Careers

Medical Doctor

CAREER PROFILE

 

Duties: Helping patients attain and maintain good health; examining patients; diagnosing and treating patients’ illnesses

Alternate Title(s): Doctor; M.D.; Physician

Salary Range: $75,000 to $400,000+

Employment Prospects: Excellent

Advancement Prospects: Good

Best Geographical Location(s): Positions are located throughout the country.

Prerequisites:

Education or Training - Medical school, including internship; residency required to specialize

Experience - Internship

Special Skills and Personality Traits - Compassion; emotional stability; good judgment; caring; diagnostic skills

Special Requirements - Physicians must be licensed by states in which they practice.

CAREER LADDER

Specialist or Physician with a Larger Practice

Medical Doctor

Student

Position Description

Medical Doctors have a large number of responsibilities and duties. Their main functions are helping patients attain and maintain good health.
Medical Doctors are also referred to as physicians, doctors of medicine, or M.D.’s.

M.D.’s may specialize in a variety of fields. I f the specialty is general or family practice, pediatrics or internal medicine, the M.D. will often be the patient’s primary care physician.

Many Medical Doctors choose a specialty. Patients are often referred to these doctors by primary care physicians. Specialties include, but are not limited to, allergies, cardiovascular medicine, dermatology, gastroenterology, pulmonary medicine, surgery, pathology, radiology, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, plastic surgery, homeopathy, and emergency medicine.

A physician or Medical Doctor’s responsibilities depend to a great extent on the individual’s specialty. Similar duties exist among all specialties. For example, all physicians examine patients. They are also expected to talk to patients to determine what symptoms and problems exist. Individuals may recommend, order, and perform a variety of diagnostic tests. I f the physician is a general practitioner, he or she may refer a patient to a specialist to diagnose or treat specific conditions. Specialists have more specific duties depending on their line of work.

After a patient’s illness has been diagnosed, the physician must prescribe a course of treatment. This may include medication, surgery, or various therapies.

Physicians often help patients stay in good health with preventive medicine. This can include examinations, immunizations, or advice on exercise and diet.

As part of their job, physicians answer patients’ questions regarding their health or a medical procedure. Medical Doctors are also expected to answer questions of patients’ family members when necessary.

Medical Doctors usually work long hours. They may be on call for a variety of emergencies and are often involved in life-and-death situations.
While this type of work can be stressful, the ability to help others is very rewarding and fulfilling to most individuals in this profession.

Salaries

Medical Doctors can earn $75,000 to $400,000 or more. Earnings vary greatly depending on a number of variables. These include the specific type of work setting and its geographic location. Other factors include the specialty, experience, responsibilities, and professional reputation of the individual.

Employment Prospects

Employment prospects for Medical Doctors are excellent. A doctor can start his or her own practice, become a partner, or be an employee in a hospital, health care facility, nursing home, prison, school, college, medical group, HMO, urgi-center, surgi-center, clinic or public health center. (See glossary for definitions of urgi-center and surgi-center.)

Advancement Prospects

Advancement prospects for Medical Doctors are based on the paths they take. Some physicians climb the career ladder by obtaining additional education and specializing. Others go into private practice. Some individuals build up their professional reputation and obtain a large roster of patients. This results in increased earnings.

Still others go into research or teaching as a method of advancing their careers. Physicians working in hospitals can also become medical directors.

Education and Training

It takes a great deal of education and time to become a Medical Doctor. Individuals must complete at least three years of college before entering medical school. The medical programs are four years long. There are schools throughout the country offering a combined medical school program that lasts only six years.

Competition for admittance into medical school is fierce. Individuals must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Selection criteria include exam scores, college grades, letters of recommendation, interviews, and participation in extracurricular activities.

Individuals must also take and pass an exam offered by the National Board of Medical Examiners while still in school.

Even more training is required for those who want to specialize or be board certified in a specialty. This training can take up to five years in a residency program. T hose aspiring to be board certified must also take and pass another exam.

Special Requirements

M.D.’s must be licensed in states in which they practice. To become licensed, physicians must graduate from an accredited medical school and pass a licensing examination. Some states have reciprocity, allowing physicians licensed in one state to practice in another state without having to pass additional exams. Other states limit reciprocity.

Medical Doctors may obtain voluntary board certification in one or more specialties. I n order to become board certified, individuals must generally go through additional training in the form of a residency in their specialty and take and pass a number of exams given by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS). The A BMS represents 24 specialty boards. Some physicians also become certified in sub specialties that require further training.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

M.D.’s must be very compassionate, caring people. Successful doctors have a good bedside manner. A s they will often be dealing with life-and-death situations, individuals should have excellent judgment and the ability to work under stress and pressure. Emotional stability is essential. Stamina is mandatory when working long hours.
Physicians must have good diagnostic skills. Scientific aptitude is necessary. Individuals should be organized and detail oriented. Communications skills are also needed.

Unions and Associations

Aspiring physicians can obtain additional career information by contacting the American Medical Association (AMA) or the American Medical College (AMC).

