by Morgan Christian
Maybe you’ve seen the Dallas Morning News story about Dolores Diaz, a Parkland Hospital nurse from West Dallas whose team is running three of the largest drive-through coronavirus testing sites in North Texas. Or you might have read about the UNT Health Science Center graduate students who are gaining invaluable experience assisting Tarrant County Public Health staff in fighting COVID-19’s spread through contact tracing work.
Perhaps you already had an interest in pursuing a health care career, and in light of current events, you feel even more strongly about that passion. How can you be like Dolores and the UNTHSC students? What does it take to get a job where you can help people stay safe and lead healthy lives?
Here are three of the top 30 best health care jobs of 2020, according to U.S. News & World Report. You may or may not have heard of them before, but guess what? You can take DCCCD classes that will prepare you for each career path. And if you have your heart set on being a doctor or nurse, you can still always take biology or nursing classes, too.
Top Health Care Jobs of 2020
- Occupational Therapist (No. 17)
- Occupational therapists help patients with disabilities or who have been injured with daily life tasks. For example, an occupational therapist might teach someone who was in an accident how to use a wheelchair properly. Occupational therapists can also work with children, assisting them in adapting to different school environments.
- Median salary: $84,270
- DCCCD Program: Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Mountain View College. This four-semester program culminates in an Occupational Therapy Assistant associate degree. Graduates are eligible to sit for a national exam to become a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA).
- Respiratory Therapist (No. 19)
- Respiratory therapists examine and care for patients with heart, lung and breathing problems. They can even help people in emergencies during heart attacks or strokes. This job’s one-on-one approach to care can be especially rewarding for compassionate people who enjoy connecting with others.
- Median salary: $60,280
- DCCCD Program: Respiratory Care program at El Centro College. Although admission to this 13-month program is competitive, the high demand for respiratory therapists means your job prospects will be good upon graduation. Classes take place in El Centro’s Center for Allied Health and Nursing, which has some of the most advanced equipment available to teach health care students.
- Radiation Therapist (No. 29)
- Radiation therapists do more than take X-rays — they also know how to use CAT scans and other imaging technologies to make sure patients are accurately positioned when receiving radiation therapy. Radiation therapists also use their technical knowledge to administer the right doses of radiation to patients. People with this career must keep up with computer technology and radiation safety standards, making it a good option for those who like to learn, even if they aren’t in school.
- Median salary: $82,330
- DCCCD Program: Radiologic Sciences program at Brookhaven and El Centro colleges. Besides an associate degree, the Radiologic Sciences program also offers a Computed Tomography Advanced Technical Certificate and a Vascular Interventional Advanced Technical Certificate. Students are set up for success in a wide range of specializations through clinical rotations in local radiology departments.
Ready to register for classes yet? Combined Summer and Fall registration has opened — here’s a guide with everything you need to know! Still not sure where you want to start? Consider taking Health Professions Readiness or Medical Assisting classes at El Centro for an introduction to a wide range of gratifying and vital health care careers.