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Health care is heating up

Experts project excellent job prospects in health care. There are dozens of specialties that you can train for in two or four years, including plenty for people who don’t want to work directly with patients.

Experts project excellent job prospects in health care. There are dozens of specialties that you can train for in two or four years, including plenty for people who don’t want to work directly with patients.

“We want to help both kinds of people,” explains Linda Reilly, dean of the School of Allied Health Professions at Gwynedd-Mercy College, “so we have divided our majors into two groups: those with, and those without, direct patient contact.”

Some patient-oriented careers are diagnostic, where you determine what’s going on with the patient, for instance by administering tests like MRIs, CT scans or X-rays. Others are therapeutic, where you provide the treatment for the patient’s disease or condition, such as radiation therapy for cancer patients.

Non-patient-oriented careers mostly involve lab work, for diagnosis or research, but also include information technology jobs in health management or billing and coding.

“The one thing all of these careers have in common is that they are based in science,” Reilly emphasizes. Even information technology jobs require a year of anatomy and physiology.

Another thing these major have in common is that the training is very hands-on. “About 60 percent of students’ learning takes place in clinical settings,” Reilly says. Gwynedd-Mercy students are placed in 125 affiliated facilities in an extended region that stretches from Christiana, Delaware to Harrisburg.

Job prospects are strong in the future

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the fastest growing job sector this decade will be health care. It projects job growth of 24 percent, with 4 million new jobs by 2018. The field’s projected growth is based on increased need, resulting from longer life spans and the aging of baby boomers. Projections for specific careers can be found in the online Occupational Outlook Handbook at www.bls.gov/oco.

 
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