Avoiding the Blood and Guts

  • Article by: NANCY GIGUERE , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: February 5, 2004 - 10:00 PM

Looking for a job with a future? Healthcare is a good option because the demand for workers will continue for many years to come. But what if you can't stand the sight of blood? Then consider one of these "bloodless" healthcare careers.

The Eyes Have It
Opticians design, measure and fit lenses and frames according to prescription. They also prepare work orders so that technicians in the ophthalmic laboratory can grind and insert lenses into frames. Some opticians specialize in fitting contacts and artificial eyes.
Most opticians complete a one-year diploma or a two-year associate degree. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) predicts average growth in employment through 2008. As the population ages, the demand for corrective lenses and contacts will increase. Additional openings will result from the need to replace those who leave the occupation. Currently, the median hourly wage for the state's opticians is $11.80.
The employment outlook for opticians depends somewhat on the business cycle. When times are tight, many people postpone purchasing new eyewear. This means employment of opticians may fall slightly during economic downturns.
Nutritional Needs
Dietetic technicians work closely with dietitians to develop nutritional care plans. To gather the necessary information, they may talk with doctors, nurses and the patient's family members. They analyze this information and create diet plans. They may also work directly with patients, teaching them how to select and prepare food.
Dietetic technicians need a two-year associate degree. Nationally, the number of jobs for dietetic technicians is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2010. In Minnesota, dietetic technicians earn a median wage of $13.68 per hour. According to DEED, the need for dietetic technicians will increase as people become more aware of the relationship between diet and good health. In addition, as the population continues to age, nursing homes and home health agencies will also hire more dietetic technicians.

Information, Please!

Health information technicians collect, code and maintain medical information about patients. As medical records become computerized, the switch from paper to electronic media has created opportunities for individuals who are interested in both healthcare and computers.
Most technicians complete a two-year associate degree at a junior or community college. They take courses in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and legal aspects of health information, as well as coding, statistics, and database management. Many employers prefer candidates who have passed the certification exam given by the American Health Information Management Association.
In Minnesota, the median wage for medical records and health information technicians is $11.68 per hour. According to DEED, the number of jobs in this field will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2008. Most health information professionals will work in hospitals, but a growing number will find employment in medical offices, nursing homes and home health agencies.

Learn More

Explore a variety of careers - including healthcare occupations - at www.mncareers.org. This site, which is updated annually, is an excellent resource for job seekers, students, teachers and parents.

Nancy Giguere is owner of Wordsmith, and is a freelance writer from St. Paul, MN.

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