Healthcare is a growing field. Between 2020-2030, employment in healthcare will likely grow by 16%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the government group that tracks employment trends in the United States, this is much faster than the average for most jobs.
With its expected high growth, now is a great time to consider a healthcare career. Three careers to consider are surgical technologists, sterile technicians, and medical assistants.
Surgical techs play a vital role on the surgical team. They may assist in operations or procedures. They are integral to keeping patients safe and ensuring procedures run smoothly. Here’s what a day in the life of a surgical tech might look like:
- Make sure everything is set up correctly for the first procedure.
- Assist with tasks during the procedure. For example, tasks could include suctioning at a site and retracting to open up a site further.
- Help close up the incision site.
- Clean up and prepare for the next patient.
If this sounds exciting to you, there are many technical programs across the United States where you can train to become a surgical technologist.
Sterile technicians play an essential role in the medical team by ensuring all equipment is clean, sterile, and correctly assembled. These jobs are crucial to prevent problems such as surgical site infections and to help keep patients safe. A day in the life of a sterile technician might include:
- Dressing in personal protective equipment.
- Decontaminating surgical instruments. This often means soaking and then handwashing them.
- Counting and inspecting the instruments.
- Repackaging the instruments.
- Sending the instruments through special machines to sterilize them.
- Finally, delivering the instruments back to where they are needed in the healthcare system.
Unlike surgical tech and medical assistant training, sterile technician training can often be completed in one semester. So, if you want to establish a career in the medical industry quickly, this may be an excellent job for you!
Surgical and sterile techs have limited to no interaction with patients. If working directly with patients is something you would like to do, consider becoming a medical assistant. This fulfilling career involves a lot of hands-on care of patients. A day in the life of a medical assistant might include:
- Preparing and stocking exam rooms.
- Bringing patients to the exam room from the waiting area.
- Taking vital signs.
- Reviewing and updating key points in a patient’s medical history.
- Establishing the reason for the patient’s visit.
- Assisting the healthcare provider with any procedures.
- Administering vaccinations or medications.
- Conducting medical tests such as swabs for strep throat or other illnesses.
Similar to becoming a surgical technologist, medical assistant programs are typically associate degree programs. A qualified program is accredited by one of two agencies. If becoming a medical assistant sounds like the right career for you, the American Association of Medical Assistants provides a search tool to find accredited programs.
Ready to explore new career opportunities?
Once you have some experience, typically at least a year, you can consider becoming a traveling or contract healthcare professional. These positions generally are paid more and get to travel the country, filling in where there are needs. If you already enjoy working in one of these positions, consider trying contract staffing for a change of pace.
365 Healthcare Staffing, a national healthcare staffing agency, provides opportunities for surgical technologists, sterile processing techs, and medical assistants across the country. Check out their open contract staffing jobs and apply for one today to start your next career move!