Tips for Entry

1. If you are beginning to build a practice, consider participating at local health fairs. This is a good way for people in the community to get to know you.

2. Offer to speak to local civic groups and nonprofit organizations. This is another way people in the area can get to know you.

3. Many schools contract out for physicians.

4. Rural areas needing doctors will often help pay for medical school if you make a contract to return to the area and work for a certain number of years.

5. It is easier to build a practice in less populated areas that do not have a great many physicians.

Registered Nurse

Principal activity: Providing skilled nursing care for sick patients
Work commitment: Usually full-time
Preprofessional education: High school diploma
Program length: 2 to 4 years
Work prerequisites: Diploma/degree/license
Career opportunities: Very favorable
Income range: $35,000 to $65,000

Scope
Patients often judge a hospital's quality by the nursing care they receive. This demonstrates the importance of this strongly people-oriented profession, which focuses on health recovery and maintenance. The field provides an opportunity for service in a wide range of settings and specialties and offers a high degree of career satisfaction. Registered nurses are directly responsible for carrying out treatment plans that have been ordered by physicians. This requires a combination of technical skills and knowledge of nursing procedures, along with an understanding of expected results.

Activities
Because nursing covers a broad spectrum of situations, we'll discuss its activities in terms of both hospital and nonhospital work settings.

In Hospitals
Hospital nurses determine patients' care needs in light of a physician's medical treatment plan. Based on their assessments, nurses formulate and execute care plans and then evaluate their effectiveness. These plans must provide for the patients' medical and physical needs. Nurses also lend emotional support that can facilitate the recovery and rehabilitation process. Because nurses are in close contact with patients for extended periods, they can provide valuable insights into their progress. Nurses document patients' charts and help prepare them for activities after discharge. A registered nurse may supervise LPNs and other junior nursing staff members.
- Private-duty nurses provide exclusive care for individual patients in a hospital or in their homes. These nurses are self-employed.
- Operating room nurses provide care before, during, and immediately after surgery. They help prepare patients for surgery, directly assist surgeons and other team physicians by providing them with needed instruments and supplies, and check on the postoperative state of patients. This area has various specialties, such as orthopedic, cardiac, and thoracic surgery nurses.
- Critical-care nurses care for patients who are in life-threatening situations. Their special training qualifies them to provide complicated nursing support services, recognize physiological changes in patients' conditions, and operate sophisticated medical equipment.
- Rehabilitation nurses serve both adults and children suffering from a reduction in their optimal functional potential due to accidents, birth defects, or diseases. They provide a variety of treatments, exercises, and emotional support that help their patients regain lost function and adapt to permanent disabilities. To prepare for this specialty, candidates must complete a post-RN course or a master's degree in rehabilitation nursing.
- Clinical nurse specialists hold advanced degrees (usually a master's) with specialized training. Their areas of expertise may be cancer, cardiac, neonatal, or mental health care. They may be directly involved in the delivery of nursing services as well as in education, administrative, or consultative activities. They also work in nonhospital settings.
- Advanced-practice nurses are highly trained specialists with one of four professional titles: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Practitioner, or Nurse Midwife.

Outside Hospitals
- Office nurses work for physicians in all specialties as well as for dental surgeons, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners. They may perform routine laboratory tests and administrative functions.
- School nurses are engaged by boards of education to provide health and nursing services in individual schools or school districts. They provide emergency medical care, help administer physical exams, communicate with parents about students' physical and emotional problems, ensure that state health codes (especially regarding immunization) are implemented, and advise school constituencies on health issues.
- Community health nurses provide services to patients in nonhospital settings such as clinics, schools, and private homes. They teach groups about maintaining a healthy environment, proper nutrition, and preventive health measures. They also carry out physicians' plans and provide care for ambulatory patients. In addition, they initiate public-health programs that encourage immunization and provide information on alcohol, drugs, and infectious diseases.
- Occupational health nurses are engaged by corporations, factories, and government agencies to provide nursing care for their employees. This care may include treating minor diseases and injuries, providing physical examinations, and educating workers about health issues.
- Nurse educators typically are faculty members of nursing schools. They assist in the training of nurses and teach continuing education courses.

Work Settings
Registered nurses have a very wide choice of work settings and their services are in demand. These include hospitals of different types, nursing homes, schools, community health centers, public health offices, and industrial facilities.

Advancement
With additional experience and training, a registered nurse may move into a supervisory, management, or administrative position such as head nurse. Other potential directions for advancement include specialty training, especially in one of the advanced-practice nursing specialties.

Prerequisites
To gain admission to a nursing education program, candidates must have a high school diploma (or its equivalent) with a minimum C average.
Those entering this field should have good physical and emotional health, compassion, patience, a team-player mentality, and the ability to assume challenging medical responsibilities.

