10 Healthcare Careers You Can Pursue Without a High School Diploma or GED

If you haven’t finished getting your high school diploma or your GED (General Education Diploma), it is difficult to know where to turn for potential employment in healthcare careers. However, the healthcare field has multiple promising career options that don’t always require a diploma to get on-the-job or other training. Check your state’s requirements, and consider the following job opportunities to get your foot in the door of the healthcare field.  

woman using machine to take blood pressure of seated woman indoors

If you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, but you don’t have a high school diploma or your GED, then consider becoming:

1. A Home Health Aide

  • Description: Home health aides work in people’s homes or care facilities and help them with daily tasks. 
  • TrainingTraining requirements vary depending on the facility and may require certification, which typically takes 75 hours of training. 
  • Job Outlook and Salary: The job outlook in this career is also very promising at 36%. In 2018, the median pay for this career was $24,060/year. 

2. A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

  • Description: A CNA gives basic medical services to patients in nursing homes and hospitals. This may involve helping to lift and move patients with mobility problems. Nursing assistants often help patients who have difficulty with everyday tasks such as bathing or eating. 
  • Training: Generally, a CNA program takes 4 to 12 weeks. 
  • Job Outlook and SalaryThe outlook for this career is looking strong with 9% growth expected over the next decade. In 2018, the median pay for this career was $28,530/year. 

3. A Phlebotomist 

  • Description: A phlebotomist is a person who draws blood for multiple reasons in the healthcare field. They work in a variety of settings, including blood banks or research facilities.   
  • Training: A non-degree certification takes 4 to 8 months.  
  • Job Outlook and Salary: The outlook for this career is expected to expand faster than many other job opportunities at 23% over the next decade. In 2018, the median pay for this career was $34,480/year. 

4. A Massage Therapist

  • Description: Massage therapists massage muscles and soft tissue in order to relieve soreness or provide relaxation. 
  • TrainingTraining for massage therapy varies from just over 300 hours to about 1,000 hours depending on the program. 
  • Job Outlook and SalaryThe outlook for this occupation is 22% over the next decade. The median pay for this career in 2018 was $41,420/year. 
Cropped image of It specialist working on code

5. A Medical Secretary

  • Description: Medical secretaries handle the functioning of medical facilities from a paperwork and communication standpoint. They may be responsible for handling phones, insurance information, and front desk duties. 
  • Training: There is not always required training, but medical secretary programs generally take 1 to 2 years of formal and on-the-job training. 
  • Job Outlook and Salary: The outlook is weak for secretaries in general with a decline of 7% expected in the next decade. The median pay for this career in 2018 was $38,880/year. 

6. A Dental Assistant

  • DescriptionDental assistants perform a number of tasks in the dental office, which may include taking x-rays, providing care, and clerical tasks. 
  • TrainingOn the job training is the only requirement in some states, but formal dental assisting programs take 1 to 2 years. 
  • Job Outlook and Salary: The job outlook in this career is not bad at 11% predicted over the next decade, and the median pay for dental assistants in 2018 was $38,660/year. 

7. A Medical Coder

  • DescriptionMedical coders learn how to use diagnostic and procedural codes to quantify patient diagnoses and services rendered for billing and other purposes. 
  • TrainingCoding programs typically last a few months to 2 years.
  • Job Outlook and SalaryThe job outlook in this career is 11% over the next decade, and the 2018 median pay for this category of employment was $40,350/year. 

8. An Ophthalmic Medical Assistant

  • DescriptionOphthalmic medical assistants take patient histories and administer ophthalmic testing during exams. They also assist the optometrist or ophthalmologist in a variety of clinical tasks. 
  • TrainingCertificates are available to further one’s career, but on-the-job training is typically sufficient for employment. 
  • Job Outlook and SalarySimilar to medical assistants, the job outlook for this field of work is good at 23%, and median pay in 2018 was $33,610/year. 

9. A Medical Transcriptionist

  • DescriptionMedical transcriptionists listen to recorded documentation of patient encounters and convert them to a readable format via keyboarding/typing skills. 
  • TrainingTraining varies but typically includes medical terminology and electronic health record training. 
  • Job Outlook and SalaryDue to technology and voice recognition, the outlook for this career is not great and is expected to decrease by 3% over the next decade. The median pay  for transcriptionists in 2018 was $34,770/year. 

10. An Occupational Therapy Aide

  • DescriptionOccupational therapy aides help people recover and improve normal living and working skills that have diminished as a result of accident or health condition. They do not typically get involved in hands-on care, but rather provide supportive services to occupational therapists and assistants. 
  • TrainingTraining varies based on state and position and may require only on-the-job training. 
  • Job Outlook and SalaryThe Bureau of Labor and Statistics groups Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides together, and they report the outlook of both positions look good, predicting a 31% increase over the next decade. The median pay for aides was $28,160 in 2018. 

