Start a Medical Career

Discover why it’s a great time to start a career in the health care industry .

Medical Career Growth Offers New Opportunities

medical career professional

"Happy about the country’s shrinking unemployment rate? You have the health care industry to thank," reported the nonpartisan National Journal in February 2013. "Health care jobs are across the income spectrum, including low-paid hospital janitors and highly paid doctors and executives. But many are the kind of middle class jobs with benefits and opportunities for advancement that are disappearing from other sectors." 

The journal’s positive prognosis was a response to spring 2013’s jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The Employment Situation,” which showed health care job growth following the trends of recent years. In March 2013, health care employment increased by 23,000; within that sector, by 15,000 in ambulatory health care services, such as home health care, and by 8,000 in hospitals.* 

See what this could mean for you by exploring your health care career options.

Choosing a Medical Career

Here are some popular health care specialties, most of which require only a year or two of training:

  • Medical Assisting: In this medical career, you'll work closely with doctors, nurses and other staff to make sure that every aspect of patient care runs smoothly. As a medical assistant, you'll often be the first person to greet incoming patients, take medical histories, record current complaints and take vital signs. You'll also be responsible for everything from answering phones to running lab tests.
  • Dental Assisting: Much like a medical assistant, a dental assistant is often the first point of contact for incoming patients and has a hand in nearly every aspect of patient care. With tasks ranging from performing basic office management functions, to educating patients, sterilizing equipment and assisting the dentist with a wide variety of procedures, dental assisting is an exciting and challenging medical career.
  • Pharmacy Technician: Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists fill prescriptions, manage patient records, track insurance information and maintain office operations.
  • Medical Billing and Coding: Following a system of coding that is used across the health care system, the ICD-9 index (ICD-10 will be released in October, 2014), medical coders assign alphanumeric codes to specific illnesses, injuries and medical procedures. Hospitals and doctors use the codes for internal data collection and planning, while insurance companies and public agencies require the codes to reimburse health care providers.

Health care offers a wide variety of medical career specialties. Learn more about your options in our health care career resources, or find an allied health school that's right for you.

*National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.