Education/Training
There are three educational routes to becoming a registered nurse:
- Two-year associate degree programs offered by community, junior, and technical colleges.
- Three-year diploma programs offered by hospitals.
- Four-year bachelor's degree programs offered by colleges and universities. These usually award the bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN) degree.
All three of these programs involve both classroom course work and supervised nursing practice. The basic curriculum is the same for each, but the programs vary in depth and scope, depending on the program's length. The basic courses cover anatomy, physiology, sociology, English, psychology, philosophy, microbiology, and nursing concepts and techniques. Those pursuing a bachelor's degree must also take courses in precalculus, chemistry (both general and organic), biology, anthropology, and epidemiology, as well as several advanced nursing courses. Within the bachelor's program there may be special tracks leading to specialty training, such as community health or school nursing. For some specialties, a master's degree is essential.

Certification/Registration/Licensure
A nursing license is required in every state. Candidates obtain their license by passing a written state board examination after graduating from an accredited nursing school.

Career Potential
Recent decades have seen fluctuations in job opportunities for nurses. Consequently, projecting future opportunities with certainty is challenging. However, current projections are that employment of registered nurses is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through 2012, and many jobs will result. The major factor is the change currently underway in the health-care system, especially in light of the growing population of elderly citizens. Most experts believe that, once the nature of health-care management has stabilized, job opportunities probably will be favorable. (See the 'Career Potential' discussion for Silver Spring, MD 20910 (http://www.nursingworld.org), or the National League for Nursing, 61 Broadway, New York, NY 10006 (http://www.nln.org"]www.nln.org).

Specialty Nursing Organizations
Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association
(National Flight Nurses Association)
9101 E. Kenyon Ave., Ste. 3000
Denver, CO 80237
http://www.astna.org/

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
P.O. Box 12846
Austin, TX 78711
http://www.aanp.org/

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
101 Columbia
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
http://www.aacn.org/

American Association of Neuroscience Nurses
4700 W. Lake Ave.
Glenview, IL 60025
http://www.aann.org/

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
222 S. Prospect Ave.
Park Ridge, IL 60068
http://www.aana.com/

American Association of Nurse Attorneys
7794 Grow Dr.
Pensacola, FL 32514
http://www.taana.org/

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
2920 Brandywine Rd., Ste. 100
Atlanta, GA 30341
http://www.aaohn.org/

American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses
75-20 Astoria Blvd.
Jackson Heights, NY 11370
http://www.aascin.org/

American College of Nurse Midwives
8403 Colesville Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
http://www.midwife.org/

American College of Nurse Practitioners
1111 19th St. NW,
Ste. 404
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.nurse.org/acnp/

American Nephrology Nurses Association
E. Holly Ave., Box 56
Pitman, NJ 08071
http://www.annanurse.org/

American Nurses Association
8515 Georgia Ave.,
Ste. 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910
http://www.nursingworld.org/

American Organization of Nurse Executives
Liberty Place
325 Seventh St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
http://www.aone.org/

American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses
P.O. Box 193030
San Francisco, CA 94119
http://webeye.ophth.uiowa.edu/asorn/

American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses
3220 Pointe Pkwy., Ste. 500
Atlanta, GA 30092
http://www.aspsn.org/

American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses
10 Melrose Ave., Ste. 110
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
http://www.aspan.org/

American Urological Association
(for urological nurses)
1000 Corporate Blvd.
Linthicum, MD 21090
http://www.auanet.org/

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
1275 K St., Ste. 1000
Washington, DC 20005
http://www.apic.org/

Association of Operating Room Nurses, Inc.
2170 S. Parker Rd., Ste. 300
Denver, CO 80231
http://www.aorn.org/

Association of Rehabilitation Nurses
4700 W. Lake Ave.
Glenview, IL 60025
http://www.rehabnurse.org/

Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
2000 L St. NW, Ste. 740
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.awhonn.org/

Council on Cardiovascular Nursing
American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75231
http://www.americanheart.org/

Dermatology Nurses Association
E. Holly Ave., Box 56
Pitman, NJ 08071
http://www.dnanurse.org/

Emergency Nurses Association
915 Lee St.
Des Plaines, IL 60016
http://www.ena.org/

International Nurses Society on Addictions
P.O. Box 10752
Raleigh, NC 27605
http://www.intnsa.org/

National Association for Practical
Nurse Education and Service, Inc.
P.O. Box 25647
Alexandria, VA 22313
http://www.napnes.org/

National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses
401 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 2200
Chicago, IL 60611
http://www.orthonurse.org/

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
20 Brace Rd., Ste. 200
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
http://www.napnap.org/

National Association of School Nurses
P.O. Box 1300
Scarborough, ME 04070
http://www.nasn.org/

National League for Nursing
61 Broadway
New York, NY 10006
http://www.nln.org/

Oncology Nursing Society
125 Enterprise Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
http://www.ons.org/

Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head/ Neck Nurses, Inc.
116 Canal St., Ste. A
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
http://www.sohnthehealthscience.com/

Director of Hospital Marketing

CAREER PROFILE

Duties: Developing and implementing programs to increase use of hospital; developing profit-making programs in facility; performing research

Alternate Title(s): Marketing Director; Director of Marketing

Salary Range: $35,000 to $175,000 (In USD as of Apr 6, 2015)

