Choosing the best career path for you is a major decision and often involves a variety of factors. You might look at salary potential, how much training or education is required, and what job growth is in that field. For some people, another important factor is that the career enables them to help people.
What Jobs Involve Helping Others?
If you’re interested in having a positive effect on people’s lives, you have many career options. You could become a police officer or firefighter, for instance. Other jobs for helping others are in healthcare, both in patient-facing roles and behind the scenes. Here are eight that can contribute to other people’s health and well-being.
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist and assist with the dispensing of prescription medications. Individuals in this role can also perform other duties, such as organizing inventory, processing insurance claims, and assisting customers who would like to speak to the pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians help people by ensuring that they have the medications they need to treat or better manage their health conditions. Pharm techs can also help patients by verifying that the medications being dispensed are in the correct dosage amount as prescribed by the patient’s healthcare provider. This attention to detail can keep the patient from getting too much or not enough of a particular medicine, both of which can be harmful to their health.
It’s not uncommon for pharm techs in a retail setting to work directly with customers while those working in a hospital may involve face-to-face interaction with patients. In both types of scenarios, you can help people by connecting them with the pharmacist if they have questions or concerns about the medications they’ve been prescribed.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that pharmacy technician jobs are expected to grow 4% between 2020 and 2030, providing roughly 16,600 new positions.1 Obtaining an entry-level pharmacy tech role generally requires having a high school diploma coupled with on-the-job training. However, most states do regulate this role. Also, some employers may require certification as well. Therefore, formal education or training program may be necessary depending on your state’s requirements.
If you’re interested in helping others by getting them the medicines they need, Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers a Health Sciences – Pharmacy Technician associate degree program. This program teaches the skills necessary to work in an entry-level pharmacy technician role and includes instruction in pharmacology, drug dosages and interactions, pharmaceutical calculations, and more. It also includes a pharmacy tech externship, offering you the opportunity to practice what you’ve learned in an actual pharmacy setting.
UMA’s Health Sciences – Pharmacy Technician associate degree program also prepares students to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE), should you meet the requirements necessary to be eligible for this exam.
No list of careers that help people would be complete without including the medical assistant. As its name suggests, individuals in this role assist medical doctors and other healthcare professionals. They do this by performing tasks such as measuring and recording a patient’s vital signs, helping the doctor perform exams, taking the patient’s blood for testing, and updating the patient’s health records to help track their medical history.
Like with pharmacy techs, medical assistants help both healthcare professionals and patients alike. They help healthcare professionals by handling some of the simpler care-related duties, giving the medical staff time to tend to other, more complex tasks related to diagnosis, testing, and treatment. They help patients by ensuring that important health information is taken and recorded accurately, increasing the likelihood that patients will “get the right care at the right time.”2
The BLS reports that medical assistant jobs are expected to increase 18% between 2020 and 2030, creating a projected 132,600 new positions in this healthcare role.3 Most people working in a medical assistant role have some level of postsecondary education as, even if the state doesn’t require this, many employers prefer to hire individuals with this higher level of instruction.
In UMA’s Medical Assistant diploma and associate degree programs, students learn about anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. Both programs also include courses that touch on medical assistant office procedures, lab and phlebotomy procedures, and minor medical office surgeries. Those enrolled in UMA’s Medical Assistant associate degree program also engage in a group of required general education courses and can choose from a few electives, such as Accounting for Managers, Working with People, Diversity in the Workplace, and Patient Relations.
Completion of either program prepares students to sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam, if you qualify for this certification. Even though it may not be required by your state or employer, certification does signify that you have a certain amount of education in medical assistant duties, which can help when competing against job applicants who may lack this designation.
Medical Administrative Assistant
Though medical assistant and medical administrative assistant sound a lot alike, individuals in the latter role perform different functions. Among them are answering the phone, scheduling patient appointments, assisting with insurance claims to obtain reimbursement, and the management of patients’ medical records.
By performing these types of administrative tasks, medical administrative assistants help a healthcare organization run more smoothly. They are also beneficial to the patients these organizations serve by assisting with functions that can make it easier to obtain and follow through with regular medical care.
While the job outlook for secretaries and administrative assistants, in general, is projected to decline by 7% between 2020 and 2030, medical secretaries and administrative assistant roles are expected to increase 11% during this same period.4 This would result in the addition of 64,900 new jobs.
