Anyone contemplating a career in the medical field needs to stay abreast of current events in the healthcare sector. Things changes fast. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the entire landscape of the healthcare industry has changed. And with the prospect that the Act might be changed or replaced altogether, no one can say for sure what the future holds for healthcare in the U.S.
Given the rapidly changing face of the medical field, those interested in a career as a doctor, nurse, researcher, therapist or any other care delivery job needs to do a bit of homework. It's important to learn as much as possible about specific job requirements, pay scales and the overall employment outlook.
Staying Informed about Changes in Career Fields
For example, prospective doctors should speak with school counselors and plan to take the Medical School Admissions Test (MCAT) before heading to med school. The test has undergone major changes in the past decade, so it's wise to find MCAT changes at the official website of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
Nurses, too, should look into their state's licensing procedures and any changes in academic or experience requirements. Biochemists, medical researchers, physical therapists and those who plan to work in the mental health field have to stay informed about state licensing guidelines. Whether your goal is to see how long it takes to become a recreational therapist or to find MCAT changes for future doctors, it pays to take a pro-active approach to your future career.
Top Medical Careers
People who want medical careers as something other than a doctor or a nurse have plenty of choices. Even so, those two popular and well-known medical careers continue to be among the top ten choices for students aiming to work in healthcare. Preferences change from year to year, but he current most-favored jobs in the medical field include the following:
- Physician Assistant: PAs work directly for doctors and often take on many of a physician's responsibilities. This career requires a college degree and attendance at a PA school for up to 16 months.
- Physical Therapist: PTs help treat and manage long-term illness and/or injuries by making specific plans that can either lessen pain or increase a person's mobility, or both.
- Speech Pathologist: Long a popular choice among those who want a career in healthcare, speech pathologists are trained to treat and diagnose various language and speech problems.
- Respiratory Therapist: With only a college degree, you can become a respiratory therapist and help people who have a wide range of breathing-related diseases and disorders.
- Nutritionist: These professionals do a lot. They assist clients with things like making meal plans, creating specialized diet plans, meeting various nutritional goals and figuring out ways to make smarter choices about what foods to eat every day.
- Occupational Therapist: OTs help clients with daily activities like walking, getting out of a bed or wheelchair, preparing meals and more. The OTs patients are people who are either disabled, ill or injured. OTs work in a wide range of settings but often do their clinical practice in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.