Employment Prospects: Fair

Advancement Prospects: Fair

Best Geographical Location(s): Positions available throughout the country

Prerequisites:

Education or Training - Bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations, communications, journalism, advertising, business, or health care planning

Experience - Marketing and writing experience helpful

Special Skills and Personality Traits - Communication skills; supervisory and management skills; writing skills; creativity; public speaking ability
 

CAREER LADDER   Director of Hospital Marketing in Larger or More Prestigious Facility, Hospital Administrator, or Marketing Consultant   Director of Hospital Marketing   Assistant Director of Hospital Marketing   IMAGE(https://thehealthscience.com/sites/default/files/organizational-structure-for-a-midsized-hospital.jpg)

Position Description

The Director of Hospital Marketing is responsible for the development and implementation of programs used to increase the use of the facility. The individual is also responsible for developing reimbursable and/or profit-making programs and activities in the facility.

The director of marketing is expected to come up with both long- and short-term marketing objectives and strategies. These might include planning special campaigns or other programs. For example, the director of marketing may develop a special geriatric program designed to attract older individuals in the area. The marketing director might also develop a special program designed to attract women to the facility. The individual might suggest new services for the facility or recommend other ways to open new markets for the hospital.

In order to develop programs that will be well received, the marketing director must do a great deal of research. He or she must evaluate the trends in hospital usage as well as the services that are utilized. The individual may also do research regarding the needs of the community. T his may be done through surveys, interviews, and studies in the community and with physicians in the area. I n some cases, market research companies are hired to conduct this research. After research is completed, the marketing director must review and evaluate the information and make necessary changes in the marketing strategies being used.

In some facilities, the director of marketing may be expected to develop brochures, posters, press releases, flyers, and radio, television, and print ads to publicize services in the hospital. I n other job settings, he or she may work with the development, public relations, and advertising departments to create an advertising campaign. The marketing director may also be expected to determine the viability of hospital services and determine the selling points of the facility. He or she must then formulate advertising themes, slogans, and logos.

Other responsibilities of the hospital marketing director may include preparing department budgets, developing presentations for administration and/or the hospital board, and making sure the staff is aware of hospital services.

The Director of Hospital Marketing works long hours. This is not usually a nine-to-five job. He or she may be expected to attend meetings and represent the hospital at functions for staff or the community. There are always extra projects that must be attended to, deadlines to meet, or emergencies that must be handled. However, for many in this position, watching a facility grow and flourish is very rewarding.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Marketing & Partnerships

* Lead the development of the traditional marketing and media plan, in partnership with the Digital team, to develop comprehensive marketing plans for Mount Sinai Health System hospitals, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Strategic Partnerships, and priority service lines.

* Assist with the development and execution of integrated marketing strategies to differentiate Mount Sinai Health System from its competitors.

* Serve as project lead in collateral materials development for departments as needed.

* Provide marketing analysis and recommendations on partner, affiliate, sponsorships, and vendor contracts throughout MSHS that include marketing elements or branding and promotion considerations.

* Provide marketing, advertising and project management for Strategic Partnerships and assist in the supervision of the Strategic Partnerships Coordinator.

Advertising & Creative

* Serve as the primary contact for the MSHS advertising agency.

* Manage day-to-day activities and calendars to ensure deliverables meet Mount Sinai objectives and timelines.

* Provide strategic and tactical guidance and resources as needed for Digital and Creative teams.

* Approve and ensure branding guidelines are followed from projects developed outside the Marketing Department.

* Write copy for ads, collateral, web (sometimes) for priority projects and service lines as needed.

* Work with the Creative Director to manage advertising, collateral, and communications projects.

Research & Analysis

* Generate in-depth analyses of US News Top Rankings data. Track and identify ranking advancement opportunities.

* Conduct market research and analysis, competitive intelligence, and market segmentation and coordinate with Digital Team to recommend appropriate traditional and digital marketing strategies and tactics.

* Perform market valuation of proposed initiatives and/or strategic partnerships and identify best practices and relevant, effective models.

Administrative & Staffing

* Direct supervision, management, and training of Central Traditional Marketing team members.

* Dotted-line strategic and creative supervision of embedded Marketing & Communications Managers in developing collateral, ads and media plans.

* Build, manage, motivate, and develop a team with the capacity to successfully implement traditional marketing initiatives.

* Perform staff management functions for direct reports including goal setting, oversee staff development, training, recruitment, screening, interviewing, and retention.

* Manage creative and media agency relationships and assess new vendor capabilities.

* Maintain relevant database, tracking systems, and outcomes measures.

Operations & Finance

* Ensure integration and collaboration among Marketing, Digital, Communications and PR initiatives to effectively coordinate and implement operational activities.

* Oversee the review of all purchase orders, RFPs, contract terms and conditions, pricing, and proposal preparation and submission.

* Develop annual and interim budgets for fiscal planning.

* Track and maintain budget spending.