There are other healthcare careers available that may not require a high school degree or GED equivalent. Many healthcare employers will state on their job requirements that you need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Don’t let this discourage you. Look up your state’s requirements for the position for which you are applying, and let the employer know that you are the right person for the job. 

If you are interested in pursuing a healthcare education, check out “How to Learn in the Healthcare Classroom (and ANY Classroom) (in 10 EASY Steps!).” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

How to Become a Registered Nurse (and Pass Your Board Exams Once You Do!)

The path to becoming a registered nurse is not an easy one, but it is worth the challenge because of the rewards of the job. Nurses are held in high esteem because they have compassion, altruism and high ethical standards. If you are considering a career in nursing, you probably already know this. How to become a nurse and pass your board exams is the next step. 

female registered nurse taking blood pressure with wrist cuff of senior woman

What is a Registered Nurse?

A Registered Nurse (RN) is a person who has a degree in nursing and has passed board exams required to obtain a nursing license. Registered nurses are healthcare professionals who work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities in varied positions. Nurses may be responsible for supportive tasks such as taking chief complaints and histories, or they may be more involved in patient care and even perform minor medical procedures. Some RNs are more involved in nurse management and administrative tasks.

As the physician shortage in the United States continues to grow, opportunities for nurses have expanded, and many nurses are elevating their education and job titles to mid-level healthcare providers such as Nurse Practitioners or Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). In some states, APRNs are allowed to practice solo and without the supervision of a physician. One of the great benefits in the nursing profession is the possibility to further one’s career past the initial RN licensure.  

What are the Education Requirements?

The minimum education requirement to become an RN is an associate’s degree in nursing, but many healthcare facilities require a bachelor’s degree. Nurses are expected to be lifelong learners in order to provide the best care. As a result of this expectation, the Institute of Medicine urges all nurses to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing, with a goal of 80 percent of all nurses having their bachelor’s degree by 2020. This goal may not be met, but it has pushed more nurses to enroll in baccalaureate programs. 

How do You Pass Your Board Exams?

After receiving a nursing degree, a nursing graduate must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in order to become licensed. There are two types of NCLEX exams: the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN. You will take the NCLEX-PN if you plan to become a vocational nurse or a practical nurse. You will take the NCLEX-RN if you plan to become a registered nurse. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements. The NCLEX is the national nursing board exam, and you must take this exam in order to become a nurse. The answers to the NCLEX test questions are evidence-based and proven to the satisfaction of the medical field. These questions are not based on nuances or individual techniques that you may have learned during clinical experience. As a result, your chances of passing the boards are greatly increased by practice exams and review courses that give you questions designed to help prepare you for the exam

Here are some additional things that you can do to pass your board exams the first time you take them:

  1. Understand how the NCLEX is formatted.
  2. Figure out ways to manage your stress.
  3. Determine the best way to study and the way that is most comfortable for you to study.
  4. Develop a plan to study.
  5. Don’t factor in past experience as a way to answer the questions and pass the test.
  6. Develop good test-taking skills, such as deductive reasoning.
  7. Believe in yourself, and believe you will pass the test.

What are the Employment Projections?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession is expected to grow by 12% over the next decade. This is a very good outlook, and over 300,000 jobs are expected to be added. Most of the increase in demand for nursing is caused by the shift to placing emphasis on preventive care and on the growing population of elderly with chronic diseases. 

What are the Challenges of Becoming a Nurse?

Registered nurses face many challenges, including tough schedules and burnout, depending on the type of work done. Nurses also have to regularly deal with people who are scared, in pain, or upset. Tough days can be very tough, but the success stories make the dedicated nurse forge ahead. This is one of the many reasons nurses get so much respect as medical professionals. 

For more informative healthcare articles, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

If you are interested in working from home in the field of healthcare, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!),” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

What to Know if You Want to Become a Medical Assistant in 2020 (Part II)

If you are a compassionate person looking for a career where you have the opportunity to help others, becoming a medical assistant is a good career choice in 2020.

In case you missed Part I of the Medical Assistant series, let’s recap the definition of a medical assistant, as well as the education requirements, before we discuss the job outlook for this field in 2020.

man and woman in scrubs looking at tablet while standing in hallway

Let’s Recap: What is a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant helps with administrative and clinical tasks in healthcare settings. They may assist in a medical office, hospital, or other healthcare business. The job duties of a medical assistant may include taking patients’ histories and vitals, assisting with examinations, and handling medical records. In some cases, medical assistants will administer medication, remove sutures, and change dressings. The responsibilities vary per facility and per state law.  

