Did you know that not all health care professionals have bachelor’s degrees? It may feel like you need to spend a decade in school before you can make caring your career, but there are quicker paths. In fact, you can become a medical coder, a surgical technologist, a nuclear medical technologist, a dental hygienist or a respiratory therapist without a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree.
You may wonder how doctors’ offices and hospitals are able to maintain billing records while handling hundreds, if not thousands, of patients. Medical coders play a large role in this! These health care professionals review records and assign codes so that hospitals and offices can be reimbursed properly. They read notes closely and understand private payer policies and government regulations.
Medical coders can earn higher degrees, but the key to this profession is understanding medical terminology and coding. The APPC offers medical coding courses and credentials via community colleges and online learning centers. After a year and a half to two years of training, you can take a certification exam. Throughout this career professionals have to have continued education in order to maintain their certifications.
If you ever have seen a medical show on TV, there is always a character who comes in and helps the surgeon get ready for the operating room and hands over a scalpel during the surgery scenes. A surgical technologist is this assistant, making sure that the surgeon and equipment are sterile and safe. They help prevent any infection or complications that could arise within the room. It is a crucial health care career that may not have direct contact with a patient, but ensures they are getting the best care necessary.
Surgical technologists receive their training via programs offered from all types of organizations. Vocational schools, universities, hospitals and the military are just some of the organizations that offer the one- to two-year programs. Many programs actually do not require anything more than a high school degree — but you may have to take prerequisite courses to qualify.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Nuclear medicine technologists use camera systems and radioactive substances to help create images of specific parts of the body. Then physicians use the images to diagnose conditions to a molecular or metabolic level. Technologists may also operate CT and MRI scanners when doing diagnosis with radiopharmaceuticals.
If you are in high school, you can start working toward this position now. Many programs require a one-year certificate program or a two-year associate’s degree that include clinical training. After getting a certificate or degree, students have to take a certification exam in order to practice.
Dental hygienists are the friendly professionals who clean your teeth during routine check ups and assist dentists. Think of this profession as being dental detectives. They get up close and personal with your teeth and use information about your upkeep to determine why you may be having issues.
Instead of just having to sit in a classroom all day, many students practice with practice mannequins and learn how to diagnose issues. Dental hygienists must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program and must complete an entry-level program. Most programs offer an associate degree, though students can also pursue a baccalaureate degree.
Respiratory therapists help patients who are not able to easily perform the most necessary of human actions: breathing. Respiratory therapists assist people who are affected by respiratory ailments, ranging from those who have chronic respiratory diseases to premature infants in need of respiratory therapy. These professionals have a variety of work environments to choose from – giving you choice as to where you can start and grow your career.
For respiratory therapy, an associates degree is required from an accredited program and then should plan on taking a national voluntary exam. The Certified Respiratory Therapist exam can earn you a credential, making you more attractive applicant against others in the field who have chosen not to take it.