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Career Development
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Healthcare Sciences Major Careers

Healthcare Sciences Career Information

Area

Employer

Information/Strategies

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy involves treatment through physical means for people disabled by illness, accident, or congenital handicap. Physical therapy seeks to improve mobility, relieve pain, or minimize permanent physical disabilities.

  • Clinical Practice:
    • Acute care
    • Neuro-rehab
    • Out-patient
  • Management
  • Education
  • Research
  • Consultation
  • Specialties Include:
    • Pediatrics
    • Geriatrics
    • Sports Medicine
    • Orthopedics
    • Neurology
    • Cardiopulminary
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Home healthcare agencies
  • Nursing homes
  • Sports medicine facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Doctors offices, particularly orthopedic
  • Schools
  • Group or private practices
  • Universities and colleges
  • Federal and state government:
    • Armed Forces
    • Public Health Service
    • Veterans Administration
  • Earn a master’s degree (MPT, MSPT, MS) or doctorate (DPT) in physical therapy from a program accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association. Programs include supervised clinical experiences. The field is moving toward the DPT as the standard degree by 2020.
  • Obtain a doctoral degree for teaching and research positions.
  • All states require licensure which includes passing an examination.
  • One third of physical therapists work in hospitals and one quarter are employed in physical therapy offices.
  • Attain superior grades in pre-physical therapy course work due to intense competition for admittance to physical therapy programs.
  • Obtain knowledge of several basic sciences including anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, and physics.
  • Volunteer for a physical therapist in a hospital or clinic to gain experience and improve chances of acceptance into a program. Many programs require volunteer experiences and a good understanding of the field for admission.
  • Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills. Must possess patience and a desire to help individuals of all ages with disabilities. A positive attitude is important when working with patients.
  • Manual dexterity and physical stamina are important in succeeding in physical therapy work.
  • Some physical therapists specialize in an area after gaining several years of general experience.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is the treatment of people who are unable to function independently due to an injury, illness, or disability. Occupational therapists utilize activities with specific goals to enhance the quality of life and increase the independence of individuals who have a mentally, emotionally, or physically disabling condition.

  • Screening
  • Evaluation
  • Treatment:
    • Physical
    • Psychosocial
    • Social
    • Vocational
  • Follow-up
  • Administration
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Hospitals (including psychiatric and rehabilitative)
  • Schools
  • Group or private practice
  • Nursing homes
  • Community mental health centers
  • Adult daycare programs
  • Job training centers
  • Residential care providers
  • Out-patient rehabilitation facilities
  • Home healthcare agencies
  • Federal and state government:
    • Armed Forces
    • Public Health Service
    • Veterans Administration
  • Universities and colleges
  • Earn a master’s (MOT, MA, MS) or doctoral (OTD, less common) degree in occupational therapy to gain entry in the field.
  • All states regulate O.T. licensure. Requirements include passing a certification exam given by the American Occupational Therapy Certification Board and a supervised clinical internship. Those who have passed the exam become Occupational Therapists Registered (OTR).
  • Doctoral degree is often preferred for university teaching and administrative positions.
  • Occupational therapists may choose to specialize in a particular age group or type of disability.
  • Build a solid foundation in physical, biological, and behavioral sciences.
  • Develop excellent communication skills which are important when interacting with patients and their families.
  • Volunteer in an occupational therapy or related healthcare setting to experience the field firsthand and improve chances of program admittance.
  • Individuals working in occupational therapy should possess patience and a true interest in helping people with disabilities reach their full potential.
  • Learn to work well within a team. O.T.’s work with many other professionals, including physicians, physical therapists, and social workers in the rehabilitation of patients.

Cytotechnology

Cytotechnologists are highly skilled laboratory professionals who study the patterns of disease progression found in human cells. They detect subtle changes and clues within cells. With expert eyes, the cytotechnologist looks for the smallest abnormalities in color, shape, and size that may indicate clinically significant conditions. This profession provides the potential to help save lives by discovering disease early and uncovering information that informs effective treatment.

