According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare is the fastest-growing industry in the United States. It's truly a field of opportunity for jobseekers at all levels.

But what if you hate the sight of blood? Then consider one of these "bloodless" careers:

Health Information Technicians

They collect, code and maintain information about patients. Most technicians complete a two-year associate degree at a junior or community college. Employers prefer candidates certified by the American Health Information Management Association, www.ahima.org. Technicians work in hospitals, doctors' offices, home health, nursing facilities and outpatient care centers.

Medical Social Workers

They help patients and families cope with chronic, acute or terminal illnesses, arrange services for patients who are being discharged from the hospital and participate in the evaluation of certain kinds of patients, such as those waiting for organ transplants. Social workers complete a bachelor's or master's degree and pass a national licensure examination. They work for hospitals, nursing facilities and community and government agencies. Learn more from the National Association of Social Workers, www.socialworkers.org.

Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists

ENDTs perform tests to record the electrical activity in a patient's brain and nervous system. ENDTs usually earn either a three-semester diploma or a two-year associate degree. Most ENDTs work in clinics and hospitals. Learn more from the American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists, www.aset.org.

Ophthalmic Technicians

They work in the offices of ophthalmologists, that is, physicians specializing in eye care. Technicians obtain patient histories; perform tests, measurements and procedures; maintain instruments; and fit glasses and contact lenses. Because the field is not hospital-based, it tends to be relatively bloodless. Ophthalmic technicians complete a two-year program. Learn more from the Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology, www.atpo.org.

Dietitians

They plan food and nutrition programs and supervise the preparation and serving of meals. They may work with individual patients or manage food service operations in healthcare, school and other settings. Most work in healthcare, but some are employed by food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. Dietitians need a four-year degree. They must also complete a yearlong internship and pass a national certification examination. Learn more from the American Dietetic Association, www.eatright.org.


Nancy Giguere is a freelance writer from St. Paul who has written about healthcare since 1995.