It is no secret that healthcare is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the country. As baby boomers reach retirement, there is a greater demand for doctors, nurses and other health professionals, especially in the DFW area.
What many people aren’t aware of is that many careers in healthcare can be financially and emotionally rewarding without spending a lot of time and money on education.
Jackie Reynolds is a microbiology, anatomy and physiology professor at the Dallas County Community College District’s Richland College and is also the leading adviser for the Health Professions Club at the campus. Every year, she brings together DFW-area college students and faculty from health professions programs for an enriching experience.
Other than becoming a doctor or a nurse, what career choices are there in healthcare?
“There are a vast number of career options in the fields of healthcare: chiropractic care, communication disorders, dentistry, diagnostic imaging technician, dietetics, DNA technology, forensic scientist, public health, medical technology, occupational therapy, paramedics, physicians assistant, prosthetics and orthotics, radiation and physical therapy, respiratory therapy…the list is endless.”
Many people are going back to school to obtain careers in a different field. What advice would you give an older, returning student?
“Too many people sign up for a program without asking admissions if there is an accelerated program that they can apply for. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, many nursing programs have a 12- to 15-month program. You want to ask the school you are considering if it will accept previous work or life experience for credit; for example, if you were doing home healthcare for your parents who had Alzheimer’s. You should utilize the life experiences you have when reviewing courses for a program.”
Many people are motivated to enter the medical field because of its financial rewards. What are some of the salary ranges that one can expect in the various medical professions?
“It depends on where you work, private or public hospital or research facility, but generally $30-$60K for general nursing, respiratory therapist; $60-$100K for physician assistant, physical therapist, nurse practitioner and radiology technician; and $100-$200K for pharmacist, dentist and nurse anesthesiologist.
How does one decide what healthcare profession is right for them?
“Consider your strengths and weaknesses. Suppose your weakest area is chemistry, then you should stay away from pharmacy. Weak math and physics will keep you out of radiology technology, prosthetics and orthotics. Radiation therapy or dentistry might be the answer for those interested in an 8-to-5 job. If you are open to any schedule, then an emergency room nurse or on-call doctor might be the answer. Nursing or therapy might be for those who find working with people appealing. If you don’t want to work with patients, then maybe analysis and investigation research might be a good fit.”
Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com