So, you have decided you would like to pursue a career in the medical field. If you do not know exactly what career you would like to pursue, this might feel overwhelming. There are many different pathways you can take to start a career in the medical field, and some of the options might take a shorter amount of time than you would think! Read along to look at different medical professions, pathways to medical careers, and certifications necessary or beneficial to pursue specific careers.
Pathways to Medical Professions
- Medical school – When you think of working in the medical field, you likely think of medical school. Medical school is typically four years long and requires candidates to have a bachelor’s degree to attend, making the schooling process about eight years long. If you want to work as a physician, medical specialist, or surgeon, this pathway is necessary. However, it is not the only way to start a medical career! There are shorter and less expensive options available.
- Stackable credentials – According to the U.S. Department of Labor, stackable credentials are a part of a sequence of credentials that can be accumulated over time and move an individual along a career pathway or up a career ladder. Stackable credentials can be beneficial if you are looking to work in allied health because you can start your career while continuing your education. By obtaining multiple certifications and credentials, you can advance your career opportunities. For example, a student can become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and work while working to become a Registered Nurse and climb the career ladder.
- Certifications – The quickest way to enter the medical field is to receive training and sit for different medical certifications. Once you decide what career you would like to pursue, you can enroll in a training program that will teach you the hands-on skills and knowledge necessary to start a career in your chosen field.
Types of Medical Professions
Patient Facing – If you want to work hands-on with patients, there are many different options and pathways you can take to enter the medical field:
- Physician – When you think of the medical field, likely, you will first think of your family doctor. Becoming a physician requires a bachelor’s degree, medical school, and residency before you can begin working as a physician. If you have the resources to commit to the time – and cost – of becoming a physician, it can be a lucrative career. However, there are many different allied health careers that you can begin in less than a year.
- Medical Assistant – Medical assistants work to support physicians, nurse practitioners, and other health professionals to see and treat patients in different medical settings. As a medical assistant, you will provide clinical care, take and record vital signs and medical history, draw blood, administer medication, and more. To become a medical assistant, you can enroll in a training program that will prepare you to sit for several certifications that will qualify you to apply for various positions as a medical assistant.
- Nurse Aide – As a Nurse Aide, you will care for patients in the form of something like a caretaker, hospice aide, or home health aide. In this position, you take care of basic patient needs, such as feeding patients based on their dietary needs and reading vital signs. By enrolling in a training program to become a Nurse Aide, you will be eligible to sit for a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) exam and start your career as a Nurse Aide!
- Medical Office Specialist – If you would like to pursue a career where you work directly with patients, but do not perform any medical examinations, you may want to investigate becoming a medical office specialist. As a medical office specialist, you will have the skills to be anything from a medical receptionist to a medical office administrator.
- Pharmacist – Pharmacists work as chemists to formulate, control, and dispense medications. They also advise on dosage and drug interactions while taking certain medications. To become a pharmacist, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree and a Doctor of Pharmacy, followed by a residency program.
- Pharmacy Technician – If you want to work in a pharmacy without spending the time, money, and resources to become a pharmacist, you may want to find a pharmacy technician training program. As a pharmacy technician, you will be responsible for filling prescriptions, updating medical inventory, and packaging and labeling prescriptions. After attending a Pharmacy Technician training program, you can sit for the Certified Pharmacy Technician Exam and pursue your career as a pharmacy technician!
- Medical Billing and Coding – Do you want to work in the medical field behind-the-scenes, potentially from your home? As a medical billing and coding specialist, you will be responsible for billing medical insurance companies, using different billing computer applications, and mastering different office procedures. After completing a Medical Billing and Coding training program, you can sit for different certifications that will help you in pursuing a career as a medical billing and coding specialist.
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) – This certification is offered by the National Healthcare Association to help aspiring medical assistants show employers the skills they have learned in their medical assistant training programs. On top of gaining an advantage over other applicants, the certification may show you need less on-the-job training and prove your qualifications.
- Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMMA) – By passing an exam and becoming a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant, you show that you know how medical offices work, inside and out. This certification shows future employers that you have the skills to keep a healthcare office running smoothly.
- Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) – Students who complete SCI’s Medical Assistant training program will be eligible to sit for the Certified Phlebotomy Technician exam. With this certification, candidates will show they are qualified to be a phlebotomist and draw blood from patients.
- Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) – Taking the CBCS exam qualifies candidates to become a medical billing and coding specialists. The exam will test candidates on topics such as insurance eligibility, procedures for claims processing, knowledge of coding, and more.
- Electronic Health Records Specialist (EHRS) – The EHRS certification exam shows that qualified candidates are knowledgeable in different skill sets, such as auditing patient records, coding to submit reimbursement claims, reviewing insurance information, and discussing patient information with both physicians and insurance companies. This certification is helpful for those who want to work as a medical billing and coding specialist or a medical office specialist.
- Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) – Getting certified as a nurse aide is necessary for those who seek to pursue a career as a CNA. The certification exam tests candidates who have completed a Nurse Aide training program on the knowledge of skills such as nursing skills, restorative skills, communication skills, and legal knowledge when caring for a patient. Certification is necessary for most states to become a nurse aide.
Southern Careers Institute offers allied health training programs so you can start pursuing a career in the medical field. Whether you want to work as a medical assistant or a medical billing and coding specialist, we offer the training to prepare you to sit for the certifications required for your new profession.
If you are interested in learning how to start your courses, you can fill out the request information form. SCI admission representatives can walk you through every step of enrolling in SCI including a campus tour, course scheduling, and financial aid. For immediate assistance please call 1-833-SCI-TEXAS.
This article was published on: 07/1/22 1:20 AM
* SCI does not guarantee employment or a starting salary upon graduation, completion, or withdrawal from SCI. As an accredited post-secondary institution, SCI has various federal financial assistance programs available for students who qualify and are enrolled in SCI programs. This does not apply to seminar students.