Let’s Recap: What are the Education Requirements?

Depending on your location, you can become a medical assistant through on-the-job training or by getting certified. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) administers a certification exam, and certified medical assistants must be recertified every 60 months. This can be done by continuing education or by exam. In 2018, sixty percent of candidates passed the AAMA exam.

Now let’s look at the employment projections for 2020, as well as some of the challenges you might face if you choose to become a medical assistant in 2020.

Employment Projections in 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for medical assistants is excellent. In the next decade, the number of positions is predicted to increase by 23 percent. This is because of the growing elderly population and increased demand for preventive medical care. The average wage of medical assistants was $33,610 in 2018.

Challenges for Medical Assisting in 2020

The biggest challenge in the field of medical assisting is the difficult patient. This can cause the very passionate and caring medical assistant to suffer burnout and leave the profession. Burnout is common in many medical professions, including among physicians and nurses, and there’s no denying that this is a difficult part of any medical profession.

On the flip side, you get to help people when they are at their most vulnerable. The rewards of working in the medical profession are often as wonderful as the challenges are difficult. A good candidate for the career of medical assistant can handle the occasional grumpy patient in return for all the positive impact he or she has on other patients and members of the medical community.

Becoming a medical assistant requires a minimal education investment in return for a secure career that is increasing in demand. Many positions for medical assistants include full benefits such as healthcare, matching retirement plans, and paid vacation. It is a good way to enter the medical field with a stable position and room for advancement.

For more informative healthcare articles, follow the Avidity Medical Design blog.

If you are interested in working from home in the field of healthcare, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!),” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

woman getting shot at mobile flu clinic

How to Start a New Career as a Medical Assistant (Part I)

one man and three women wearing blue scrubs standing in a line with arms crossed and smiling

Medical assisting is a career that is in high demand. Physicians are busier than ever, and as a result, they require clear, concise, and accurate medical documentation for each patient, that allows them to maintain their productivity. In order to meet these demands, more physician practices and hospitals are hiring medical assistants. If you’ve ever been interested in becoming a medical assistant, there’s never been a better time to make the transition to a career in medical assisting. The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that while jobs are already plentiful in this field, they will grow by 23% by 2028, which is much greater growth than average. This projection is largely due to the increasing need for preventative medical care among baby boomers. 

What Do Medical Assistants Do? 

Medical assistants perform a wide variety of tasks to assist physicians, so that they can spend more time dealing with issues that concern patients. Medical assistants schedule patient appointments, and measure and record patient vital signs to help physicians during patient exams. Medical assistants may even give injections and medications under the direction of an overseeing physician. As a medical assistant, you can even work remotely, completing clinical paperwork and insurance forms to bill for physician services.

If you work within a particular specialty, such as orthopedics for example, you might perform more specialized tasks that pertain to bone conditions. Unlike a physician’s assistant, a medical assistant would not examine the patient or make treatment decisions about the patient.

How Do You Become a Medical Assistant? 

Many hospitals and medical clinics will hire medical assistants with simply a high school diploma and provide them with on-the-job training. There are also diploma-based certificates and degree options available that can usually be completed within anywhere from 8-18 months. This track is becoming slightly more popular as medical assisting jobs become more competitive, and any additional training will give you a competitive edge. The shift from paper to electronic records also increases the demand for skilled medical assistants. If you’d like to learn more about the content of the electronic medical record from the standpoint of the documentation that the patient sees when they request a copy of their medical record, consider enrolling in the course entitled, “How to Read Your Own Medical Record (Learn What is in YOUR Medical Files!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

If you’re interested in starting your own business, working from home, as a medical assistant, you will need to know how to market yourself in order to gain new clients. Check out this article entitled, “5 Ways to Market Yourself as a Virtual Medical Assistant,” on the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

If you are not interested in medical assisting, but you are interested in working from home in other fields in healthcare, such as medical coding, medical transcription, medical writing, healthcare teaching, nursing (yes, nursing!) or medical claims processing, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

For more informative healthcare articles, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog

More Tips: A 4-Step Guide to Professional Dress in the Medical Office

While proper attire is important in any office, professional dress in the medical office is crucial. Maintaining a professional appearance is the key to patient comfort and trust. Below is a 4-step guide to help navigate the pitfalls of dressing for the medical office.

