Hospital medical careers are good choices for those with an interest in natural sciences who have the people skills needed for patient interaction. Hospital medical careers are in high demand and are frequently listed as some of the best careers in the United States because of their stability and lucrative salary ranges. And because the career choices are so broad, educational requirements run the gamut from a high school diploma to a doctoral degree.
U.S. News & World Report Rankings
The 10 best jobs of 2013, as determined by U.S. News and World Report, lists four hospital medical careers. “Registered nurse” was in second place while “pharmacist” landed in the third slot. Also, “physician” was the fifth best job of 2013, while “physical therapist” was listed in eighth place. Widening the scope of the rankings, occupational therapist, physical therapy assistant, diagnostic medical sonographer, respiratory therapist and radiologic technologist were all in the top 30 best jobs of 2013.
Promising job growth is one reason so many hospital medical careers landed on the list of best jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for the average U.S. occupation will grow by 14.3 percent through 2020. However, the numbers are much higher for hospital medical careers. For example, diagnostic medical sonographer jobs will increase by 44 percent, which is triple the national job growth rate. Demand for physical therapy assistants and physical therapists will grow by 45 percent and 39 percent respectively, while demand for occupational therapy assistants and aides will increase by 41 percent. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians will see a 29 percent growth rate through 2020, while demand for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses will increase by 26 and 22 percent respectively. Jobs for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists will increase by 32 percent and 25 percent respectively, while demand for physicians and surgeons will grow by 24 percent.
Hospital medical careers are available for every educational level. Occupational therapy aides only need a high school diploma. In some states, pharmacy technicians only need a high school diploma but in other states they need to complete a one-year program. Diagnostic medical sonographers and licensed practical nurses also need to complete a one-year program. Occupational therapy assistants, physical therapy assistants and cardiovascular technicians need an associate’s degree in their respective fields. Registered nurses and radiologic technicians may elect to complete a one-year program or obtain an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. Recreational therapists need a bachelor’s degree, while occupational therapists need a master’s degree. Physicians and surgeons must graduate from medical school.
With an annual mean annual wage of $190,060, physicians and surgeons earned the most lucrative salaries in hospital medical careers, according to May 2012 salary data from the BLS. Other salary examples include pharmacists, who earned $114,950, and registered nurses, who made $67,930. The annual mean wage for radiologic technicians was $56,450, while cardiovascular technologists and technicians and vascular technologists earned $53,050. Occupational therapy and physical therapy assistants and aides earned $49,920, while licensed practical nurses made $42,400, and pharmacy technicians earned $30,430.
Other Attributes and Skills
Most hospital medical careers require a significant amount of patient interaction. Therefore, these employees must be compassionate and understanding, and they should exhibit patience and empathy when dealing with sick patients and their loved ones. Also, physicians, nurses, and those who work in physical and occupational therapy need physical stamina to lift and turn patients. In addition, most hospital medical careers involve the natural sciences, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry and physiology, so students should have a strong background in this area.
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