Picture this: You walk proudly into a crowded room, all eyes on you. You've recently completed your bachelor's degree and now seek a rewarding job in cardiopulmonary science. Your admirers know that when you land a position in this field, you'll truly and literally know the way to a man's (and woman's) heart -- a potentially fruitful, profoundly gratifying and possibly enviable position in which a young woman can be.
Imagine the experience of not feeling well, and not having a clue as to what's wrong. Your job could center on remedying such uncomfortable situations if you work as a sonographer, assisting doctors in diagnosing an illness or condition. A sonographer uses imaging equipment to take specialized pictures of various parts of the heart and lungs to assist doctors in diagnosing an illness. You might concentrate your work on vascular (blood vessels and circulatory system); cardiac (heart); or polysomnography (monitoring a patient’s sleep patterns). Nuclear medicine -- in which a tiny amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein to allow for viewing of the health of the heart and other organs -- might interest you.
If the world of tiny microbes fascinates you, clinical laboratory science might be more your style. A clinical lab scientist uses everything she’s learned about chemistry, microbiology, immunology and more. In a laboratory environment, she studies the microscopic aspects of blood and the diseases affecting its health. One benefit of becoming a clinical lab scientist is that you may find it easier to find employment because, according to the University of Missouri Health System, there is a current national shortage of qualified people to fill open clinical laboratory positions.
If you're a woman who enjoys interacting in a more personal way with patients, you can use your bachelor's degree as a jumping-off point to becoming a certified licensed respiratory therapist. In this one-on-one job, you'll provide hands-on care to those with respiratory problems, including operating ventilators and other devices to control the environment to aid in breathing. You might find deep personal satisfaction in helping patients with breathing exercises, and analyzing the effects of respiratory therapy on patients' health. You'll have a chance to work closely with doctors and technicians to ensure patients adequately follow prescribed treatment plans.
You might be someone who prefers a more administrative role in a job. Happily, there are cardiopulmonary science jobs to suit your preferences. For example, you could fill a position in management that involves quality control of patient care, or even manage a department or lab. Regardless of the position you select in the field of cardiopulmonary science, you should experience job security well into the future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 39 percent growth in employment in this field through 2022, a rate considered much higher than the average for all occupations.
- Valencia College: Bachelor of Science Degrees: Cardiopulmonary Sciences
- School of Health Professions: University of Missouri Health System: Cardiopulmonary and Diagnostic
- WorldWideLearn: Guide to College Majors in Respiratory Therapy
- U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists
- MedLine Plus: Polysomnography
Michelle Reynolds has been writing about business, careers and art since 1993. She was the publisher of a newsletter, “Working Parents Monthly," as well as a graphic design guidebook. Reynolds also served as human-resources director at a resort/spa for eight years. She is an artist and promotes the arts and other artists through ElegantArtisan.com, a website she developed and maintains.