Health Technologists and Technicians

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Those who want to work in the health field as health technologists and technicians have a variety of careers from which to choose. The occupations listed here all have very positive outlooks for the coming years. Learn about each of these career choices.

Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers treat athletes and other individuals who have sustained injuries. They also teach people how to prevent them. They perform their job under the supervision of physicians. One must earn at least a bachelor's degree to be an athletic trainer but the majority of people in this career have a master's degree. Forty-seven states require a license in order to practice. Athletic trainers earned a median annual salary of $41,340 in 2009.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists provide preventative dental care and teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They usually work under dentists' supervision. To work as a dental hygienist one must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene school, earning, most commonly, an associate degree. Dental hygienists, in 2009, earned a median annual salary of $67,340.

EMT and Paramedic

EMTs and paramedics administer on-site emergency care to ill or injured people. There are three levels of training for those who want to work in this field: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and Paramedic. To work as an EMT or paramedic one must be licensed. Paramedics earned a median annual salary of $30,000 in 2009.

Lab Technician

Lab technicians perform laboratory tests and procedures. They work under the supervision of a laboratory technologist or a laboratory manager. To work as a laboratory technician one must first earn an associate degree. Laboratory technicians are required by some states to be licensed. Median annual earnings of laboratory technicians were $36,030 in 2009.

Lab Technologist

Lab technologists perform complex tests that help other medical professionals, such as physicians, detect, diagnose and treat disease. Aspiring laboratory technologists should earn a bachelor's degree with a major in medical technology or one of the life sciences. Some states require laboratory technologists to be licensed. Laboratory technologists earned median annual wages of $55,140 in 2009.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed Practical nurses care for patients who are sick, injured, convalescing or disabled. To work as a licensed practical nurse one must attend a state-approved year-long training program. After completion of a formal training program, an aspiring licensed practical nurse must pass the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-PN. Median annual earnings of licensed practical nurses were $39,820 in 2009.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nuclear medicine technologists prepare and administer radiopharmaceuticals, radioactive drugs, to patients in order to treat or diagnose diseases. To become a nuclear medicine technologist one must complete a nuclear medicine technology program that can range from one to four yours. A license to practice is required in about half of all states in the U.S. and voluntary certification is also available. Nuclear medicine technologists earned a median annual salary of $67,910 in 2009.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with the preparation of prescription medications for customers. Their duties vary depending on the state in which they work. Pharmacy technicians have no formal training requirements but those who have received formal training are more desirable to employers. Pharmacy technicians earned a median annual salary of $28,070 in 2009.

Radiologic Technologist and Technician

Radiologic technologists and technicians perform diagnostic imaging examinations using x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and mammography. Radiologic Technicians perform x-rays while radiologic technologists perform CT scans, MRIs, and mammography. Aspiring radiologic technologists or technicians must receive formal training in radiography. This training leads most often to an associate degree. Median annual earnings of radiologic technologists and technicians were $53,240 in 2009.

Surgical Technologist

Surgical technologists assist in surgery, working under the supervision of surgeons and registered nurses. One who wants to be a surgical technologist must complete a nine to 12-month formal training program. Surgical technologists earned an annual median salary of $39,400 in 2009.

Ultrasound Technician

Ultrasound technicians operate special equipment that uses sound waves to help diagnose patients' ailments. Those who want to work as ultrasound technicians must attend a formal training program, earning either an associate or bachelor's degree. Ultrasound technicians earned a median annual salary of $30,790 in 2009.

Veterinary Technician and Technologist

Veterinary technicians and technologists assist veterinarians by conducting clinical and laboratory procedures in private clinics and animal hospitals. Some work in research facilities. To become a veterinary technician one must attend an accredited, two-year veterinary technology program at a community college. This will usually result in earning an associate's degrees. Aspiring veterinary technologists must earn a bachelor's degree by completing a four-year program. Veterinary technicians and technologists earned an annual median salary of $29,280 in 2009.

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.

Comparing Health Technology Careers

Minimum Education License Median Salary
Athletic Trainer Bachelor's Required in 47 states $41,340
Dental Hygienist Associate Required $67,340
EMT and Paramedic Specialized training Required $30,000
Lab Technician Associate Required by some states $36,030
Lab Technologist Bachelor's Required by some states $55,140
Licensed Practical Nurse One-year training program National licensure exam $39,820
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Specialized training lasting 1-4 years Required in about half of all states $67,910
Pharmacy Technician No formal training Registration with state board of pharmacy required in most states $28,070
Radiologic Technologist and Technician Specialized training resulting in an associate degree Required by most states $53,240
Surgical Technologist 9-12 month training program none $39,400
Ultrasound Technician Associate none $30,790
Veterinary Technician Specialized training for 2 years none $29,280
Veterinary Technologist Bachelor's none $29,280