* Review and secure approvals for media insertions and invoices. Manage creative production of ad campaigns, copy writing, and design for department projects to be completed on time and within budget.

* Develop, update, and maintain annual Traditional Marketing Project Calendar.

* Initiate Legal, Compliance, and/or Development review of marketing projects as needed.

Salaries Salaries for the Director of Hospital Marketing can vary greatly depending on the size, location, and prestige of the hospital as well as the experience, education, and responsibilities of the individual.

Annual earnings can begin at $35,000 and go up to $175,000 or more. Generally, individuals with more experience or those working at larger facilities in metropolitan areas will have earnings at the higher end of the scale.

IMAGE(https://thehealthscience.com/sites/default/files/salaries%20of%20related%20positions.gif)

Employment Prospects

Employment prospects for Directors of Hospital Marketing are fair. Individuals may find employment throughout the country in hospitals or other health care facilities. Individuals seeking this type of position might have to relocate to find a job.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement prospects are fair for individuals with experience. The Director of Hospital Marketing can climb the career ladder by locating a similar position in a larger or more prestigious facility. T his will result in increased responsibilities and earnings. Some individuals advance their careers by striking out on their own and doing consulting in the field of marketing.

Education and Training

Individuals seeking a position in the marketing department of a hospital or other health care facility are usually required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Majors should be in marketing, public relations, communications, journalism, advertising, business, or health care planning. A n advanced degree is often helpful. Seminars and workshops in marketing, public relations, health care planning, and writing are also beneficial.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

The Director of Hospital Marketing often has experience as an assistant in marketing, public relations, or planning prior to obtaining this position. Any marketing experience will be useful.

The Director of Hospital Marketing needs excellent communication skills, both verbal and written. Supervisory and management skills are needed as well. The ability to define and analyze problems in a logical, clear, and concise manner and perform research is essential. Public speaking ability is often required.

Creativity is necessary to be successful in this field. A knowledge of graphics, typography, photography, and layout is also necessary for the development of advertising materials.

Unions and Associations

The Director of Hospital Marketing may belong to the American Marketing Association (AMA), the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development of the American Hospital Association. These groups all provide career guidance and professional support.

Tips for Entry

1. Join trade associations. They are useful in making contacts, networking, and finding jobs. Their trade journals often have job listings. Associations also may know of internships.

2. Look for internships in hospitals or other health care facilities.

3. There are a number of employment agencies and search firms dealing specifically with marketing and other communications positions. Consider using one to help you locate a job.

4. There are also agencies dealing specifically in health care. Whichever type of agency you consider, make sure you check to see who will pay the fee when you get a job, you or the employer.

5. Jobs are often advertised in the classified section of the newspaper. Look under “Marketing,” “Hospitals,” “Director of Hospital Marketing,” “Health Care,” etc.

Osteopathic Doctor

CAREER PROFILE

Duties: Helping patients attain and maintain good health; examining patients; diagnosing and treating patients’ illnesses

Alternate Title(s): Doctor; D.O., Doctor of Osteopathy; Physician; Osteopath Salary Range: $75,000 to $400,000+

Employment Prospects: Excellent

Advancement Prospects: Good

Best Geographical Location(s): Positions may be located throughout the country.

Prerequisites: Education or Training - Osteopathic school including internship

Experience - Rotating internship required

Special Skills and Personality Traits - Compassion; emotional stability; good judgment; caring; diagnostic skills

Special Requirements - Osteopathic Doctors must be licensed in states in which they practice. Certain states have reciprocity. Osteopathic Doctor’s may seek voluntary board certification in one or more specialities.

CAREER LADDER

Specialist or Physician with a Larger Practice >> Osteopathic Doctor >> Student

Position Description

Osteopathic Doctors have a large number of responsibilities and duties. Their main functions are helping patients attain and maintain good health. Osteopathic Doctors are also referred to as physicians, Doctors of osteopathy, or D.O.’s. Doctors of osteopathy (D.O.’s) and medical doctors (M.D.’s) both utilize all accepted methods of treatment when caring for patients. These may include drugs and surgery. However, when treating patients, D.O.’s place an emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system. Their beliefs note that a person requires the proper alignment of bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves in order to reach optimum health. In many cases, the D.O. is a patient’s primary care physician. Doctors of osteopathy may also specialize in a variety of fields including family practice, pediatrics, internal medicine, emergency medicine, cardiovascular medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, homeopathy, and so on. A doctor of osteopathy’s responsibilities depend to a great extent on his or her specialty. Similar duties exist among all physicians. For example, all doctors examine patients, and they are also expected to talk to patients to determine what symptoms and problems exist. They may recommend, order, and perform a variety of diagnostic tests. If the D.O. is a general practitioner, he or she may refer a patient to a specialist to diagnose or treat specific conditions. Specialists have more specific duties depending on their line of work. After a patient’s illness has been diagnosed, the physician must prescribe a course of treatment. This may include medication, surgery, or various therapies. Osteopathic physicians often perform body work or body manipulations as part of their patient’s healing regime. T his process may have an effect on various body parts, including the patient’s bone structure, ligaments, and nerve structure. This is helpful in treating the “whole patient.” D.O.’s believe that if the body is aligned, patients will heal faster and be healthier. Physicians often help patients stay in good health with preventive medicine. This can include examinations, immunizations, or advice on exercise and diet. As part of their job, physicians answer patients’ questions regarding their health or a medical procedure. Osteopathic doctors are also expected to answer the questions of patients’ family members when necessary. Osteopathic Doctors usually work long hours. They may be on call for a variety of emergencies and are often involved in life-and-death situations. While this type of work can be stressful, the ability to help others is very rewarding and fulfilling to most individuals in this profession.

