Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
There are man different occupations that are considered health professions. If you are a student who is interested in pursuing a career in a health professions field but have not yet chosen a specific field, you are encouraged to explore all of your options.
To explore your health profession options, begin with a broad list of potential health-related careers. Narrow down the list by crossing out careers that do not interest you. Research the occupations that you have not crossed out to be able to eliminate more occupations. Once you have your list narrowed down to a number that is manageable for you, complete more intense research in the remaining professions to help you select your future career field.
Job title and job responsibilities within the heath care industry vary by country. Therefore, it is important to obtain a list of health professions from the country where you intend to work before starting the process of elimination.
Below is a list of common health professions in the United States. Students who plan to work in the United States can use this list to help them narrow down their occupational choices.
Billing Specialist / Coding Specialist
Biomedical Equipment Repair Technician
Clinical Laboratory Technician
Counselor / Psychologist / Psychologist
Creative Therapist (Art Therapists, Dance Therapists, Music Therapists, etc.)
Dietitian / Nutritionist
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
Environmental Health Specialist
Health Care Administrator
Health Information Administrator
Home Health Aide
Hospital Social Workers
Medical Administrative Assistant / Medical Secretary
Medical Records Technician
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Physical Therapy Assistant
Practical Nurse (LPN)
Registered Nurse (RN)
Speech Language Pathologist
The list above is a great place to begin exploring your options for career in the medical field. If you are interested in becoming a health professional but are uncertain of which one to pursue, take the list and then eliminate the careers that you are not interested in and then research the rest.
One resource you might want to look at when researching health-related professions is the Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://www.bls.gov/bls/topicsaz.htm). The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a United States government resource that provides basic information for a great deal of careers.
Another excellent resource for exploring health professions is professional organizations. For example, if you were interested in the field of physical therapy, you could do a Web search for physical therapy professional organizations. In that search you would find the American Physical Therapy Association (http://www.apta.org/). When reviewing that website you would find the career and education section, which provides a great deal of information about the physical therapist and physical therapy assistant professions.
Once you have narrowed your list down to a manageable number of potential careers you can do more comprehensive research. This comprehensive research may include activities such as reading books about the career, networking with professionals working in the field, conducting informational interviews, and shadowing a professional.