When pondering a career in medicine, your first thoughts probably do not sway to a zen-like scene of peacefulness and tranquility. You more-likely picture something out of ER or Grey’s Anatomy, where a bloodied accident victim is being rushed through an emergency room clinging to his or her last seconds of life.
Put simply, you know you really want to help people but you don’t ever want to use a rib splitter, scalp retractor or surgical drill.
Well fear no more! Not all careers in healthcare are saddled with emergency rooms and life-or-death situations. Although careers in critical care can be extremely rewarding, we understand those of you in search of a career that is not quite as extreme.
To that end, here are four of the least stressful medical jobs of 2013.
Methodology for the least stressful healthcare jobs
CareerCast.com, a job search website based out of California, recently published a list of the least stressful jobs of 2013 based off 11 stress factors including travel, physical demands, hazards and environmental conditions. The list pulls from a ranking of 200 different professions and includes four medical jobs within the top ten of all of the least stressful careers for 2013.
Many careers in the healthcare industry boast projected growth rates of between 10-19 percent through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). So whether you’re looking to be at the forefront of life-and-death situations or you’re searching for a career that lets you steer clear of blood or avoid super-stressful situations, now’s the time to earn your degree and get the job you want.
1. Medical records technician
- Median salary: $34,160
- Projected growth (2010-2020): 20-28 percent
- Degree preferred: diploma / certificate
Medical records technician snagged the slot of the third least stressful profession in CareerCast’s list. These computer-savvy professionals utilize knowledge of electronic medical records (EMR) software to document patient information. Since a lot of their work is behind the scenes in a medical facility, they are not burdened with as many stressors as some of the front-line jobs. They are also certified through a registered health information technician (RHIT) exam, which imparts confidence in their skills.
Best fit for you if… You like working a bit more behind the scenes and pay close attention to detail. Health information requires a very specific skill set founded in the understanding of medical systems like ICD-10, so you need to be interested and willing to keeping your training up-to-date.
2. Medical laboratory technician
- Median salary: $37,240
- Projected growth (2010-2020): 10-19 percent
- Degree preferred: associate degree (AA or AS)
Medical laboratory technicians (MLT) fall in at number five on the list. MLTs rely on an extensive understanding of diagnostic techniques, from analyzing chemical compounds to counting cells, in order to provide physicians with the information they need to diagnose their patients. Another field with limited patient interaction, most of an MLT’s time is spent working in the lab.
Best fit for you if… You’re interested in being behind the scenes but want a job that is a little more hands-on than coding or health information. You should have a good memory for facts and details. Part of the job is developing knowledge of chemical compounds and how they interact with each other, so starting off with an interest in science is a plus.
- Median salary: $69,720
- Projected growth (2010-2020): 29+ percent
- Degree preferred: doctorate degree (PhD)
Number six on the list is a doctor of audiology. Audiologists are physicians that specialize in the treatment of hearing-related issues. They made it on the low-stress list due to their flexible hours and bright career outlook for job growth. Most of their time is spent administering hearing tests and evaluating the best treatment plan. This gives them the ability to designate when appointments can be scheduled.
Best fit for you if… You like working with people and are able to commit to a doctoral educational program. Like any doctoral degree, a doctorate of audiology can take a minimum of eight years in school, as well as a big chunk of change, so you need to be sure that is right for you.
- Median salary: $55,240
- Projected growth (2010-2020): 20-28 percent
- Degree preferred: master’s degree (MS)
The last medical field that made the list of the least stressful careers of 2013 was dietician. Coming in at lucky number seven on the list, dietitians are experts at creating nutritional plans to promote health and wellness. They have become increasingly more relevant in recent years as obesity rates for countries around the world continue to skyrocket. Much like audiologists, their flexibility was the main factor for their inclusion on the list.
Best fit for you if… You like working with people, solving problems and have an entrepreneurial disposition. Dieticians can work in a variety of places from a school, hospital or even wellness clinic. They often seek out their own clients to develop their network.
To sum it up…
Contrary to what you may suspect, there are many opportunities in the booming medical field that don’t come with endless stress and constantly putting out emergency fires. So if you are thinking about a medical job where you can impact people’s wellness without all of the stress, one of these four careers may be perfect for you.
If you know you really want to help others, but you also thrive on the adrenaline rush that comes with life-and-death situations, maybe there’s another healthcare career out there that makes more sense. Check out the Rasmussen College healthcare career guide to research your options. This comprehensive guide offers a more inclusive look at trends that will be affecting the growing careers in the medical field.