If you’re interested in helping people by performing administrative healthcare tasks, UMA offers both a Health Sciences – Medical Administrative Assistant associate degree program and a Medical Administrative Assistant diploma program. Each program teaches students about healthcare communication, records management, medical transcription, and coding procedures. Students enrolled in the associate degree program also learn computer fundamentals, interpersonal communications, and patient relations, in addition to taking a few select general education courses for a well-rounded education.
Taking these courses can help prepare you to sit for the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam. Earning your CMAA credentials offers many benefits even if not required by an employer, including opening the door to career advancement opportunities and maximizing your earning potential.5
Perhaps one of the better-known helping positions in healthcare is a registered nurse. Registered nurses help by assessing and recording patients’ conditions, administering medications, operating certain medical devices, and performing some diagnostic tests. They also help patients and caregivers understand condition management and treatment protocol, both inside and outside of healthcare settings.
Registered nurses can specialize in a certain area of medicine, enabling them to help the patients that are nearest to their hearts. This could include working in critical care, being a registered cardiovascular nurse, or specializing in neonatal nursing or nephrology. Some registered nurses help patients in addiction centers or serve the public as a whole, the latter of which is titled a public health nurse.
Registered nursing jobs are expected to increase 9% between 2020 and 2030, resulting in the creation of 276,800 new positions.6 To work in this role, you must be licensed. Training typically involves either earning your associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing or by earning your diploma from an approved nursing program such as the Florida Board of Nursing.
Completing one of these programs will generally qualify you to perform duties in an entry-level nursing position, such as a staff nurse. If you want a higher-level nursing role, additional education may be required. For instance, individuals interested in working as a clinical nurse specialist must have a master’s degree to qualify for this type of position.
If this helping position is appealing to you, one way to get started on this career path is by becoming a nursing assistant. Though credits from your NA program wouldn’t necessarily carry over to becoming an RN, this can at least help you decide whether nursing is the right career for you.
UMA offers a Nursing Assistant diploma program which can be completed in 2 months7 and includes both instruction in nursing assistant duties as well as a clinical externship. The externship provides the opportunity to practice your skills in an operational healthcare facility.
Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
Medical billing involves submitting claims to health insurance companies for reimbursement, in addition to billing patients for their portion of the medical expenses. Medical coding is the process of transforming certain health information – such as any tests that have been conducted on the patient, their diagnoses, and their treatment protocol – into a designated code using standard medical coding systems.
Some healthcare organizations hire separate people for each of these roles while others use the same staff to perform both billing and coding functions. But how do these tasks help others?
The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that some of the most common reasons healthcare claims are denied include providing inaccurate patient information and incorrect use of coding modifiers.8 By ensuring that healthcare services are coded and billed properly, medical billing and coding specialists can help organizations receive reimbursement faster by reducing the risk of payment denial.
Creating an efficient process benefits patients as receiving timely reimbursement can help healthcare facilities stay in business and continue to offer treatment. If these facilities don’t get reimbursed in the appropriate amounts or within a reasonable amount of time, they may not be able to keep their doors open long-term.
Individuals performing medical billing and coding specialists fall under the BLS category of medical secretaries and administrative assistants, again, with a projected growth rate of 11% between 2020 and 2030.4 If you are interested in this type of role, obtaining formal education or training can help.
UMA offers both an online Medical Billing and Coding diploma program and an associate degree program. Each of these includes courses designed to advance your knowledge in diagnostic and procedural coding, billing and coding applications, and healthcare communication. Individuals enrolled in the associate degree program also gain access to additional courses, such as Computer Fundamentals, Interpersonal Professional Communications, and general education courses like English, math, biology, etc.
Completing either program prepares you to sit for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam if you meet the eligibility requirements. Earning this designation can help boost your career while also demonstrating to potential employers that you have the skills necessary to perform medical billing and coding functions.9
Some healthcare careers help people by providing direct patient care. Others provide a more indirect type of care by looking after the organizations that look after the people, one example of which is healthcare management.
Individuals in healthcare management roles help businesses and organizations in this field operate more efficiently. They do this by being involved in the company’s budget, implementing their workplaces processes, and developing necessary forms.
Medical and health service manager roles are projected to increase 32% between 2020 and 2030, a rate that is much faster than average.10 This would equate to the addition of 139,000 new health manager roles.
Typically, a bachelor’s degree or higher is required to enter a healthcare management position. If this sounds like a good helping role for you and you don’t want to spend the next four years in college, another option is to earn your associate degree.
