How to Become a Health Technician
Health Technician is an umbrella term used to define several specialized positions in the healthcare field. These professionals play a variety of roles within the health care field depending on the specialization they work in. These specialists use their medical knowledge to assist a medical team that can include doctors, nurses and other medical personnel. Responsibilities depend on the specialty in which a Health Technician works in but for the most part, revolves around a patient's care.
Health Technicians work in a variety of locations including Hospitals, Mental Health Clinics, Veteran Affairs, Victim Abuse centers, Ophthalmology or Podiatry Offices to name a few places.
The several types of Health Technicians include the following examples:
- Mental Health Technician: Work with patients in a mental health facility
- Therapeutic Technician: Help treat patients who are being treated by Physical Therapists, Respiratory Therapists or Occupational Therapists
- Health Technician Phlebotomy: Take blood and urine samples in order to perform testing
- Health Technician Ophthalmology: Works in an Ophthalmology office (eye doctor) to provide care and request patient information
- Health Information Technicians: Handle sensitive patient information: health history, personal information, symptoms and treatment
Education Requirements to Become a Health Technician
Someone making plans to become a Health Technician needs to have a minimum of a high school diploma in combination with certification and experience. However, qualifications differ depending on the specialization and each individual employer's requirements. Someone who has more education will remain more competitive in the field.
Most employers prefer candidates with at least an Associate's Degree in a medical related discipline.
The majority of people who want to become a Health Technician need to complete at least one year of study focused on Medical, Health or a similar course of study.
Acquiring certification to become a Health Technician greatly improves the chances of getting a job in the field. For candidates that seek employment in coding such as in Ophthalmology, Health Technicians can become certified through The Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS). More information on this organization and certification requirements can be found at their website.
Specializations, such as Mental Health Technicians or Therapeutic Health Technicians would require more education either an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in addition to certification.
Health Technician Job Description
Responsibilities for Health Technicians depend on the specialization they work in.
- Mental Health Technician: Assists in the treatment of patients who are mentally ill or emotionally troubled possibly under the supervision of Psychologists, Counselors or Psychiatrists. Monitor patient behavior and assist with maintaining hygiene and medication dosages.
- Therapeutic Technician: Helps provide healthcare to patients who have debilitating conditions or have suffered severe injuries. Health Technician may work within a specific area: Respiratory, Physical or Occupational Therapy.
- Health Technician Phlebotomy: Draw, collect, label and process patient blood samples for testing and analyzing. May also collect and process urine samples.
- Health Technician Ophthalmology: Works in Ophthalmology maintaining patient records and requesting patient health history including vision health history.
- Health Information Technicians: Assists in managing important patient medical information in a hospital, clinic or a private physician's office.
Health Technician Salary and Career Path
Wages for Health Technicians vary between specializations. Salary expectations for Health Technicians ranges from approximately $23,000 to $39,000.
Health Technicians play a variety of roles in the Healthcare industry working in many different specializations. Health Technicians can work in hospitals or in-patient facilities but are also found working for Veteran Affairs or with victims of abuse.
The Medical Industry is expected to have strong growth throughout the next decade. This growth will result in more job opportunities for Health Technicians and beyond. A Health Technician can rely on their background in order to remain competitive in the field. Having a background that includes a combination of education, certification and experience will help a Health Technician throughout their career in the Medical Industry.
Health Technicians play an important role in the Medical Industry and their unique skills and talents help medical facilities provide the best healthcare for patients. Physicians and patients depend on their work in order to facilitate a diagnosis, manage patient information and perform specific tasks that help a facility run smoothly.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics