Chiropractor Job

Chiropractors treat patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They use spinal adjustments, manipulation, and other techniques to manage patients’ health concerns, such as back and neck pain.

Important Qualities

Decision-making skills. Chiropractors must determine the best course of action when treating a patient. They must also decide when to refer patients to other health care professionals.

Detail oriented. Chiropractors must be observant and pay attention to details so that they can make proper diagnoses and avoid mistakes that could harm patients.

Dexterity. Because they use their hands to perform manual adjustments to the spine and other joints, chiropractors should be well-coordinated to perform therapy effectively.

Empathy. Chiropractors often care for people who are in pain. They must be understanding and sympathetic to their patients’ problems and needs.  

Interpersonal skills. Chiropractors must be personable to keep clients coming to them. Also, because chiropractors frequently touch patients in performing therapy, they should be able to put their patients at ease.

Chiropractors must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree and a state license. Doctor of Chiropractic programs typically take 4 years to complete and require at least 3 years of undergraduate college education for admission.

Chiropractors typically do the following:

  • Assess a patient’s medical condition by reviewing their medical history, listening to the patient’s concerns, and performing a physical examination
  • Analyze the patient’s posture, spine, and reflexes
  • Conduct tests, including evaluating a patient’s posture and taking x rays
  • Identify health problems
  • Provide neuromusculoskeletal therapy, which involves adjusting a patient’s spinal column and other joints by hand
  • Give additional treatments, such as applying heat or cold to a patient’s injured areas
  • Advise patients on health and lifestyle issues, such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits
  • Refer patients to other health care professionals, if needed

Chiropractors focus on patients’ overall health. Chiropractors believe that misalignments of the spinal joints interfere with a person’s neuromuscular system and can result in lower resistance to disease, as well as other conditions of poor health.

Some chiropractors use procedures such as massage therapy, rehabilitative exercise, and ultrasound in addition to spinal adjustments and manipulation. They also may apply supports, such as braces or shoe inserts, to treat patients and relieve pain.

In addition to operating a general chiropractic practice, some chiropractors concentrate in areas such as sports, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, or nutrition, among others. Chiropractors in private practice are responsible for marketing their businesses, hiring staff, and keeping records.

Quick Facts: Chiropractors
2012 Median Pay $66,160 per year

$31.81 per hour
Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 44,400
Job Outlook, 2012-22 15% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 6,500

Chiropractors held about 44,400 jobs in 2012. Most chiropractors work in a solo or group practice. About 37 percent were self-employed in 2012. A small number work in hospitals or physicians’ offices.

Chiropractors typically work in office settings that are clean and comfortable. They may be on their feet for long periods when examining and caring for patients.
Work Schedules

Although most chiropractors worked full time, about 1 out of 3 worked part time in 2012. Chiropractors may work in the evenings or on weekends, to accommodate working patients. Self-employed chiropractors set their own hours.

Employment of chiropractors is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. People across all age groups are increasingly seeking chiropractic care, because most chiropractors treat patients without performing surgery or prescribing drugs.

Chiropractic treatment of the back, neck, limbs, and involved joints has become more accepted as a result of research and changing attitudes about additional approaches healthcare. As a result, chiropractors are increasingly working in hospitals and clinics as part of a team-based model of patient care.

The aging of the large baby-boom generation will lead to new opportunities for chiropractors. Older adults are more likely to have neuromusculoskeletal and joint problems and they are seeking treatment for these conditions more often as they lead longer, more active lives.

Dentist Job

Dentists diagnose and treat problems with teeth and tissues in the mouth, along with giving advice and administering care to help prevent future problems.

Work Environment

Dentists held about 146,800 jobs in 2012. Some dentists own their own businesses and work alone or with a small staff.
How to Become a Dentist

Dentists must be licensed in all states; requirements vary by state. To qualify for a license in most states, applicants must graduate from an accredited dental school and pass written and practical exams.
Pay

The median annual wage for dentists was $149,310 in May 2012.
Job Outlook

Employment of dentists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Quick Facts: Dentists
2012 Median Pay $149,310 per year

$71.79 per hour
Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training See How to Become One
Number of Jobs, 2012 146,800
Job Outlook, 2012-22 16% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 23,300

Dentists typically do the following:

  • Remove decay from teeth and fill cavities
  • Repair cracked or fractured teeth and remove teeth
  • Straighten teeth to correct bite issues
  • Place sealants or whitening agents on teeth
  • Administer anesthetics to keep patients from feeling pain during procedures
  • Write prescriptions for antibiotics or other medications
  • Examine x rays of teeth, gums, the jaw, and nearby areas for problems
  • Make models and measurements for dental appliances, such as dentures, to fit patients
  • Teach patients about diet, flossing, use of fluoride, and other aspects of dental care

Dentists use a variety of equipment, including x-ray machines, drills, mouth mirrors, probes, forceps, brushes, and scalpels. They also use lasers, digital scanners, and other computer technologies.

