health servicesJust when you thought you’d heard enough about hospital-based jobs – here is another pitch for these in-demand fields. You cannot avoid reading about the hiring needs of local health-care systems, and where I live is no exception. I’m guessing the same can be said about where you’re based, too.

I couldn’t help but read with avid interest an article in this past week’s The Detroit Free Press. The medical writer did a great series of stories about the needs of our local hospitals for just about every kind of job. Altogether, the eight largest hospital systems in southeast Michigan said they plan to hire 14,000 people this year alone!

More importantly – and this is the good stuff, Moms in School – a small but significant percentage of those jobs are in brand-new areas. Fields such as information technology, medical billing and technical assistance will be needed as health systems continue their strong growth. The American population is aging, and Michigan in particular is seeing its citizenry going up in age faster than average. So that means someone who studies these three areas has a great chance of getting a great job right out of school. And that means starting life faster, paying bills faster and doing more with your family faster.

Of course, nursing and related fields are very much needed as well. The newspaper found that registered nurses are truly in demand – but you have to have the education to go with such a position to have any chance of getting noticed. One problem of note: Fewer nurses are retiring because of the poor economy, so there may not be as many jobs opening as previously were.

A key aspect to note is how much education is needed for the various fields. A quick scan of what’s out there online as far as health-care education tells you a lot. Check out a site from the Michigan Health Council. The site allows a search by schools offering education as well as training, by career and by time commitment. That last one is great for those of us balancing work, kids and career aspirations. Here is another great site to learn more about nursing and online education.

In just a few clicks, here is a little of what I found:

  • Those with a high-school diploma or training: Check out diagnostic medical sonographer. There are one- to four-year programs out there.
  • Associate’s degree: Dental hygienist; mammographer; health-information technician; health-information coder; occupational, respiratory or physical-therapy assistant; biomedical equipment technician (degree in electronics technology)
  • Bachelor’s degree: clinical-laboratory scientist; registered dietitian; health-information manager; music therapist; public-health inspector; registered nurse; athletic trainer (also needs certification from the National Athletic Association)

So where should you start? Most experts recommend you try shadowing or following someone in the field that you’re interested in. This allows you to experience the day-to-day positives and negatives of the job in real life. (Really, this is essential if you can swing it. If you ever have time, let me tell you the story of my brother-in-law, his law degree and how he ended up hating being a lawyer. Not pretty.)

Also, find someone to talk to about the hospital on a professional and private level. This is where your contacts at LinkedIn or through social media might help. Ask around to find people who already work there – and then see if they’ll let you do an informational interview. This way, you can get the good words and the bad stuff before accepting any job.

Read all of the hospital Web sites that you can. Become familiar not only with the job openings they have, but look to see what kind of benefits they offer, whether they are family-friendly and how they present themselves to the public.

Finally, get your resume up to date. If you need some help, check out some of the other blog posts we’ve done here. Most people will tell you to give lots of great examples of how you helped other employers, and to let the resume run as long as it needs to so you can tell your full story.

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