Though you'll certainly need postsecondary training and certification in some cases, health technician is a broad job description, and you should be able to find something that will fill your needs. In this article, we'll look at careers in therapeutic health, mental health, or heath information.
A health technician assists doctors and nurses in a variety of specialties. Tasks for a technician may include running tests and providing rudimentary care directly to patients. A minimum of an associate's degree is usually required for a career as some type of health technician. Professions in the field may also require certification. A health technician may choose to specialize in areas such as therapeutic health, mental health, or heath information.
|Careers||Physical Therapist Assistant||Psychiatric Technician||Medical Records and Health Information Technician|
|Education Requirements||Associate's degree||Associate's degree or certificate program||Associate's degree or certificate|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||41%||5%||15%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$55,170||$31,140||$37,110|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Services
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Careers for health technicians include therapeutic health technician, mental health technician, and health information technician. Therapeutic health technicians work in fields such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and respiratory therapy; while mental health technicians treat patients as part of psychiatric team in hospitals or clinics and health information technicians manage patient records.
Therapeutic Health Technician
Therapeutic health technicians are found in a variety of fields, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and respiratory therapy. They assist licensed therapists in providing treatment for patients with debilitating injuries or medical conditions.
Education requirements vary based on the therapeutic field, but most jobs require an associate's or bachelor's degree. Depending on state requirements, some therapeutic health positions may also require certification. Coursework often includes medical terminology, communications and anatomy, as well as study in the specialized field.
Some therapeutic health technicians may choose to further their careers by continuing their educations to become licensed therapists or therapeutic managers. They may also advance through on-the-job experience and specialized certifications.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for therapeutic health technicians varied greatly by field. Between 2014 and 2024, physical therapy and occupational therapy technicians were expected to experience healthy growth in employment opportunities.
In May 2015, physical therapist assistants made a median salary of $55,170 per year, while occupational therapy assistants earned a median of $57,870. Respiratory therapy technicians had a median annual wage of $48,490.
Mental Health Technician
Mental health technicians usually work as part of a psychiatric team in providing treatment to patients, often in a hospital or mental health clinic. Their duties can include monitoring medications, working in therapy sessions and completing administrative tasks.
Educational requirements for mental health technicians often vary according to state and institutional requirements. Most employers hire applicants who have had formal training in mental health technology, such as an associate's degree or certificate program. Coursework often includes psychiatric terminology, behavioral management and abnormal psychology.
The 2015 median annual wage for psychiatric technicians was $31,140, according to BLS data. The number of positions in this field was projected to grow by 5% between 2014 and 2024.
Health Information Technician
Health information technicians manage patient records in a variety of settings, including medical centers, doctor offices, clinics and hospitals. Many technicians specialize in certain types of medical records management, such as records coding, insurance claims or patient billing.
The majority of health information positions require applicants to have an associate's degree, and some also require credentials from a professional organization. Coursework in health information programs often includes classes in medical terminology, medical coding systems and database management. Certification requirements vary according to the organization, but most involve a written exam following graduation from a degree program.
Many health information technicians advance in their careers by furthering their educations or obtaining advanced certification in a specialized field of records management. Techs with an advanced degree in health information often assume managerial positions within a health care organization.
According to the BLS, the job market for medical records and health information techs was predicted to be quite strong. Employment was expected to increase by 15% between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, the median salary for health information techs was $37,140.
Though there are a number of occupations that fall into the category of health technician, you'll find the salaries and projected openings in each specialty can vary widely in some cases. You'll need college training in each case, but certification and licensing requirements can vary by state and/or by specialty.