Most dentists are general practitioners and handle a variety of dental needs. Other dentists practice in one of nine specialty areas:

Dental public health specialists promote good dental health and the prevention of dental diseases in specific communities.

Endodontists perform root-canal therapy, by which they remove the nerves and blood supply from injured or infected teeth.

Oral and maxillofacial radiologists diagnose diseases in the head and neck through the use of imaging technologies.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons operate on the mouth, jaws, teeth, gums, neck, and head, including procedures such as surgically repairing a cleft lip and palate or removing impacted teeth.

Oral pathologists diagnose conditions in the mouth, such as bumps or ulcers, and oral diseases, such as cancer.

Orthodontists straighten teeth by applying pressure to the teeth with braces or other appliances.

Pediatric dentists focus on dentistry for children and special-needs patients.

Periodontists treat the gums and bone supporting the teeth.

Prosthodontists replace missing teeth with permanent fixtures, such as crowns and bridges, or with removable fixtures such as dentures.

Dentists held about 146,800 jobs in 2012. Some dentists own their own businesses and work alone or with a small staff. Other dentists have partners in their practice, and some work for more established dentists as associate dentists.

Dentists usually work in offices. They wear masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases.

Education

Most dental students need at least a bachelor’s degree before entering dental school; requirements vary by school. All dental schools require applicants to have completed certain required science courses, such as biology and chemistry. Majoring in a science, such as biology, might increase the chances of being accepted, but no specific major is required to enter most dental programs.

College undergraduates who plan on applying to dental school must usually take the Dental Acceptance Test (DAT) during their junior year. Admission to dental school can be competitive. Dental schools use these tests along with other factors, such as grade point average and recommendations, to admit students into their programs.

Dental schools require students to take classes in subjects such as local anesthesia, anatomy, periodontology (the study of oral disease and health), and radiology. All dental schools include practice where students work with patients in a clinical setting under the supervision of a licensed dentist.

High school students who want to become dentists should take courses in chemistry, physics, biology, anatomy, and mathematics.

Training

All nine dental specialties require dentists to complete additional training before practicing that specialty. They must usually complete a 1- or 2-year residency in a program related to their specialty. General dentists do not require any additional training after dental school.

Dentists who want to teach or do research full time usually spend an additional 2 to 5 years in advanced dental training. Many practicing dentists also teach part time, including supervising students in dental school clinics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require dentists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. Most states require a dentist to have a degree from an accredited dental school and to pass a written and practical exam.

In addition, a dentist who wants to practice in one of the nine specialties must have a license in that specialty. This usually requires 2 to 4 years of additional education after dental school and, in some cases, the completion of a special state exam. A postgraduate residency term also may be required, usually lasting up to 2 years.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Dentists must have excellent communication skills. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and receptionists.

Detail oriented. Dentists must be detail oriented so patients receive appropriate treatments and medications. They must also pay attention to space, shape, and color of teeth. For example, they may need to closely match a false tooth with a patient’s other teeth.

Dexterity. Dentists must be good at working with their hands. They work with tools in a limited area.

Leadership skills. Most dentists work in their own practice. This requires them to manage and lead a staff.

Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills, including keeping accurate records of patient care, are critical in both medical and business settings.

Patience. Dentists may work for long periods of time with patients who need special attention. Children and patients with a fear of dental work may require a lot of patience.

Physical stamina. Dentists should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as bending over patients for long periods.

Problem-solving skills. Dentists need strong problem-solving skills. They must evaluate patients’ symptoms and choose the appropriate treatments.

Occupational Therapist Job

Occupational therapists carry out treatment plans to help patients with a variety of daily tasks. Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.

What Occupational Therapists Do

Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.