Salaries

Osteopathic Doctors can earn $75,000 to $400,000 or more. Earnings vary greatly depending on the specific type of work setting and its geographic location. Other factors include the specialty, experience, responsibilities, and professional reputation of the individual.

Employment Prospects

Employment Prospects for Osteopathic Doctors are excellent. A n individual can either start his or her own practice, become a partner or be an employee in a hospital, health care facility, nursing home, prison, school, college, medical group, HMO, urgi-center, surgi-center, clinic or public health center.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement Prospects for Osteopathic Doctors are based on the career paths they take. Some climb the career ladder by obtaining additional education and specializing. Others go into private practice. Some individuals build up their professional reputation and obtain a large roster of patients. This results in increased earnings. Still others go into research or teaching as a method of advancing their careers. Osteopathic physicians working in hospitals can also become medical directors.

Education and Training

It takes a great deal of education and time to become an Osteopathic Doctor. Individuals must complete at least three years of college before entering osteopathic school. T he osteopathic programs are four years long. Competition for admittance into osteopathic school is fierce. There are a limited number of schools in the country. Individuals must take an admission exam prior to being accepted. Selection criteria include the scores of the exam, college grades, letters of recommendation, interviews, and participation in extracurricular activities. Individuals must also take and pass an exam offered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners while still in school. After finishing osteopathic school, D.O.’s go through 12 months of rotating internships. Even more training is required for those who want to specialize or be board certified in a specialty. This training can take up to five years in a residency program. T hose aspiring to be board certified must also take and pass another exam.

Special Requirements

D.O.’s must be licensed in states in which they practice. To become licensed doctors of osteopathy must graduate from an accredited osteopathic medical college and pass a licensing examination. Some states have reciprocity allowing osteopathic physicians licensed in one state to get a license to practice in another state without passing additional exams. Other states limit reciprocity. Osteopathic Doctors may obtain voluntary board certification in one or more specialties. In order to become board certified, individuals must generally go through additional training in the form of a residency in their specialty and take and pass a number of exams given by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). The AOA has approved 18 specialty boards. Some osteopathic doctors also become certified in subspecialties which require further training.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Osteopaths must be very compassionate, caring people. Successful doctors have a good bedside manner. A s they may be dealing with life-and-death situations, individuals should have excellent judgment and the ability to work under stress and pressure. Emotional stability is essential. Stamina is mandatory when working long hours. Osteopathic physicians must have good diagnostic skills. Scientific aptitude is necessary. Individuals should be organized and detail oriented. Communication skills are also needed. The ability to perform manipulations is mandatory.

Unions and Associations

Aspiring Osteopathic Doctors can obtain additional career information by contacting the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

Tips for Entry

1. If you are beginning to build a practice, consider participating at local health fairs. This is a good way for people in the community to get to know you.

2. Offer to speak to local civic groups and nonprofit organizations. This is another way to get and keep yourself in the public eye.

3. Many schools contract out for physicians.

4. Rural areas needing doctors will often help pay for medical school if you make a contract to return to the area and work for a certain number of years.

5. It is easier to build a practice in less populated areas that do not have a great many physicians.

Dietitian

Summary

Principal activity: Planning appropriate nutritional diets and providing nutritional education to maintain healthWork commitment: Part- or full-time
Preprofessional: education High school diploma
Program length: years
Work prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in dietetics or related field on nutrition
Career opportunities: Quite favorable
Income range: $30,000 to $65,000

Quick Facts: Dietitians and Nutritionists 2012

2012 Median Pay: $55,240 per year ($26.56 per hour)

Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
On-the-job Training: Internship/residency
Number of Jobs, 2012: 67,400
Job Outlook, 2012-22: 21% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22: 14,200

What Dietitians and Nutritionists Do

Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition. They advise people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal.

Duties

Dietitians and nutritionists typically do the following:

 

  • Assess patients’ and clients’ health needs and diet
  • Counsel patients on nutrition issues and healthy eating habits
  • Develop meal plans, taking both cost and clients’ preferences into account
  • Evaluate the effects of meal plans and change the plans as needed
  • Promote better nutrition by speaking to groups about diet, nutrition, and the relationship between good eating habits and preventing or managing specific diseases
  • Keep up with the latest nutritional science research
  • Write reports to document patient progress

Dietitians and nutritionists evaluate the health of their clients. Based on their findings, dietitians and nutritionists advise clients on which foods to eat—and those foods to avoid—to improve their health.

