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Is it time for a second career?

Posted: September 5, 2008 10:28 p.m.
Updated: November 7, 2008 5:00 a.m.

If you're among the casualties of recent cutbacks in the corporate world, you might be looking for a job in another field.

It seems that the auto, aerospace and airline industries are not the secure jobs we once thought they were. If that's the case, what jobs can we consider "recession-proof?"

Unfortunately, there will always be people needing medical attention or health services, so this looks like a possibility.

Now there are many medically-related jobs that are not just doctors and nurses and if you like helping people or working with people you might want to consider these.

The medical field is one of the fastest-growing sectors today and experts say the trend will continue for several years. There is a strong demand for people to fill these jobs and many of them only take a minimum of retraining. And what better time to consider them than when you're collecting unemployment.

Let's look at some of the hottest jobs in the health/medical area.

Medical assistantship. Medical assistants have a vital role in the health care business, serving different administrative and clerical roles needed in health care facilities.

Medical assistants take care of details like bookkeeping, filling out and managing patient charts and files, making appointments and sometimes assisting with dressing bandages.

They must have good communication skills and deal with patients in a way that puts them at ease - whether on the phone or on a visit to the clinic. 

Medical transcription. A medical transcriptionist transcribes previously recorded patient data into hard copy.

Doctors and health care professionals aren't always able to fill out forms and charts for patient data, histories and notes, so they make a tape recording and transcriptionist takes the vocal recording and turns it into a hard copy for later use. This can be done at the health-care facility, or is often done by a medical transcribing firm.

These transcribers are employed by the transcription service, not the medical facility or doctor.

It is helpful if you have some knowledge of anatomy and medical terms but this can always be learned.

Diagnostic technicians/sonographers. Sonographers are trained to perform ultrasound procedures on patients that require diagnostic examinations.

For this job, he or she must be trained on vascular ultrasound to be able to correctly understand the physiology and physical anatomy of scanned organs and systems.

Medical assistants. Medical assistants provide the necessary assistance and service to professionals by performing clerical, administrative and basic clinical duties.

They welcome patients as they perform front-desk duties and they take care of appointments, patient records, bookkeeping and basic in-house clinical services.

This job pays well and is stable and training in medical billings and coding can give you an edge.

The one job in the health care arena that is almost too good to be true is medical coding. It's ideal for a lot of people because it is lucrative and doesn't come bundled with the stresses of a regular 9-5 job.

On the contrary, choosing a medical coding career is choosing to make a living with flexible time and work from home benefits.

The down side is that to better your opportunities for a medical coding job you need to acquire some training in the field.

If you are good at organization and enjoy administrative work, learning medical coding will be easy for you. Coders are needed by hospitals, medical clinics and offices, and if you have the proper accreditation and certification, the more opportunities you are presented.

The American Academy of Professional Coders offers different types of certifications after passing their examinations. This certification is nationally recognized and while you can still get a medical coding job without these certifications, your options for employment are limited.

To find out more about how to get certain training in what you're attracted to, you should take advantage of a medical career forum.

By attending these you can gather the necessary information to decide whether the medical field job is what you want to pursue. You can find a medical career forum online, through different pertinent government agencies, community boards, hospital employment information boards, and the like. Joining as many as you can will result in better equipping you to choose.

I have noticed that lately there seems to be more part-time educational facilities offering training in the medical field, so you may want to investigate a few brochures.

There are many opportunities in this field and, unfortunately, we know that no matter what else happens these are services sick people will always need. It doesn't depend on the price of oil or the stock market - there will always be the need.

Who says you can only have one career in a lifetime?

I've had five!

Maureen Stephenson is a local author and owner of Santa Clarita-basaed REMS Publishing & Publicity. Her column represents her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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