Posted June 22, 2015 by

3 High-Paying Options for Healthcare Careers

Surgery assistant perfusionist working with artificial cardiac valve at operation in cardiology clinic

Surgery assistant perfusionist working with artificial cardiac valve at operation in cardiology clinic. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Technology and the way medicine is practiced has changed over the decades, which in turn has created many new career opportunities. Medical degrees and certificates are no longer limited to M.D., D.O. and others that take 10 years of college and residency to complete. Now, there are a variety of options for anyone who wants to help other people and make good money in the process. The following are just three examples of possible healthcare career opportunities:

Clinical Perfusionist

When cardiac surgery is necessary, the heart must be deliberately stopped so the surgeon can work on a motionless muscle. The lungs must also be still during these very delicate incisions. The body, however, still needs blood circulating and air getting to the brain to stay alive and function properly when the surgery concludes. The perfusionist’s job is to determine which type of heart and lung machine is best for a particular patient, operate it and make recommendations to the surgeon.

Most hospitals require perfusionists to have a bachelor’s degree, but some programs can be completed in as little as two years. The Mayo Clinic projects high job growth in this field due to an aging population. The average annual salary for perfusionists is $109,773, according to

Radiation Therapist

The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be nearly 1.7 million new U.S. cancer cases in 2015 alone. Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society estimates there are over 14 million people with a history of cancer in the United States. Well-trained radiation therapists deserve some of the credit for this.

Radiation therapists use linear accelerators to deliver radiation to tumors and other affected parts of the body. Radiation therapists work closely with radiologists (medical doctors) to determine the proper amounts of radiation needed for a given patient. They also work on simulation machines to help find the exact location of tumors.

One vital trait of successful radiation therapists is empathy, since they work with highly-emotional patients and their families. It’s also the perfect job for people who love technology. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job prospects for radiation therapists to grow by 24 percent through the year 2020 and puts the median pay at $77,560. Some states require only an associate degree to get into the field.

Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)

Patients who have undergone major surgery or are recovering from a serious injury need to relearn all the movements they were once able to do. PTA’s show patients how to properly use assistive equipment like crutches and canes, while also demonstrating proper rehabilitative exercises and techniques.

The job of a PTA is hands on and requires a lot of patience. It is also a physically demanding career, as a lot of crouching, walking and lifting are required. PTA’s also provide massages and utilize ultrasound and electrotherapy in some cases. The Burea of Labor Statistics projects job opportunities for PTA’s to grow by 35 percent through 2018. Payscale reports the median salary is $24 per hour, but with experienced PTA’s earning well over $30 per hour.

Source: SocialMonsters

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