Any number of important factors can inspire you to be involved in the medical field. The fact that the pay is above average, the industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, and careers in healthcare give you the opportunity to be directly involved in saving lives every single day attract many college students to study medicine. But what if you’re not primarily interested in patient interaction? What if you don’t want to go to medical school, can’t stand the sight of blood, or feel like your skills lie elsewhere? There are still many viable careers in non-clinical aspects of the medical field. And the good news is that these careers are just as in-demand as clinical careers – sometimes even more so. These are just a few of your many options.
1. Healthcare Administrator
Administrators and managers have the highest annual salaries of any non-clinical medical profession. In fact, a top administrator can make as much as a doctor or dentist or more. They can work in almost any type of medical facility, because their tasks are usually business-oriented – supervising staff, managing budgets and finances, and overseeing procedures and policies. To be a good administrator, you need a solid grasp of the healthcare services your facility provides but an even stronger grasp of how to run a company.
2. Medical Equipment Specialist
Medical equipment workers learn on the job and usually have more relaxed education requirements than other medical careers. However, they can still make a great salary repairing and installing equipment such as x-ray machines, ultrasound machines, and radiology devices. They perform routine maintenance and repairs, as well as submit reports on how well a hospital’s equipment is working, letting them know what needs to be replaced and working with hospitals to keep things running smoothly.
3. Medical Secretaries
One of the most in-demand non-clinical healthcare jobs, medical secretaries perform a variety of clerical duties like answering phones, making appointments, and handling forms and records. In larger hospitals, they can work as personal assistants to administrators or department heads. Becoming a medical secretary can be a good step towards becoming a healthcare administrator yourself, as you often need the same kind of organizational and communication skills.
4. Healthcare Educators
Educators in healthcare can work in schools, community resource centers, or public healthcare facilities to educate the public as well as medical staff on disease prevention and healthy lifestyles. They work with issues like smoking, substance abuse, and obesity-related illnesses. Educators can also be involved in collecting data and doing research into preventative care. This is one of the highest-paying non-clinical careers, but it requires a strong academic background as well as knowledge of healthcare sciences.
5. Medical Records and Health ITs
A fairly new and rapidly growing profession, medical records and health information technicians are in charge of a database of patient records, sometimes in the thousands. They’re in charge of making sure the patients fill out the proper forms, and they manage information that is used to form statistics and aid medical research. With the ongoing transfer of information to electronic systems, good ITs are always in demand.
If you want to be a part of the growing healthcare industry but don’t see yourself becoming a doctor or nurse, you can use your skills in many careers that don’t involve direct patient care. Professional medical care workers could not provide the care without valuable people behind the scenes. You may discover it’s the place where you belong.
Natanya Pulley is a full-time writer for higher ed blogs and journals nationwide. Several schools offer degrees in the health field, including University of Southern California and Berkeley University