5. Medical Assistant
The nitty-gritty: Administrative tasks in doctors' offices make up the bulk of the workload. Mostly you're performing routine front-office duties, such as checking in patients, verifying health insurance information, manning the telephones and scheduling appointments. You're on the frontlines, so rev up the people person persona. You may be in charge of maintaining supplies. Some assistants help physicians with procedures and prepare medical records. If you have the training, you may perform direct patient care such as conducting an EKG, specimen collection, wound care, medication administration and checking vital signs.
The hours: Varies by practitioner, but generally weekdays.
Pay range: $9.98 to $19.21 per hour; $25-plus depending on location and experience.
Qualifications: Many medical assistants are trained on the job, but others complete programs at community colleges. Some programs offer certificates in as little as eight months and teach students to assist physicians in routine duties as well as basic office tasks. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools have lists of medical assisting accredited programs on their websites. Some employers permit you to learn on the job, but a certificate of training from a nationally recognized association such as such as the American Association of Medical Assistants and Association of Medical Technologists helps you stand out. You can become certified in a specialty, such as optometry or podiatry. Tip: Bulging bunions shouldn't make you grimace.
Kerry Hannon is the author of What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.
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