5 Unusual Health Care Careers

Health care is one of the most promising job sectors in the United States. The demand for new health care professionals continues to grow rapidly, and health care workers are often well compensated.

They can work just about anywhere, and besides the extrinsic rewards, the work carries plenty of intrinsic value. Health care professionals devote their lives to helping others, whether they are saving lives as a paramedic or fighting cancer in oncology.

While the more common occupations include doctors, nurses and medical receptionists, there are some more unusual careers that you may not have considered. These are five more unusual — yet essential — health care occupations:

1. Medical Aesthetician
Medical aestheticians work with patients on improving their physical appearances and skin care. Most aestheticians complete a cosmetology program and have a state license, which involves passing an examination; a biology background is a plus. Aestheticians often work under dermatologists and plastic surgeons, helping patients whose appearances have suffered due to injuries and ailments. Duties might include giving facials, medical peels and laser hair removal. Besides showing patients how to care for their skin, medical aestheticians help boost their self-esteem.

2. Holistic Nurses
Reminiscent of Florence Nightingale, holistic nursing emphasizes the treatment of the whole person, rather than a symptom or disease. The American Holistic Nurses Association describes individual treatment plans that target every aspect of patients’ lives, emphasizing “the interconnectedness of body, mind, emotion, spirit, social/cultural, relationship, context and environment.”

3. Orthotists
If someone suffers from a spinal or limb injury or defect, he or she may need to wear a special brace or splint; orthotists are the professionals who work with patients to fit and construct these orthotic devices. They also train patients on how to use and care for the devices. Becoming an orthotist requires an associate’s or bachelor’s in orthotics or orthotics and prosthetics, as well as passing a certification exam.

4. Traveling Phlebotomists
When your doctor sends you for routine blood work, it is a phlebotomist who draws it. If blood and needles do not make you queasy, and you like to travel, traveling phlebotomist might be the position for you. To become a traveling phlebotomist, you need to complete a training course in phlebotomy, pass a certification exam, then receive on-the-job training. Traveling phlebotomists typically serve home-bound patients and work at blood drives.

5. Poison Information Provider
Many new parents find themselves calling poison control at some point during their children’s young lives. In 2009, more than four million calls were made to poison control in the United States; 72 percent of those calls were treated at home with no further need for a visit to the doctor. The poison control provider is the invaluable person on the other end of the phone line, offering emergency treatment information. Most poison control providers are nurses or physician’s assistants, with at least one year of experience in their field. Besides fielding public calls, they provide poison training and treatment recommendations to other health care providers.

This post is written by Erica Moss, who is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online masters in Nursing program, offering one of the nation’s leading family nurse practitioner programs.

Photo credit: edenpictures on Flickr

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