Some dietitians and nutritionists provide customized information for specific individuals. For example, a dietitian or nutritionist might teach a client with high blood pressure how to use less salt when preparing meals. Others work with groups of people who have similar needs. For example, a dietitian or nutritionist might plan a diet with limited fat and sugar to help patients lose weight. They may work with other healthcare professionals to coordinate patient care.

Dietitians and nutritionists who are self-employed may meet with patients, or they may work as consultants for a variety of organizations. They may need to spend time on marketing and other business-related tasks, such as scheduling appointments and preparing informational materials for clients.

Although many dietitians and nutritionists do similar tasks, there are several specialties within the occupations. The following are examples of types of dietitians and nutritionists:

Scope

Dietitians are professionals who provide advice on nutritional food selection and preparation. They both plan and supervise preparation and serving of foods suitable for specific dietary needs. Their activities promote proper eating habits to enhance health. After scientifically evaluating their clients’ diets, dietitians offer suggestions for modifications and improvements. They are knowledgeable about the most appropriate diets to maintain health and prevent disease at different phases of life and about what dietary modifications will improve certain health conditions.

Activities

There are seven distinct areas of dietetic practice:

Clinical dietitians work in health-care institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. They evaluate patients’ nutritional needs, formulate and implement appropriate nutritional programs, and assess and report results. To coordinate medical and nutritional needs, dietitians confer with physicians and other healthcare providers. They provide patients and their families with detailed instructions on maintaining a proper diet upon discharge from the hospital. Within this general area there are several subspecialties: For example, some dietitians deal only with overweight or critically ill patients. In small hospitals or clinics, dietitians may be responsible for managing all food services.

Community dietitians, also known as nutritionists, advise both individuals and groups about proper nutritional practices that enhance health and prevent diseases. Those who work in clinics, nursing homes, HMOs, hospitals, and home care agencies evaluate facilities, develop nutritional care plans, and teach clients and their families about nutrition. They also advise health-care agencies on food shopping and preparation for the elderly and the chronically ill. Because of current public interest in nutrition, these professionals are now finding employment with food manufacturers and in advertising and marketing agencies, where they analyze foods and prepare literature on nutritional content and other health related issues.

Management dietitians supervise large-scale meal planning in long-term healthcare facilities, restaurants, companies, hotels, schools, colleges, and prisons. Typically, they have a wide range of duties and responsibilities, including hiring and training food-preparation workers, purchasing food and equipment, enforcing safety and sanitary conditions, and developing budgets.

Dietetic educators are primarily involved in teaching dietetic principles at colleges, health-care facilities, and community centers.

Research dietitians typically hold advanced degrees (i.e., a master’s degree or Ph.D.) that enable them to undertake research studies at medical centers, government agencies, and educational facilities. Their work may involve developing and evaluating new nutritional approaches to treating diseases.

Consulting dietitians provide a variety of services for health-care facilities. Typically, they work in private practice or under contract for others. They perform nutrition screening and offer advice on weight loss, cholesterol reduction, and diabetes management.

Business dietitians technically are not health-care providers, but they do work in dietary planning and so are worth mentioning here. They work in private industry, advising companies on purchasing, food development, marketing, advertising, and sales.

Work Environment

Dietitians and nutritionists held about 67,400 jobs in 2012.
Dietitians and nutritionists work in hospitals, nursing homes, cafeterias, and schools. The industries that employed the most dietitians and nutritionists in 2012 were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private31%Government13Nursing and residential care facilities9Offices of health practitioners7Outpatient care centers7

About 11 percent of dietitians and nutritionists were self-employed in 2012. Self-employed dietitians and nutritionists work as consultants who provide advice to individual clients, or they work for healthcare establishments on a contract basis.

Work Schedules

Most dietitians and nutritionists worked full time in 2012, although about 1 out of 5 worked part time. Self-employed dietitians have more flexibility in setting their schedules. They may work evenings and weekends so that they can meet with clients.

How to Become a Dietitian or Nutritionist

Most dietitians and nutritionists have a bachelor’s degree and receive supervised training through an internship or as a part of their coursework. Many states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed.
Education

Most dietitians and nutritionists have a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food service systems management, clinical nutrition, or a related area. Programs include courses in nutrition, psychology, chemistry, and biology.
Many dietitians and nutritionists also have advanced degrees.
Training

