By Mike Smith, Monster Contributing Writer
Ask economists the most promising career field in America, and they’ll undoubtedly say healthcare. But who has time for medical school -- or even community college -- for that matter?
Although many employers do look for prior experience or certificates, some entry-level healthcare positions require none at all. In fact, they can be learned through on-the-job training.
Better yet, the health sector is one of the best places to get your foot in the door with one job before moving up a very diverse career ladder that offers the promise of long-term job security.
That’s especially true with allied-health support positions. The workers in these 50 or so professions support doctors and nurses in many ways, including taking X-rays, drawing blood, assisting with physical therapy and analyzing lab specimens.
Here are seven healthcare jobs that often require no training to get hired and that are projected to be in high demand in coming years:
1. Home Care Aide
Job Description: Assists elderly or disabled adults with daily activities at home or in daytime care facilities. Duties may include making beds, doing laundry, preparing meals, as well as advising families, the elderly and disabled on nutrition, cleanliness and household utilities.
Work Environment: Daytime care facilities or in patients' homes (often working alone or with periodic visits from a supervisor).
Average Salary: $20,560
Search for home care aide jobs.
2. Medical Assistant
Job Description: Performs office tasks (answering phones, greeting patients, updating medical records, filling out forms, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services, and bookkeeping) as well as medical care duties (taking patients’ blood pressure, preparing them for exams or assisting physicians during minor procedures).
Work Environment: Offices and clinics of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, optometrists and other specialists.
Average Salary: $30,170
Search for medical assistant jobs.
3. Medical Biller
Job Description: Collects payments from patients, submits reimbursement claims to insurers and maintains billing records.
Work Environment: Private offices, hospitals, clinics or rehabilitation facilities.
Median Salary: $33,770
Search for medical biller jobs.
4. Medical Secretary
Job Description: Assists with day-to-day management of medical offices. Duties can include scheduling appointments, training staff, operating new office technologies, ordering supplies, preparing letters, arranging for lab procedures and helping physicians with reports.
Work Environment: Medical office, hospital or other healthcare setting.
Average Salary: $32,430
Search for medical secretary jobs.
5. Nursing Assistant/Patient Care Attendant
Job Description: Provides indirect care and performs routine tasks under the supervision of nursing and medical staff. May escort patients to operating and examining rooms, keep patients’ rooms neat, set up equipment, store and move supplies, assist with some procedures, as well as report on any changes to a patient’s physical, mental and emotional condition.
Work Environment: Hospitals or nursing-care facilities.
Average Salary: $25,420
Search for nursing assistant/patient-care attendant jobs.
6. Occupational Therapist Aide
Job Description: Works with occupational therapists to provide rehabilitative services to people with mental, physical or emotional impairments. Aides prepare materials and assemble equipment for treatment and perform various clerical tasks (e.g., scheduling appointments, answering phones, restocking supplies, filling out insurance forms).
Work Environment: Typically outpatient therapy offices or clinics.
Average Salary: $31,770
Search for occupational therapist aide jobs.
7. Psychiatric Aide
Job Description: Helps care for physically or mentally ill individuals confined to hospitals or mental-health settings. Work includes helping patients dress, bathe and eat, or leading educational and recreational activities. Aides also observe patients and report any physical or behavioral changes.
Work Environment: Hospitals, nursing or mental-health facilities.
Average Salary: $27,270
Search for psychiatric aide jobs.
[Mike Smith is a vice president at Fenton, a communications firm for public-interest clients. His work with nonprofits and foundations includes a focus on workforce issues, specifically the opportunities in allied-health professions. Learn more about these issues at CalHealthJobs.org or on Twitter @CalHealthJobs.]
Learn more about healthcare careers.