UMA’s online Healthcare Management associate degree program teaches the skills necessary to gain an entry-level position in this type of behind-the-scenes role. This includes learning about the healthcare claim cycle, accounting and payroll systems, and human resource management.
Then, should you decide that this is the best career for you, you can continue with your education and earn a higher-level degree. UMA has relationships with schools that offer this option, providing you the ability to build upon your foundational education in healthcare management.
If you’ve ever had a major illness or injury, your doctor may have suggested that you engage in occupational therapy. Occupational therapists help people by working with them to reduce if not eliminate their specific disabilities or limitations.
After evaluating the patient’s current condition and needs, an occupational therapist uses their education and experience to develop a treatment plan that can help the patient maintain or restore certain functions. This is often accomplished by performing various exercises designed to meet the desired goal, such as helping a stroke patient re-learn how to eat or dress.
An occupational therapist can also help patients by looking at their home or workplace and suggesting ways to improve the area based on their condition. Providing care-related tips for the patient’s caregiver is yet another important function of an occupational therapist.
Occupational therapy can be confused with physical therapy. How are the two different? Whereas a physical therapist focuses primarily on improving the patient’s physical mobility, an occupational therapist works with the patient to improve their ability to perform activities of daily living. These activities include tending to their personal hygiene, going to the bathroom, eating, or transferring from a wheelchair to a bed.
The inability to perform these basic tasks can lower a person’s quality of life and, in some cases, lead to unsafe conditions.11 Thus, an occupational therapist can help reduce the likelihood of both of these consequences.
Health and Human Services
There are a variety of careers where you help people that fall under the umbrella of health and human services. Job options in this field can vary from working with individuals who have a mental health issue to those who are trying to overcome addiction and everything in between.
Health and human services healthcare workers are tasked with connecting individuals to the resources available to them based on their mental and physical health conditions. It also sometimes involves advocating for clients to help ensure that they get the care they need.
What makes health and human service jobs so attractive to some is that they present the ability to work with a population that aligns with your particular passions. If you like the idea of working with people with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, for instance, you have that opportunity in this field. Or you can work with people from a specific background or socioeconomic status.
It’s not uncommon for health and human service workers to be employed by a non-profit organization or civic group. Health agencies at all levels of government also hire health and human service workers, sometimes through the local public health department.
The BLS reports that social and human service assistant roles are expected to increase 17% between 2020 and 2030, creating approximately 69,500 new jobs.12 Included in this group are people who assist those in a social work role.
A high school diploma is typically required to work in health and human services. Although, some employers may require formal education or a certificate as this type of advanced training and/or education is growing increasingly common for these roles.13
If you like the idea of working with diverse populations but don’t want to earn a 4-year degree to become a social worker, earning your associate degree is another option. UMA offers a Health and Human Services associate degree program that provides instruction in topic areas such as counseling, public and community health, family dynamics, and social welfare. To apply these in a healthcare setting, it also includes courses such as Introduction to U.S. Healthcare Delivery, Medical Terminology, and Human Growth and Development.
Begin a Career Devoted to Helping Others
If you’ve been wondering about careers with the potential to help people, these are eight to consider. Earning your diploma or degree is the first step to pursuing a career that is devoted to helping others. Let UMA’s qualified and compassionate staff can help you pursue the right career path fit for you, whatever your career-related goals.
Contact us online today or give us a call at 888-213-4473 to learn more. We offer both online and blended programs, enabling you to select the one that is best suited to your situation and needs.14
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Pharmacy technicians. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm#tab-1
2 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Office of Inspector General. Transcript for Audio Podcast: Importance of Documentation. https://oig.hhs.gov/newsroom/podcasts/2011/heat/heat09-trans.asp
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Medical Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-1
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm#tab-6
5 NHA. Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). https://www.nhanow.com/certification/nha-certifications/medical-admin-assistant-(cmaa)
6 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Registered Nurses. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-1
7 Completion time varies depending on individual student.
8 AAFP. The Cure for Claims Denials. https://www.aafp.org/fpm/2015/0300/p7.html
9 AAPC. Certified Professional Coder CPC Certification Exam. https://www.aapc.com/certification/cpc/
10 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Medical and Health Services Manager. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm
11 StatPearls. Activities of Daily Living. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470404/
12 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Social and Human Service Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-and-human-service-assistants.htm
13 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Social and Human Service Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-and-human-service-assistants.htm#tab-4
14 Set schedules required for on-site externship courses. Online learning at UMA’s Clearwater campus applies to all programs except Nursing Assistant, which will remain fully on campus.