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Thursday, January 10, 2008


1. Physician assistants
What they do: Provide diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive healthcare services as delegated by a physician.
What they need: Accredited educational programs usually last two years and are full-time. Once they complete one of these programs, physician assistants will need to take a national exam to obtain a license.
What they earn: $63,675/year*
With benefits and bonuses: $75,861

2. Medical records technicians

What they do: Maintain and evaluate the accuracy of patients' medical records, including exam results, X-ray reports, lab tests and past diagnoses.
What they need: Most often, an associate's degree from a community or junior college, with coursework in science and medicine.
What they earn: $31,837/year
With benefits and bonuses: $36,575

3. Social workers
What they do: Help people and families who face life-threatening diseases, domestic troubles or social problems function the best way they can in their environments, deal with relationships and solve personal and family problems.
What they need: Although a bachelor's degree in social work is sufficient for entry into the field, a master's degree in social work is becoming the standard and is typically required for positions in health settings and clinical work.
What they earn: $52,119/year
With benefits and bonuses: $59,554

4. Clinical laboratory technicians
What they do: Perform tests that result in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease. They analyze the results and relay them to physicians.
What they need: The usual requirement for an entry-level position is a bachelor's degree in medical technology or one of the life sciences; however, a combination of education, on-the-job experience and specialized training may suffice.
What they earn: $27,861/year
With benefits and bonuses: $32,070

5. Mental health counselor
What they do: Work with individuals, families and groups to address and treat mental and emotional disorders and promote optimum mental health, using a variety of therapeutic techniques.
What they need: A master's degree is typically required to be licensed as a counselor, which may entail 48 to 60 hours of graduate study.
What they earn: $40,338/year
With benefits and bonuses: $46,206

6. Medical scientists
What they do: Research human diseases to provide the information necessary to develop solutions to human health problems, such as vaccines and medicines. They may also perform clinical investigations, technical writing, drug application reviews and patent examinations.
What they need: A doctorate in a biological science is the minimum education required for most prospective medical scientists. Medical scientists who perform invasive procedures on patients must obtain licensure by graduating from an accredited medical school, passing a licensing exam and completing up to seven years of graduate education.
What they earn: $88,281/year
With benefits and bonuses: $103,638

7. Pharmacists
What they do: Distribute drugs prescribed by health practitioners, inform patients about medications and their use and advise health practitioners on the selection, dosages, interactions and side effects of medications.
What they need: A degree from an accredited college of pharmacy and successful completion of the state-required licensing exam.
What they earn: $81,439/year
With benefits and bonuses: $102,792

8. Physical therapistsWhat they do: Provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries and physical ailments.
What they need: A master's or doctoral degree from an accredited physical therapist educational program, as well as a state-required license.
What they earn: $53,410/year
With benefits and bonuses: $67,229

9. Medical transcriptionistsWhat they do: Transcribe dictated recordings made by healthcare professionals into medical reports, correspondence and other administrative material that eventually become part of patients' permanent files.
What they need: Postsecondary training in medical transcription from a vocational school, community college or distance-learning programs is often preferred by employers. Certificate programs often last a year and associate's degrees last two.
What they earn: $27,602/year
With benefits and bonuses: $31,776

10. Medical and health service managers
What they do: Plan, direct, coordinate and supervise the delivery of healthcare.
What they need: A master's degree in health sciences or administration (health services, long-term care, public or business) is the standard; however, a bachelor's degree is adequate for some entry-level positions.
What they earn: $55,380/year
With benefits and bonuses: $68,860

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