5 New Careers In Health Science That Have Good Salaries

The following are five emergent careers in medicine. Salary estimates collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are presented where available but many of these careers are so new that the BLS has not had the opportunity to compile salary information.

Chronic Illness Coach

Chronic illness coaches bridge the gap between doctors and patients by helping people with a persistent illness such as diabetes or asthma better understand their condition and treatment options. Chronic illness coaches and other wellness coaches also provide accountability partners for patients whose course of treatment includes self-disciplined action such as a change in lifestyle or weight loss. A background in a medical field like nursing is a plus for chronic illness coaches and other wellness advisors.

Persons in this career field report earning between $25 and $100 per hour for their services.

Biomedical Engineer

Until recently biomedical engineering has been treated as a degree specialization of electrical or mechanical engineering but universities are increasingly offering specific degrees in this field. Biomedical engineers design and improve different types of medical equipment, develop prosthetic devices and apply engineering knowledge in such areas as pharmacology and patient care. Career opportunities in biomedical engineering are expected to grow by over 60 percent in the decade between 2010 and 2020, compared to 14 percent average growth for all career fields.

According to the BLS the median annual salary for biomedical engineers is $81,540.

Biomedical Engineering Laboratory

Patient Advocate

A patient advocate is a professional who assists a person with an illness in receiving necessary medical care by contacting appropriate medical personnel, coordinating treatments and helping to maneuver through the often complex insurance and payment process. Several colleges and universities throughout the United States offer specific degrees or certificates in patient advocacy. Patient advocates are hired by hospitals and private corporations and may also be self-employed. Careers in this field are expected to increase as healthcare becomes more advanced and complicated.

Patient advocates generally earn around $60,000 a year.

Health Information Technician

Health information technology is an excellent career for an individual who would like a career in medicine but does not wish to interact directly with patients. Health information technicians manage patient data, build medical record databases and communicate with insurance companies.

Although the BLS indicates that health information technicians currently earn an average of around $32,000 a year, a short-term training program or an associate’s degree is generally the only education required to gain an entry level position in this growing field.

Gerontology Nurse

The field of gerontology has existed for decades but the number of careers in gerontological nursing is projected to increase exponentially as the average age of the American population increases. Gerontology nurses receive the same training as other Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) but specialize in caring for the medical conditions specific to elderly patients. Gerontology nurses are employed by nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, home health agencies and hospice organizations.

The BLS does not maintain separate salary information specific to gerontological nursing but lists the median annual salary for LPNs as $40,380 and for RNs as $64,690 for 2010.

Guest Author: Lindsey Lawson is a bio-medical engineer who loves her job. She recently contributed to the Salaries for Health Science Degree guide online.

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