Professional Dress in the Medical Office

First off, medical office personnel deal with patients at a very personal level. They have contact with the patient physically and they have general access to highly sensitive information such as health history and social security numbers. By presenting themselves professionally, office staff provide an environment that ensures patient confidence. Patients need to feel safe in the office and that their information is being handled respectfully and professionally.

  1. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. It is important to have a clean and well-maintained appearance. Cleanliness is paramount in a medical office. Unclean bodies and hair can be alarming for patients, but even simple things like ripped clothing, wrinkled clothing or improperly fitting clothing can project an environment that fails to take patient health and safety seriously. Meanwhile, meticulous dress and appearance help project the idea that cleanliness, orderliness and professionalism are important and therefore, so are patient health and safety.
  2. Accessories. Understated accessories including hair, nails, make-up and tattoos keep the focus on the patient and not on the staff. Drawing attention with large jewelry or visible tattoos can unintentionally project the idea that the patient is secondary. Also, extreme hair, excessive make-up and long nails can give patients the idea that their health and safety is not the primary focus in the office.
  3. Shoes. While many medical professionals spend hours on their feet, they should exercise care when selecting footwear. Especially for medical professionals in scrubs, shoes can stand out to patients so, it is important to make sure they are not only comfortable, but maintain a professional appearance. Dansko-style clogs are good examples of acceptable shoes, while snow boots, slipper-style shoes, Converse or other athletic shoes, Uggs, cowboy boots, and high heels are examples of shoes that should not be worn in a medical environment.
  4. Clothing. A medical professional should wear clothing that is classic, professional, and well-fitted. It should allow the employee to project confidence and professionalism, which will in turn provide patients with reassurance that their lives are in good hands. Clothing that is revealing, offensive (as in t-shirts with messages on them), or made of any material that either sheds (like sequins or glitter) or is not considered professional (like jeans, leather or spandex)should not be worn.

By dressing in a professional and timeless fashion, the employee allows for the focus to remain where it belongs, on the patient. Employees in the medical office should consistently review their attire to make sure it projects the idea, from the patient’s perspective, that the primary focus in the office is on the safety and comfort of its patients.

If you are interested in learning more about how to be a professional in healthcare, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Learn Professionalism in Healthcare (with REAL-WORLD Examples!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy. Click here to learn more about this course.

Professional Communication and Its Importance in the Doctor’s Office

It isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it.

This is one of the cardinal rules of professional communication, and it’s important to remember. Think of the message you’re trying to convey as a passenger in a car. Pulling out your everyday language would be like showing up to a company event in a beat-up clunker with mismatched paint. It will get your point to the destination, but it won’t be well-received showing up in that ride. If you use professional language free of jargon, slang, and other colorful expressions though then it’s like you’re delivering your point in a sleek, shiny sedan. It’s obvious in your expression that you know what you’re talking about, and you’re here to work.

Professional Communication in the Doctor’s Office

professional communication in a doctor's officeNowhere is proper communication more important than it is in the doctor’s office. Not only do you need to put on a professional face for patients and co-workers, but what you say could quite literally alter someone’s life. So rather than using jargon to explain a medical decision to a patient, or a slang term to relate a patient’s problem to a doctor, it’s best to use the correct terminology.

It’s also important to dot your I’s and cross your T’s.

It isn’t just your spoken words either. With so much of the medical field depending on patient files it’s important for you to beable to express yourself in text as well. Every report, every chart, could be the key to the next doctor providing the right care. That’s why it’s so important for you to make sure your writing is legible and sensical, otherwise it could lead to serious problems down the line when someone whom you don’t know tries to interpret the guide you left behind.

For more information on the importance of professional communication in the doctor’s office simply contact us today!

How to Reduce Prescription Errors in 21st Century Pharmacies

It may seem like a contradiction but the pharmacy of the 21st century will feature both robotic automation and greater interaction between pharmacists and patients.

prescription pharmacyPharmacy automation has been steadily making its way into many pharmacies throughout the country. Robotic systems from companies like Aesynt, Parata Systems and RxMedic sort and dispense pills, which spares pharmacists from work that takes a lot of time and can lead to human error. It’s hard to put a firm number on presciption errors but the Food and Drug Administration says it has received close to 30,000 reports of medication errors since 1992. With many pills looking alike and many drug names sounding similar, automated systems offer a better way of checking and verifying that patients receive only drug they were prescribed.

Another technology development that will change the pharmacy of the 21st century is the adoption of electronic prescribing, which gives doctors the ability to send prescriptions electronically to a pharmacy. E-prescribing reduces the chances for error that can come from misreading a doctor’s handwriting.