Dietitians and nutritionists typically receive several hundred hours of supervised training, usually in the form of an internship following graduation from college. Some dietetics schools offer Coordinated Programs in Dietetics that allow students to complete supervised training as part of their undergraduate or graduate-level coursework.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed. Other states require only state registration or certification, and a few states have no regulations for this occupation.
The requirements for state licensure and state certification vary by state, but most include having a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition or a related area, supervised practice, and passing an exam.
Many dietitians choose to earn the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. Although the RDN is not always required, the qualifications are often the same as those necessary to become a licensed dietitian in states that require a license. Many employers prefer or require the RDN, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The RDN requires dietitian nutritionists to complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a Dietetic Internship Program. Students may complete both criteria at once through a Coordinated Program, or they may finish coursework requirements before applying for an internship. These programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In order to maintain the RDN credential, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists must complete continuing professional education requirements.
Nutritionists may earn the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential to show an advanced level of knowledge. The CNS credential is accepted in many states for licensure purposes. To qualify for the CNS exam, applicants must have a master’s or doctoral degree and 1,000 hours of experience. The credential is administered by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists.
Dietitians and nutritionists may seek additional certifications in an area of specialty such as sports or pediatric nutrition.
Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must keep up to date with the latest nutrition research. They should be able to interpret scientific studies and translate nutrition science into practical eating advice.
Compassion. Dietitians and nutritionists must be caring and empathetic when helping clients address dietary issues and any related emotions.
Listening skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must listen carefully to understand clients’ goals and concerns. They may also work with other healthcare workers as part of team to improve the health of a patient and need to listen to team members when constructing eating plans.
Organizational skills. Because there are many aspects to the work of dietitians and nutritionists, they should have the ability to stay organized. Management dietitians, for example, must consider both the nutritional needs of their clients and the costs of meals. Self-employed dietitians and nutritionists may need to schedule their appointments and maintain patient files.
Problem-solving skills. They must evaluate the health status of patients and determine the most appropriate food choices for a client to improve overall health or manage a disease.
Speaking skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must explain complicated topics in a way that people with less technical knowledge can understand. They must be able to clearly explain eating plans to clients and to other healthcare professionals involved in a patient’s care.

Pay

The median annual wage for dietitians and nutritionists was $55,240 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 $34,500, and the top 10 percent earned more than $77,590.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the median annual wage for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) was $60,000 in 2013.
Most dietitians and nutritionists worked full time in 2012, although about 1 out of 5 worked part time. Self-employed dietitians have more flexibility in setting their schedules. They may work evenings and weekends so that they can meet with clients.

Job Outlook

Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. In recent years, interest in the role of food in promoting health and wellness has increased, particularly as a part of preventative healthcare in medical settings.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Many diseases, such as diabetes and kidney disease, are associated with obesity. The importance of diet in preventing and treating illnesses is now well known. More dietitians and nutritionists will be needed to provide care for people with these conditions.
As the baby-boom generation grows older and looks for ways to stay healthy, there will be more demand for dietetic services. An aging population also will increase the need for dietitians and nutritionists in nursing homes and in home healthcare.
Job Prospects

Overall, job opportunities for dietitians and nutritionists are expected to be favorable. Dietitians and nutritionists who have earned advanced degrees or certification in a specialty area may enjoy better job prospects.

 

Occupational TitleSOC CodeEmployment, 2012Projected Employment, 2022Change, 2012-22Employment by IndustryPercentNumericSOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections programDietitians and nutritionists29-103167,40081,6002114,200Employment.xls

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of dietitians and nutritionists.

Work Settings

Dietitians can find employment in a broad range of places, especially in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. In addition, federal, state, and local government agencies offer positions in health departments and other health-related sites. Other dietitians find work with social service agencies, residential care facilities, educational institutions, industrial food services, restaurants, catering services, and hotels. Some work for physicians with practices devoted to weight management.

Advancement

Advancement is possible in all dietetic areas and comes with experience and successful performance. Promotion typically involves assuming supervisory responsibilities. Earning a graduate degree facilitates advancement in this field.

Prerequisites

In the course of earning their high school diplomas, students who want to enter this field should take courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, home economics, and business management. Desirable personal attributes include strong interpersonal and communication skills. Those who want to be dietitians should have the ability to speak before a group, since occasional lectures in special settings and one-on-one teaching may be a big part of the job. Obviously, those entering the field should be interested in food preparation and its impact on the well-being of others.

Education/Training

The basic requirement for entering this field is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a major in dietetics, nutrition food science, food preparation, or food services management. Undergraduate course work should include general biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, diet therapy, advanced nutrition, food services systems, food services management, quality food production, accounting, data processing, business management, and statistics.

Certification/Registration/Licensure

Dietitians in most states must satisfy specific academic and experience requirements to meet the standards set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Most positions are open exclusively to registered dietitians (RDs). An RD degree reflects that a candidate has met a specified high standard of education and training.

Career Potential

The job outlook for dietitians for the foreseeable future is quite favorable. There is a continuous demand for more dietitians to meet the needs of an aging and more health-conscious population in the United States. The impact of health-care reforms on the field is unclear at present. Nevertheless, as the public becomes increasingly aware of the need for good dietary habits, the services of professionals in this field should be increasingly stimulated at various community levels.

For More Information

The professional organization in this field is the American Dietetic Association, 216 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60606

Contacts for More Information

For a list of academic programs and other information about dietitians, visit
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
For information on the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) exam and other specialty credentials, visit
Commission on Dietetic Registration
For information on the Certified Nutrition Specialist exam and credential, visit
Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists