what other options exist that will not take long after college

Thank you comment icon There are too many to mention! I am a Certified Medical Assistant and you are more than welcome to ask me any specific questions you may have. Enjoy exploring the many options! Selma King

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Gregory’s Answer

Excellent question Aaliyah. You do have a few options:

1. Work in an Administrative role

There's a lot of people that like to work in the medical environment but don't want to do too much legwork understanding the medical terminology, etc. Working in an Administrative role (i.e. Administrative Assistant, Account Representative, etc.) you can build up your medical understanding while working at the same time. Customer service skills are definitely needed since you'll be the first touch point for many patients entering into a medical site. Organization is key in roles like this, so if you have an interest or gift in that arena this may be a good fit. Internships are a great opportunity to get into that environment just to see if it's the right fit for you

2. Work as a medical technician

This would be more of a deeper dive and may require some medical understanding. Technicians work with medical professional to ensure that the quality and safety of the medical equipment is aligned to. You'll need to be able to understand some medical terminology or be in some form of training. You'll still be able to interact with patients but not as frequently. Again, internships are a potential opportunity to gain some experience.

3. Obtain a valuable skill for the Medical Field

Here's one that many may not think about. You can have a marketable skill and STILL work in the medical field. You may not work with as many patients directly, but you will be able to help make a difference. For example: billing, coding, and Project Management are specific skills that are used by many hospital employees that are important to the outcome of a patient's service. If you can find internships, this will really give you a bump up along with gaining some valuable experience.

Final Thought: In my years working as an Account Representative, Administrative Assistant, and Project Manager I will say that the most important skill that everyone should have is persistence. You're not going to know everything, but if you can direct anyone to a resource that can provide that answer, they will be extremely grateful. If you do whatever you can to learn, grow, and develop your skills will attract valuable people to you.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your feedback back I appreciate it a lot Aaliyah
Thank you comment icon Hi Gregory! I really like that you broke this down into categories. I think that's really helpful for the Student and aligns with their thought process as they figure out which soft skills they are comfortable with vs. not. Thanks for your answer! Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
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Peyton’s Answer

I work as a Genetic Counselor. I work directly with patients every day (there are also options to work in non-patient facing roles) to help patients learn about genetic aspects of health conditions and help determine if they want/need genetic testing, and what their genetic testing results mean. To become a genetic counselor, you need an undergraduate (4 year degree) and then a specialized graduate degree (typically a master of science in genetic counseling), which is usually two more years of school after an undergraduate degree.

https://www.nsgc.org/About/About-Genetic-Counselors
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your feedback back I appreciate it a lot Aaliyah
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Mason’s Answer

Fun Fact! Pharmacists are the most trusted healthcare employee. They are also the most integrated into patients lives. Did you know the average person lives within 5 miles of a pharmacy? Pharmacists are very involved with patients lives. they provide counseling, education, medication administration and a Doctorate degree. So if you want the title of doctor with tons of patient care. Pharmacist is a great career path.
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Angela’s Answer

I am also a genetic counselor. This is an excellent option for individuals who want to work in health care but may not want to be a nurse or doctor. The job is really interesting and we learn something new every day. It’s a rapidly growing field and there will be many job openings in the future!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your feedback back I appreciate it a lot Aaliyah
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Andrea’s Answer

I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist. In the health care setting you have numerous professions to chose from that involved direct patient cate. Nursing, radiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, anesthesia, CNA, physicians, physican assistants, phlebotomy.
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Christi’s Answer

Hello,
An occupational therapist, physical therapist or speech therapist are excellent options if you want to work in health care and have your own caseload and not be a medical doctor.
I am an occupational therapist and work in hand therapy. We help people with hand injuries regain function in their hands. You can get very creative in treatments and fabricate custom splints. ( being a hand therapist is only a small percentage of occupational therapists though and being occupational therapist opens doors to working in many settings) ultimately it is a great job if you like helping people rehabilitate after and injury and regain function.
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Miki’s Answer

I am a Nurse Practitioner and have been directly involved in patient care. The time invoved is first getting a BSN or Nursing degree and afterwards go into a Masters degree program in a Specialty area like Family Practice.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your feedback back I appreciate it a lot Aaliyah
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Elizabeth’s Answer

There are tons of options! The number depends on how much time you are willing to put in and the kind of involvement you want to have with patients. To name a few:
EMT
Radiology tech
Ultrasound tech
Surgical assistant
..there are many technical degrees available at community colleges that you can get in a couple years.
Various levels of nursing.
Physician assistant or nurse practitioner
Optometry
Chiropractor
Dentist (dental school is 4 years but does not require a residency afterward like medical school does)
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Rija’s Answer

Hello Aaliyah!

Physician Assistant is a great option! Physician Assistants are advanced medical providers who treat and diagnose illnesses, along with ordering tests and prescribing medication. They work under the supervision of a doctor and they can work in hospitals, clinics, private practices and much more. An interesting thing about being a PA is that their have flexibility in their specialty. PAs can transition to a different specialty if they want. A PA can be a Pediatric PA and then transition to be a Family Medicine PA. This is unique because as a doctor or a nurse, you aren't able to have that flexibility.

If you're interested in being a PA, you will need to:

1) Get a Bachelors degree and you can major in anything you want, as long as you have the prerequisites. Prerequisites may include biology 1 &2, anatomy and physiology 1&2, general chemistry 1&2, organic chemistry, biochemistry, genetics and/or microbiology. It all depends on the program!

2) You will need at least a 3.0 GPA but aiming for a higher GPA can better your chances.

3) You will need patient care hours, where you will have hands-on experience. Some examples are Medical Assistant, Medical Scribe, Patient Care Technician, Optometric Technician, etc. You will need around 500-2000, but that also depends on each program. The more you have, the better the chances.

(You can even start getting patient care hours during your gap year, if you choose to take one. Shadowing a PA and getting some volunteer hours look really good on an application :))

4) You apply for PA school and once you're in, it'll take 2-3 years (depending on the program) to finish and you will take the PANCE, which is the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam. Once you pass that, you're officially a PA :D

I hope this post helps, Good luck!
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Keith’s Answer

Nurse Case Manager, Nursing, Medical Assistant, Scribing, CNA, Surgical Technician, Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant… just to name a few
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your feedback back I appreciate it a lot Aaliyah
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