The medical field has seen many changes in recent years, and there is an increasing demand for new employees in the medical field, especially as a result of the aging population and the changes in medical technology. There are a number of jobs in the medical field for those who are looking for a career change or a different type of medical position.
A medical assistant works with doctors, nurses and patients often providing for the basic needs of a patient or minor medical treatments. In December 2009, HR reports say that the salary range is from $24,000 to $33,000 for a medical assistant base salary. The position requires a high school diploma and a medical assistant certificate.
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) or a nurse aide focuses on daily interactions with patients and assists with tasks like dressing, bathing and eating. CNAs may take a patient’s vitals and assist a doctor in medical procedures. National averages for a CNA base salary are $21,913 to $32,00 with a high school diploma and CNA certification from a nursing assistant program, which may take approximately 6 months to complete.
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a level above a CNA and assists with daily living tasks but can also help in medical care in regards to actionable treatments and discussing care with family members. The base salary range for an LPN ranges from $32,800 to $47,000 with a high school diploma and LPN certification, which takes 1 to 2 years to complete and ends with a national license exam.
A registered nurse assists with bedside care as well as clinical tasks and supervision. A nurse takes samples, administers IV treatments, operates medical machinery, administers medicine, takes and monitors vitals, helps with patient rehab, keeps track of prescriptions and potential reactions, consults with physicians and delegates other responsibilities to an LPN or CNA. A base nurse salary ranges from $50,000 to $73,000 with an associate’s degree and certification.
Ultrasound technicians take ultrasound images, such as fetal imaging, or images to detect problems, like tumors, gallstones or other internal diseases. A base salary for an ultrasound technician is between $53,00 and $74,000 with a 2-year degree and an approved program in ultrasound technology. The salary amounts listed are based on 2 years in the field.
X-ray techs, or technologists, take x-rays of patient’s bones and tissues, which are then reviewed by a physician or doctor. Some technologists can also use CT scans, MRI machines and mammography machines. Radiologic technologist positions require an associates degree and registration as a technologist, and the salary ranges from $39,000 and $55,900.
Billers, Coders and Pre-Authorization Specialists
Medical billers, coders and pre-authorization specialists handle medical records, billing information and approval from insurance companies for procedures or stays. These positions usually require limited or no direct patient contact. Medical billers make from $25,000 to $36,800 and only require a high school diploma. Medical coders make from $32,000 to $50,000 with an associate’s degree and 2 years' experience in coding and medical records. Pre-authorization specialists make between $25,000 and $42,000 with a bachelor’s degree and 2 to 4 years' experience in a related field.
Doctor’s usually provide voice recordings of their reports rather than writing, but these need to be turned into normal files to be sent to other locations. A medical transcriptionist turns these recordings into typed documents. A transcriptionists base salary is between $30,000 and $44,000 with a high school diploma and coursework in medical terminology.
Respiratory therapists evaluate, treat and care for patients who have problems breathing or have other cardiopulmonary disorders. Technicians work under the direction of a respiratory therapist to assist in respiratory care. Base salaries range from $48,000 to $65,000 with an associate's degree and credentials as a registered respiratory therapist.
A surgical technologist’s job is to help in the operating room by handing the surgeon tools, monitoring a patient’s vital signs and answering the doctor’s questions about the patient as needed. A surgical technologist also preps the patient for surgery and prepares necessary equipment and the operating room. Salaries range from $32,700 to $48,000 with CPR certification and graduation from an accredited surgical technologist program.