Pursuing a career in the medical field can be an extremely rewarding experience. Deciding which position is the best for you can help you direct your skills and passion to lead you to success. These are just four of the many medical careers that will allow you to change people’s lives for the better.

EMT or Paramedic

EMTs and paramedics both provide emergency medical care. The difference between the two careers is that EMTs are trained to provide basic and intermediate medical care, while paramedics perform extensive emergency medical treatment to patients before the patient arrives at the hospital. Both EMTs and paramedics must finish high school or the equivalent, be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and earn a license. Licensing requirements vary depending on the state in which they work. Paramedics generally need at least 1,200 hours of medical training, and training programs may award an associate’s degree.

Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) work under the direct supervision of physical therapists, who are professionals with at least a master’s degree. PTAs help people who’ve had accidents or injuries recovery from their injuries, manage their pain, and regain movement they may have temporarily lost. To become a PTA, you’ll have to earn an associate’s degree that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. You’ll also need either a license or professional certification, depending on the state you work in, but all states have some form of licensing.

Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) work under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors to provide basic medical care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, and other settings. Some companies, like Ameristaff Nursing Services, know that if you become an LVN or LPN you might work as an at-home nurse for the elderly or for others who need basic medical attention in their private homes. Educational programs for LPNs and LVNs typically award a post-secondary diploma or certificate and take around a year to complete. Once you complete the program, you’ll have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) to get your license. Depending on the employer you want to work for, you may also need training in CPR.

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Surgical Technologist

Also known as operating room technicians, surgical technologists prepare operating rooms before an operation, get the surgeon’s tools ready, and assist the surgeon during the procedure. Most surgical technologists work in hospitals. To become a surgical technologist, you’ll generally have to complete a 2-year post-secondary program that could award an associate’s degree, certificate, or post-secondary diploma. Certification laws vary according to state, but some states require professional certification.

Becoming an EMT, paramedic, physical therapy assistant, LPN, LVN, or surgical technologist will allow you to work with patients, help improve their health, and contribute to a better quality of life for them. In each of these careers, you can even save lives in different ways. None of them require education beyond an associate’s degree, so you can train for these careers in two years or less if you have a high school diploma or its equivalent.