Longer Lives and Larger Populace: Health Science Programs Meet Needs

As the global population continues to expand, the demand for healthcare professionals will continue to rise with it. Every day in the news and on the internet, new polls and studies continue to show that the demand for healthcare professionals is steadily increasing. With the focus of the federal government on healthcare and the healthcare reform by President Obama, all sectors of healthcare will see a surge in applicants, and subsequently, old and new health science programs will meet the increasing demands.

The healthcare industry is one that encompasses a huge variety of professions. From dental hygienists, to nutrition science to pharmacy technology, the health science programs are not lacking for compatibility with student’s different interests and personalities. As well as compatibility options, the availability of education options has increased proportionately with the demand in each field with the availability of online courses in health. Most degrees in healthcare can be earned through hybrid courses, which mix online and traditional schooling, and purely online classes that offer clinicals in real medical settings.

Three professions are primarily geared towards helping individual patients on a one-one-one basis when a doctor might not have time to give that same attention; these include medical assisting, dental assisting, and physician assisting. These professionals help the doctor with the day-to-day operations, which might be anything from medical filing and speaking one-on-one with the patient to assisting in clinical work. These careers are highly sought after since they require less schooling than their doctor counterparts.

Dental assistants, for example, are the people who you may see more often than the dentist themselves, if you have no cavities of course. Dental hygienists are trained to assist the dentist in a clinical procedure and can, in some cases, be trained to do them alone. As more and more people become concerned about the whiteness of their smile and other cosmetic worries, the demand for assistants and hygienists will continue to increase as more dental offices cater to more patients. The career projections for these career paths are proving to be spectacular; dental assistants and dental hygienists will see a job growth rate of 36 percent by 2018.

Another great career choice is a medical assistant. As stated earlier, the growth in those seeking medical attention using the newly-minted healthcare reform will probably be incredible. Doctor offices have been working one way for years, with a certain amount of clients that they see on a daily basis. With more people seeking healthcare, and more paperwork to handle, medical assistants will be a valuable commodity. Medical assistants also provide a certain amount of clinical help to the doctor and to the patient. They are trained to draw blood, collect and analyze lab samples and administer X-rays, to name just a few tasks.

A physician’s assistant (PA) is a highly trained individual that assists the physicians in their daily rounds of patients. In fact, when you go to a doctor’s office for a normal check-up, in all likelihood, the person who you see the most is the PA. A physician’s time is mainly spent with those patients that have the most pressing medical problems, and while they do care for each and every patient, it is not possible for one physician to see all the patients for a full period of time when they walk through the door. That is why PA’s are such valuable people. In all cases, PA’s are able to see, diagnose, counsel, and in some cases, treat patients in the absence of a physician. With more people seeking healthcare, this profession has a projected job growth of nearly 39 percent. Another factor to keep in mind is that with each physician, there is a specialty that they work with, and if that is the case, then the assistants will specialize in that same field as well.

Take a look around you: everyday there are new illnesses and diseases that make headlines, as well as ones that have not been cured. The population, domestic and global, is increasing by leaps and bounds. This is the reality that we live in. While the general populace is increasingly healthy and living longer, those that have special health needs are still seeking medical help. Those that live in nursing homes and have healthcare aids full-time are increasing proportionately as well. Years of schooling are not always an option for some people who wish to get a degree in these fields. However, with the ever-expanding popularity and ease of online colleges and distance learning, the degrees become much more attainable.

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