America is getting older. In fact, individuals aged 65 and older will make up 21.7 percent of the U.S. population by the year 2040. Just as any free market reacts to the fluctuations of supply and demand, the U.S. job market is flush with opportunities related to the medical support of our aging society. If you're looking for a point of entry into a stable career, here are some ways you can get started by serving this growing demographic.
As life expectancy increases, so do the number of age-related health issues, boosting the need for general medical care from emergency room staff, medical specialists and primary care providers. These facilities don't just need doctors and nurses -- they also require daily support from a team of medical assistants. The medical assistant field is projected to grow by an astonishing 23 percent by 2024, and you could be part of that bonanza.
A medical assistant's job is a mix of the clinical and the clerical. You've seen them greeting patients, entering information for appointments, taking vital signs and medical histories before the examination proper takes place, guiding patients to examining rooms, and preparing equipment and supplies for practitioners. It's genuinely important work, which is why it requires a certain amount of education and training.
While your state may or may not require the completion of a two-year college program for medical assistants, don't count on getting hired on the basis of your high school diploma or equivalency. Medical institutions generally prefer a better-trained, better-educated candidate wherever possible, so you'll boost your chances and reduce your on-the-job learning curve by enrolling in a medical assistant course. Some states will require this level of education from an accredited school before you can perform blood draws, x-rays or certain other medical tasks.
Loss of hearing is commonly associated with age, and this issue has grown even more worrisome in recent decades with the widespread use of personal stereos, on-ear headphones and in-ear monitors. While increasing deafness has traditionally afflicted individuals in their 60s and 70s, studies now indicate that some degree of hearing loss also troubles one-fifth of the 48-to-59 age bracket and one-fifth of the teenage population. These people will need audiologists -- and audiologists will need assistants to help them cope with the workload.
Becoming an audiology assistant is a smart and speedy way to get into the fascinating field of hearing acuity measurement and treatment. Audiologists perform sophisticated tests to determine the degree of hearing loss, providing hearing aids, lifestyle counseling and other solutions. An audiology assistant gets first-hand training from the audiologist in patient preparation, administrative tasks, equipment maintenance and preparing patients for screening. While you may need only a high school diploma or equivalency to get started, some audiologists may require that you undergo college-level study as well, while some states may require you to pass a license exam.
Licensed Practical (Vocational) Nurse
The demand for trained nurses is greater than ever as the U.S. population boasts an ever-higher percentage of elderly citizens. Institutions can barely keep up with their need for these professionals, making nursing a solid-gold career track for anyone seeking stable employment. But the training and education required to leap onto the scene as a registered nurse, or RN, can take years to complete. Fortunately, there's another strategy that can get you started in the nursing field more quickly -- and that's becoming a licensed private nurse (LPN), also known in some states as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN).
LPN training requires a high school diploma and the completion of a relatively short educational program at a community college or trade school. This training qualifies you to take a licensing test called the National Council Licensure Examination. You can also gain experience working in a local hospital as you take classes. An LPN performs many basic functions such as taking vital signs, drawing blood and administering medication -- but if you want to move up to fully fledged-nurse status and a potential leadership role, you can always continue your education and training while working as an LPN.
Joining the world of medical assistance and support has always been a good bet for job seekers, and today's entrants will enjoy more security and stability than ever as the aging U.S. population needs their services. Shop around for a college training program that best suits your medical career goals and aspirations! Contact a school like ASA College to get started.