As for the pharmacists themselves, the evolution of pharmacist training is changing the profession. Compared to decades ago, today’s pharmacists can be more specialized and they enter the field with more specialized training, pharmacy consultant Ernest Gates tells Drug Topics. Some of these pharmacists will work in specialty pharmacies in areas such as oncology, geriatrics and diabetes among other areas of specialization.

Pharmacists who aren’t specialists can still expect to take on more responsibilities as a consequence of the Affordable Care Act. With the law’s expansion of Medicaid, Daniel Brown, a pharmacist and professor at the pharmacy school at Palm Beach Atlantic University, tells Medscape that he expects community pharmacies to see more Medicaid prescriptions. He also sees the increase in this patient traffic presenting additional opportunities for pharmacists to talk to patients about preventive services. Here’s where pharmacy automation is important. Automation doesn’t replace pharmacists. Instead, it provides a remedy to busy pharmacists – these systems free pharmacists to spend more of their time counseling patients instead of sorting pills. If the expected increase in patient traffic to pharmacies holds true, time savings found with automation will become very valuable.

For more information about emerging pharmacy trends, please contact us.

How To Use Google Glasses in Healthcare Training To Broaden Your Scope

Google Glass has been receiving a lot of press recently, especially in the field of medicine. Before we delve into how to use google glasses in healthcare training, let’s start by looking more closely at the device.

how to use google glasses in healthcare training, technology and healthcare, google glass and healthcareAs the name suggests, Google Glass is worn similar to a pair of glasses, minus one component: the lens. Instead of the lenses found in a traditional pair of glasses, the unit consists of a wire frame with a small, square computer in the upper right hand corner. The right side of the wire frame, close to the ear, acts as a track pad that turns the device off and on.

Once activated, the user can view the computer screen in their peripheral vision. The screen can be used to scroll through information, like a mini computer, or can be used as a live video capture of whatever you are viewing.

Google Glass was created for the public masses with the idea that now you can literally be connected to the Internet in a hands-free way. If you are in Paris and want to know how to get to the Eiffel Tower, simply turn Google Glass on with a swipe of your finger, ask the computer to locate directions, and begin walking.
When it comes to healthcare training, Google Glass has found many uses. Since this is our main focus, let’s consider some test cases below:

1. Ohio State University is using Google Glass during surgery, allowing the surgeon to perform a live surgery for training future surgeons.

2. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is using the device to pull up medical records before a doctor enters the room. Rather than sift through a file, the doctors scroll through the records on glass.

3. Rhode Island Hospital in Providence has used Google Glass as an interdisciplinary approach to medicine in the Emergency Room. When patients come into the ER with needs that may require a specialist consult, the attending physician can call through Glass and provide a live video feed of the patient to whatever specialist is on call.

The list of Google Glass indications for healthcare training are endless. In addition to live education, it can allow doctors to review symptoms before recommending treatment plans. It can also allow more autonomy for medical students as a supervisor or specialist is just a video conference away.

Google Glass is simply one aspect of healthcare training. If you are interested in learning about the various types of medical training we provide, please contact us.

Applying Healthcare Instructional Design Strategies that Work

If you are responsible for the continuing education of medical professionals, the importance of Healthcare Instructional Design Strategies that Work is clear.  Healthcare workers are busy, and it is often difficult, if not impossible to get a group together during working hours.  How then, do you teach and document new skills, and provide meaningful continuing education?

healthcare instructional designThe answer is to use personalized educational programs, that have been designed just for your needs.  Avidity Medical Design can provide these programs.  If your staff is self directed, and motivated to learn, you can choose mobile programs.   These learning modules can be completed on the employee’s own time.  If your employees don’t want to take their work home with them, choose a traditional program.  This would be completed as a group learning experience. Another option is a combination approach, where part of the module is completed by the individual, and and then a review is done as a group.

Continuing education requirements vary state by state.  Customized course development assures that these requirements will be met.  Staff will stay up to date, and competent.  Nursing Continuing Education Requirement Chart, from the American Nurses Organization, shows the hours required by each state.  Even if your state does not require documented hours, the importance of maintaining competency cannot be stressed enough. Also, nurses are not the only staff that need continuing education. All staff have to remain up to date, and competent.

An article in Propublica.org documents the astounding statistics of errors in United States hospitals.  It is reported that up to 98,000 deaths a year are as result of error.  This number is just from hospitals.  Errors also occur at walk-in clinics, dialysis clinics, ambulatory surgical facilities, etc.  These errors were not intentional, but none the less, lives were lost.  This shows how absolutely necessary it is for healthcare workers to remain competent.

For more information on Healthcare Instructional Design, please Contact Us.