If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and thinking, “I hate my job!” –take heart. It’s a situation that many people find themselves in at some point or another. After all, many of us caved in to pressure by choosing our career paths at a young age, when we hadn’t really finished maturing and discovering our true interests. The good news is that you don’t have to stay in a dead-end job, or an unfulfilling career. It takes guts and determination, but if you want to make the transition, it is possible.
Health Care Career Opportunities Abound
If helping others gives you a sense of satisfaction, there are a number of careers within the health care field that are extremely transition-friendly. The following are five rewarding and successful healthcare careers that allow for relatively easy transition. Keep in mind, however, that this ease of transition may vary according to a person’s particular circumstances (i.e. how many hours they currently work, whether or not they have children, etc.)
Nursing is one of the top health choices for those seeking transitional careers. This is because the training period is relatively short (around two years for most nurses), the demand is high, and the career lends itself toward a feeling of fulfillment by its very nature. Helping to relieve the suffering of others can be seen as one of the most poignant and rewarding tasks one can undertake in this life, though it can be emotionally draining for some. If you think you have the personal strength to start on a career path as a nurse, you can easily do so while working at your current job.
Nursing training programs are offered at community colleges, vocational schools and even online. If you do seek online training, however, you should be aware that you will need hands-on training as well in order to flourish as a nurse.
Most nurses gain an associate’s degree, and then take a certification test. How long you take in your studies is usually up to you. If you work full time, and have a family to manage, you may take a little longer than two years. There are, however, accelerated diploma programs that might interest extremely busy individuals.
2. X-Ray Technician
If diagnostic practices interest you, you might consider a job as an x-ray technician. An X-ray technician plays an important role in medicine by helping radiologists perform imaging tests for diagnostic purposes.
In order to practice as an x-ray technician, you must receive proper training; however, these associate degree training programs average at only two years, rather than four years, and provide everything you need to know in regards to both classroom and clinical instruction.
Some topics that may be covered in a program for x-ray technicians include anatomy, physiology, physics, principles of imaging, ethics, biology, pathology, patient care and of course, a course in medical terminology. After completing a training program, x-ray technicians must receive certification in order to practice.
3. Ultrasound Technician
Imagine being able to tell a pregnant mother whether she’s having a boy or a girl. If that thought appeals to you, or if you are simply interested in ultrasound technology, you might consider a career as an ultrasound technician. Not only is it incredibly interesting and rewarding, but it is also a great transition career. You can take classes at your local community college, a vocational school, or online. Training programs for ultrasound technicians typically last around two years, after which many states will require certification.
If you already have a career, and are working during the day, you may be able to work toward a degree at night—either at a community college campus or online. It may take some work, but a career as an ultrasound technician can more than pay for the time spent. The top ten percent of ultrasound technicians make up to $85,000 per year.
4. Medical Billing
Jobs in medical billing are expected to grow in the years to come, and training can be completed within 2 years with an associate degree program that meets accreditation standards set forth by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). After completing a two year programs, all you need to do is to pass a written examination, and you are ready to start.
In addition, the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) offers coding credentials, and the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC) and Professional Association of Health care Coding Specialists (PAHCS) offers credentialing in specialty coding.
5. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is another popular career choice for those who are seeking a more fulfilling life. Simply by bringing relaxation and healing to others, you can do a lot to relieve your own stress. Furthermore, with the day-to-day lives of working professionals becoming more and more stressful, it is safe to say that massage therapists will continue to see lots of job opportunities in the years to come.
Aspiring massage therapists can choose from over 80 different modalities (or specializations), including reflexology, Swedish massage, acupressure, and deep tissue massage, among others. Licensing varies from state to state, but all the educational training one needs is a high school diploma and a post secondary program that includes 500 hours of work.
As you can see, there are many opportunities for career transition within the healthcare field. Because more and more baby boomers are retiring (as well as baby boomer healthcare professionals) the medical field is one of the few fields that haven’t been negatively affected by the sour economy. If you are thinking of making the transition, just remember—change takes courage. But in the end, having a career that fulfills you is worth it.
About the author: Jennifer Sunde is a freelance writer and editor who helps manage a site devoted to career opportunities in health care. She also writes for a variety of sites devoted to fashion career, home improvement and auto insurance.
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