Occupational therapists typically do the following:

  • Observe patients doing tasks, ask them questions, and review their medical history
  • Evaluate a patient’s condition and needs
  • Develop a treatment plan for patients, laying out the types of activities and specific goals to be accomplished
  • Help people with various disabilities with different tasks, such as leading an autistic child in play activities
  • Demonstrate exercises—for example, joint stretches for arthritis relief—that can help relieve pain for people with chronic conditions
  • Evaluate a patient’s home or workplace and, based on the patient’s health needs, identify potential improvements, such as labeling kitchen cabinets for an older person with poor memory
  • Educate a patient’s family and employer about how to accommodate and care for the patient
  • Recommend special equipment, such as wheelchairs and eating aids, and instruct patients on how to use that equipment
  • Assess and record patients’ activities and progress for patient evaluations, for billing, and for reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers
  • Work Environment

    About half of occupational therapists work in offices of occupational therapy or in hospitals. Others work in schools, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, and home health services. Therapists spend a lot of time on their feet while working with patients.

    Quick Facts: Occupational Therapists
    2012 Median Pay $75,400 per year

    $36.25 per hour
    Entry-Level Education Master’s degree
    Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
    On-the-job Training None
    Number of Jobs, 2012 113,200
    Job Outlook, 2012-22 29% (Much faster than average)
    Employment Change, 2012-22 32,800

    How to Become an Occupational Therapist

    Occupational therapists typically have a master’s degree in occupational therapy. All states require occupational therapists to be licensed or registered.
    Pay

    The median annual wage for occupational therapists was $75,400 in May 2012.

    Job Outlook

    Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, autism, or the loss of a limb.

    Occupational therapists held about 113,200 jobs in 2012. The industries that employed the most occupational therapists in 2012 were as follows: 

    Hospitals; state, local, and private 28%
    Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists 22
    Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 12
    Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities) 9
    Home health care services 9

    Therapists spend a lot of time on their feet while working with patients. They also may be required to lift and move patients or heavy equipment. Many work in multiple facilities and have to travel from one job to another.

    Education

    Most occupational therapists enter the occupation with a master’s degree in occupational therapy. In March 2013, there were 149 occupational therapy programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, part of the American Occupational Therapy Association; 145 are master’s degree programs and the remaining 4 are doctoral degree programs.

    Admission to graduate programs in occupational therapy generally requires a bachelor’s degree and specific coursework, including biology and physiology. Many programs also require applicants to have volunteered or worked in an occupational therapy setting.

    Master’s programs generally take 2 to 3 years to complete; doctoral programs take about 3 years. Some schools offer a dual-degree program in which the student earns a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in 5 years. Part-time programs that offer courses on nights and weekends are also available.

    Both master’s and doctoral programs require at least 24 weeks of supervised fieldwork, in which prospective occupational therapists gain clinical work experience.

    Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

    All states require occupational therapists to pass the national examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapists (NBCOT). To sit for the NBCOT exam, candidates must have earned a degree from an accredited educational program and completed all fieldwork requirements.

    Therapists must pass the NBCOT exam to use the title “Occupational Therapist Registered" (OTR). They must also take continuing education classes to maintain certification.

    The American Occupational Therapy Association also offers a number of certifications for therapists who want to demonstrate their advanced level of knowledge in a specialty area, such as pediatrics, mental health, or low vision.

    Important Qualities

    Communication skills. Occupational therapists must be able to listen attentively to what patients tell them and be able to explain what they want their patients to do.

    Compassion. Occupational therapists are usually drawn to the profession by a desire to help people and improve the daily lives of others.

    Flexibility. Occupational therapists must be flexible when treating patients. Because not every type of therapy will work for each patient, therapists may need to be creative when determining the treatment plans and adaptive devices that best suit each patient’s needs.

    Interpersonal skills. Because occupational therapists spend their time teaching and explaining therapies to patients, they should be able to earn the trust and respect of their patients.

    Patience. Dealing with injuries, illnesses, and disabilities is frustrating for many people. Occupational therapists should be patient in order to provide quality care to the people they serve.

    Writing skills. When communicating in writing with other members of the patient’s medical team, occupational therapists must be able to explain clearly the treatment plan for the patient and any progress made by the patient.

    Medical Assistant Job

    Medical assistants usually complete many different kinds of tasks such as measuring a patient’s blood pressure or taking a patient’s temperature. Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.


    Medical Assistant Jobs


    What does a medical assistant do?

  • Take and record patient history and personal information
  • Measure vital signs
  • Help the physician with patient examinations
  • Give patients injections as directed by the physician
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Prepare blood for laboratory tests
  • Quick Facts: Medical Assistants
    2012 Median Pay $29,370 per year

    $14.12 per hour
    Entry-Level Education Postsecondary non-degree award
    Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
    On-the-job Training None
    Number of Jobs, 2012 560,800
    Job Outlook, 2012-22 29% (Much faster than average)
    Employment Change, 2012-22 162,900

    Medical assistants take and record patients’ personal information. They must be able to keep that information confidential and discuss it only with other medical personnel who are involved in treating the patient.

