What kinds of careers come to mind when you think of helping others who are in need of medical care? Doctor or nurse is likely pretty high on the list.
Doctors and nurses undoubtedly help others – they save people’s lives. But what if you’re drawn to the medical field and you’re squeamish about blood? Think there’s no hope? Actually, a healthy number of medical jobs without blood do exist. So as long as you know you’re committed to helping people, remember, you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse to have an impactful medical career.
It’s true that in any job you might have to unexpectedly deal with blood, we’ve compiled a list of those medical jobs where you’re least likely to have contact with the red stuff.
We’ve even broken down our list into two job categories for convenience: patient-oriented and technology-focused.
Note: You won’t see some jobs you might expect on this list. Some jobs you wouldn’t necessarily associate with blood contact actually do come into contact with it, especially during emergency situations. Jobs like radiologic technologist, dental assistant, diagnostic medical sonographer and medical assistant can be included in that list.
If you enjoy interacting with others and aren’t afraid to comfort the sick or injured, a patient-oriented job in the healthcare industry could be a good fit for you. In these careers, you might be the first point of contact in a doctor’s office, or you could help patients re-learn skills after an injury.
The following professionals work in a variety of settings, but they all work directly with patients.
A pharmacy technician’s main responsibility is to dispense medications. They work closely with pharmacists to fill prescriptions, mix medications and distribute medicine to patients.
Pharmacy techs are able to work in several different environments, including pharmacies located in grocery stores, department stores and hospitals.
Getting started: Pharmacy techs should be detail-oriented and have customer service skills, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While it’s possible to become a pharmacy tech with just a high school diploma, a college education or certificate helps you stand out to potential employers. Pharmacy techs also undergo extensive on-the-job-training before being allowed to work alone.
Expect a background check for this career, due to the employees’ close proximity to medication. Some states also require certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Healthcareer Association.
A medical administration degree usually leads to a career in a medical office. Medical administrators are often tasked with billing and interacting with patients and, sometimes, scheduling procedures.
Getting started: Employers often want medical administrators to have some post-secondary education so they have knowledge of medical terminology and practices. This career requires good computer and organizational skills, according to the BLS.
Physical therapy assistants perform several different functions in aiding patients in recovery. Patients seek physical therapy for any number of reasons including illness, injury, or surgery.
As a physical therapy assistant, your responsibility is to monitor patients during therapy, help patients stretch and exercise and assist them with any equipment they may need to improve or maintain mobility.
Getting started: Most states require physical therapy assistants to have an associate’s degree, according to the BLS. Physical therapy assistants usually work in health practitioner offices, nursing homes, or hospitals. The BLS considers compassion, physical stamina and interpersonal skills necessary to perform this job.
While physical therapy focuses on treating patients after injury, occupational therapy helps patients with permanent disabilities. Occupational therapy assistants keep track of patient progress, help those with developmental disabilities improve coordination and help patients with stretches and other therapeutic activities.
Occupational therapy assistants are also commonly found in hospitals, nursing homes and health practitioner offices.
Getting started: An associate’s degree is usually required to be an occupational therapy assistant, according to the BLS. Additionally, most are licensed through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy –but licensing requirements vary by state. Physical strength and compassion are considered by the BLS to be important qualities for those seeking this career.
If working with people is more your idea of a nightmare than a dream job, don’t worry. The healthcare field offers jobs that aren’t patient-focused, and technology-careers are on the rise.
A 2009 Congressional mandate requires healthcare organizations to switch to electronic medical records by 2014 – or face penalties. Therefore, healthcare organizations need people who are tech-savvy to oversee the transition and maintain the complex databases that will result. As such, technology-focused careers in healthcare are growing.
With a health information technician (HIT) degree you can put your technology skills to work in a hospital or doctor’s office. HIT professionals organize and maintain databases, review patient records, perform data analysis and track patient outcomes.
Getting started: Many health information techs have an associate’s degree or certificate. In addition, most employers require health information techs to be a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), as certified by passing the RHIT exam. Though technical skills are a must to be successful in this career, other necessary skills identified by the BLS include analytical skills and being detail-oriented.
If you’re interested in what health information techs do, but want more of a challenge, you should consider a health information management (HIM) degree. In addition to database maintenance, HIM professionals have to be knowledgeable about coding and software, as well as industry rules and regulations.
HIM professionals often work in a hospital or doctor’s office, but can also be employed by a prison or government agency.
Getting started: HIM professionals often need a bachelor’s degree as well as Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification.
These are only a handful of career paths for those seeking a medical career that doesn’t involve blood. Whether you hope to be directly involved in patient care, or a little further removed, there is definitely a place for you in the field of health sciences.
For more options, check out our “Healthcare Job Outlook” eBook.