  • Screening and Diagnosis:
    • Cancer
    • Pre-cancerous abnormalities
    • Benign tumors or growths
    • Infectious organisms and inflammatory conditions
  • Evaluation of Tissue:
    • Bladder
    • Body cavities
    • Bone and soft tissue
    • Breast
    • Central nervous system
    • Female reproductive tract
    • Gastrointestinal tract
    • Liver
    • Lung
    • Lymph nodes
    • Pancreas
    • Salivary glands
    • Thyroid
  • Technological Equipment Operation:
    • Light microscopes
    • Biomedical instrumentation
    • Laboratory information systems
  • Molecular Diagnostic Testing
  • Hospital and private laboratories
  • Federal and state government laboratories
  • Clinics and university medical centers
  • Public health facilities
  • Research and biotechnology industry
  • Healthcare administrative departments
  • Educational institutions
  • Earn a Bachelor or Master of Science in Cytotechnology from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Prepare for and pass the certification examination given by the Board of Registry of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in biology that emphasize body structure, development, tissue organization, and function. Recommended courses include histology, cellular biology, and genetics. Additional recommended coursework may include other biological sciences such as zoology or ecology.
  • Become familiar with applied learning techniques. Most programs utilize a combination of training activities such as microscopic evaluation, laboratory skills development, case presentations, research, community health projects, and supervised clinical laboratory site experiences.
  • Develop problem solving as well as effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Display personal characteristics such as accuracy, responsibility, and motivation. Become comfortable making important decisions.
  • Plan to learn new technology and techniques to stay abreast of developments in the field.

Dental Hygiene

Dental hygienists help people of all ages maintain optimal oral health by working with dentists to prevent and treat tooth decay, periodontal disease, oral cancer, and other conditions that affect oral function.

  • Specific areas of activity for dental hygienists include:
    • Gathering data for a dental diagnosis
    • Recording medical and dental histories
    • Screening and charting oral structures and conditions
    • Exposing and processing oral radiographs
    • Dietary analysis
    • Providing oral disease prevention information and instruction
    • Monitoring oral health status of individuals
    • Providing therapeutic services
    • Removing calculus and plaque from the teeth
    • Applying fluoride and dental sealants to the teeth
  • Private dental offices and dental clinics
  • Federal, state, and local health departments or associated institutions
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • School districts or departments of education
  • Private business/industry
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private and public centers for pediatric, geriatric, and other individuals or groups with special needs
  • Managed care organizations
  • Associate’s or bachelor’s degree are required to enter the field in nearly all states.
  • A passing score on the Dental Hygiene National Board Examination and state or regional clinical examination is also required for licensure, RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist).
  • A master’s degree in dental hygiene is available at some institutions.
  • The scope of practice for dental hygienists is determined by individual states.
  • Opportunities for practice are available throughout the world, particularly with the military, the US government, and US owned corporations.
  • Dental hygienists with bachelor’s or master’s degrees may work in teaching, research or administrative positions.

Health Information Management

HIM professionals play critical roles in maintaining, collecting, and analyzing the data that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers rely on in the delivery of quality healthcare.

  • Patient Health Information Management
  • Medical Records Administration
  • Computer Information Systems Management
  • Diagnosis and Procedure Coding
  • Personnel and Budget Administration
  • Quality Management and Improvement
  • Risk Management
  • Utilization Review
  • Research
  • Physician offices and clinics
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Insurance companies
  • Government agencies
  • Home care providers
  • Behavioral health facilities
  • Information systems vendors
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Hospitals
  • Research facilities
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management from a program accredited by the American Health Information Management Association.
  • A passing score on a national examination is required for certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA).
  • Visit a health information management department in a hospital to better understand the role of health information managers.
  • Develop strong oral and written communication skills, interpersonal skills, orientation to detail, flexibility, and basic computer skills in word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.

Clinical Laboratory Science

Clinical laboratory scientists, also known as medical technologists, work together with other members of the healthcare team to perform and supervise laboratory analyses on blood, body fluids, and tissue. They also provide data to detect, diagnose, and monitor disease. Medical technologists use medical equipment such as microscopes, computers, and other highly technical instruments to assist them in their work.

  • Hematology
  • Immunohematology (Blood Banking)
  • Microbiology
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Immunology
  • Urinalysis
  • Mycology
  • Parasitology
  • Histocompatibility
  • Molecular Diagnostics
  • Laboratory product development and sales
  • Hospital and private laboratories
  • Biotechnology industry
  • Research and forensic laboratories
  • Public health laboratories
  • Universities and colleges
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Armed forces
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from a program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
  • Be prepared to participate in supervised clinical experiences.
  • Many states require a license to practice. Obtain licensure by passing a certification exam given by the National Certification Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NCA) or the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Registry (ASCP).
  • Attain good grades in pre-medical technology course work, including biology, anatomy, physiology, and general and organic chemistry.
  • Develop manual dexterity, fine motor skills, and an attention to detail. Be willing to work in a fast paced environment.
  • Visit a clinical laboratory. Talk with practitioners to gain critical knowledge of the profession.

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