    Electronic health records (EHRs) are changing medical assistants' jobs. More and more physicians are adopting EHRs, moving all their patient information online. Assistants need to learn the EHR software that their office uses.

    Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under a physician's supervision.

    In larger practices or hospitals, medical assistants may specialize in either administrative or clinical work.

    Administrative medical assistants often fill out insurance forms or code patients’ medical information. They often answer telephones and schedule patient appointments. Assistants may work closely with hospital administrators and laboratory services. Some assistants buy and store supplies and equipment for the office.

    Clinical medical assistants have different duties, depending on the state where they work. They may do basic laboratory tests, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They may have additional responsibilities, such as instructing patients about medication or special diets, preparing patients for x rays, removing stitches, drawing blood, or changing dressings.

    Some medical assistants specialize according to the type of medical office where they work. The following are examples of specialized medical assistants:

    Ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistants help ophthalmologists and optometrists, respectively, provide eye care. They show patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses. Ophthalmic medical assistants also may help an ophthalmologist in surgery.

    Podiatric medical assistants work closely with podiatrists (foot doctors). They may make castings of feet, expose and develop x rays, and help podiatrists in surgery.

    Education

    High school students interested in a career as a medical assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy.

    Medical assistants typically graduate from postsecondary education programs, and employers may prefer to hire assistants who have completed these programs. Programs for medical assisting are available from community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools, and universities and take about 1 year to complete. These programs usually lead to a certificate or diploma. Some community and junior colleges offer 2-year programs that lead to an associate’s degree. All programs have classroom and laboratory portions that include lessons in anatomy and medical terminology.

    Some medical assistants have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn their duties on the job.

    There are no formal educational requirements for becoming a medical assistant in most states. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program, pass an exam, or both to do advanced tasks, such as taking x rays and giving injections.

    Important Qualities

    Analytical skills. Medical assistants must be able to understand and follow medical charts and diagnoses. They may be required to code a patient’s medical records for billing purposes.

    Detail oriented. Medical assistants need to be precise when taking vital signs or recording patient information. Physicians and insurance companies rely on accurate records.

    Interpersonal skills. Medical assistants need to be able to discuss patient information with other medical personnel, such as physicians. They often interact with patients who may be in pain or in distress, so they need to be able to act in a calm and professional manner.

    Technical skills. Medical assistants should be able to use basic clinical instruments so they can take a patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure.

    Training

    Medical assistants who do not have postsecondary education learn their skills through on-the-job training. Physicians or other medical assistants may teach a new assistant medical terminology, the names of the instruments, how to do daily tasks, how to interact with patients, and other tasks that help keep an office running smoothly. Medical assistants also learn how to code both paper and electronic health records and how to record patient information. It can take several months for an assistant to complete training, depending on the facility.

    Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

    Medical assistants are not required to be certified. However, employers prefer to hire certified assistants.

    Several organizations offer certification. Some require the assistant to pass an exam, and others require graduation from an accredited program. In most cases, an applicant must be at least 18 years old before applying for certification.

    The National Commission for Certifying Agencies, part of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, accredits five certifications for medical assistants:

    The median annual wage for medical assistants was $29,370 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,080, and the top 10 percent earned more than $41,570.

    Most medical assistants work full time. Some work evenings or weekends to cover shifts in medical facilities that are always open.

    Job Outlook

    Job Prospects

    Medical assistants who earn certification may have better job prospects.

    Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
    Percent Numeric

    SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

    Medical assistants

    31-9092 560,800 723,700 29 162,900 [XLS]

    Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boom population will continue to spur demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As their practices expand, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.

    An increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities need support workers, particularly medical assistants, to do both administrative and clinical duties. Medical assistants work mostly in primary care, a steadily growing sector of the healthcare industry. In addition, federal health legislation will expand the number of patients who have access to health insurance, increasing patient access to medical care.

    Additional demand also is expected because of new and changing tasks for medical assistants as part of the medical team. As more and more physicians’ practices switch to electronic health records (EHRs), medical assistants’ job responsibilities will continue to change. Assistants will need to become familiar with EHR computer software, including maintaining EHR security and analyzing electronic data, to improve healthcare information.

    Job Prospects

    Medical assistants who earn certification may have better job prospects.

    Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
    Percent Numeric

    SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

    Medical assistants

    31-9092 560,800 723,700 29 162,900 [XLS]

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