Health Care Support Careers

Dental assistant explaining proper teeth brushing
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Without the women and men who work in health care support, the health care industry would be unable to function. Sure we need doctors, dentists, physical and occupational therapists and other health professionals, but without those who provide administrative and clinical support they would not be able to do their jobs. Here are several health care support careers.

Dental Assistant

Dental assistants provide different types of patient care and perform office duties and laboratory duties.

Although some people receive training from dental assisting programs at community colleges and trade and technical schools, most who want to enter this field receive on-the-job training. Some states license dental assistants. In 2009 dental assistants earned a median annual salary of $33,230 and median hourly wages of $15.98.
Learn More About Becoming a Dental Assistant

Health Services Manager

Health services managers plan, direct, coordinate and supervise the delivery of healthcare in facilities including hospitals and nursing homes. To work in this field one must earn a master's degree in health services administration, long-term care administration, health sciences, public health, public administration or business administration. Every state in the US requires nursing care facility administrators to pass a licensing exam. Health services managers earned a median annual salary of $81,850 in 2009.

Learn More About Becoming a Health Services Manager

Home Health Aide

Home health aides provide basic care for people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, cognitive impairments or who have age-related problems. Home health aides receive on-the-job training from registered nurses, licensed practical nurses or experienced aides.

They must be certified if the agency for which they work receives reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid. Home health aides earned a median annual salary of $20,480 and median hourly wages of $9.85 in 2009.
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Medical Assistant

Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians or other medical practitioners. Although medical assistants need only a high school diploma and on-the-job training, some complete a one to two-year formal training program. Medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $28,650 and median hourly wages of $13.77 in 2009.
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Medical Secretary

Medical secretaries perform clerical duties in medical offices. To work as a medical secretary one must have a high school diploma and basic office skills. Formal training to learn medical terminology is also necessary. Medical secretaries earned a median annual salary of $30,190 and median hourly wages of $14.51 in 2009.
Learn More About Becoming a Medical Secretary

Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists translate doctors' and other medical professionals' dictated recordings into written reports, correspondence and other documents.

Though they aren't required to have post-secondary training in medical transcription, many employers prefer to hire those who do. Medical transcriptionists earned a median annual salary of $32,600 and median hourly wages of $15.68 in 2009.
Learn More About Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist

Occupational Therapist Assistant and Aide

Occupational therapist assistants help clients with activities and exercises specified in a treatment plan developed with an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy aides prepare materials and equipment used during treatment. They also perform clerical duties. Occupational therapist assistants are required to have an associate degree or a certificate from an accredited community college or technical school, while occupational therapy aides usually receive most of their training on the job.

In over 40 states occupational therapist assistants are required to be licensed, registered or certified. Occupational therapy aides do not have this requirement. Occupational therapist assistants earned a median annual salary of $50,250 and median hourly wages of $24.16 in 2009 while Occupational therapy aides earned $25,730 per year and $12.37 per hour.
Learn More About Becoming an Occupational Therapist Assistant and Aide

Physical Therapist Assistant and Aide

Physical therapist assistants perform a variety of tasks under physical therapists' direction. Physical therapy aides help make therapy sessions productive by performing tasks including keeping treatment rooms clean and organized. Physical therapists or physical therapist assistants supervise physical therapy aides. To work as a physical therapy assistant in many states one must earn an associate degree by completing an accredited physical therapist assistant program. Physical therapy aides usually need only a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Physical therapist assistants earned a median annual salary of $48,290 and median hourly wages of $22.22 in 2009. Physical therapy aides earned a median annual salary of $23,890 and median hourly wages of $11.49.
Learn More About Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant and Aide

Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary assistants care for animals in laboratories, animal hospitals and clinics. Only on-the-job training is needed for this job. Veterinary assistants earned a median annual salary of $21,700 and median hourly wages of $10.43 in 2009.
Learn More About Becoming a Veterinary Assistant

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online.

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Comparing Health Care Support Careers
 Minimum EducationLicenseMedian Salary
Dental AssistantOn-the-Job TrainingLicense or registration req. in some states$33,230/yr.; $15.98/hr.
Health Services ManagerMaster's degreeLicense req. to work in a nursing care facility$81,850/yr.
Home Health AideOn-the-Job TrainingLicense req. if employed by an agency receiving Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement$20,480/yr.; $9.85/hr.
Medical AssistantOn-the-Job trainingNone$28,650/yr.; $13.77/hr.
Medical SecretaryOn-the-Job Training and coursework in medical terminologyNone$30,190/yr.; $14.51
Medical TranscriptionistPost-secondary training in medical transcription not required but perferred.None$32,600/yr.; $15.68/hr.
Occupational Therapist AssistantAssociate or certificateLicense, certification or registration req. by most states$50,250/yr.; $24.16/hr.
Occupational Therapy AideOn-the-Job TrainingNone$25,730/hr.; $12.37/hr.
Physical Therapist AssistantAssociateLicense or registration req. in most states$48,290
Physical Therapy AideAssociateLicense or registration req. in most states$23,890/yr.; $11.49/hr.
Veterinary AssistantOn-the-Job TrainingNone$21,700/yr.; $10.43/hr.