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Career Planning

Choosing a career is challenging! Health care offers more than just the opportunity to be a doctor or a nurse. Explore this site to find out how to choose a career and how to reach your career goal.

Steps to Planning Your Career:

  1. Think about health care career possibilities and explore different occupations.
  2. Think about your interests and skills. Think hard about what you enjoy, what you are good at, what kind of personality you are, and the values you hold. Assess your skills and interests.  Visit New York's Department of Labor Career Zone to assess yourself and target your interests.  CLICK HERE 
  3. Research occupations. Find out more about the nature of the jobs that interest you, such as educational requirements, salary, working conditions, employers in your area, schools in your area.
  4. Compare your skills and interests with the occupations you've selected. The career that matches your skills, interests, and personality the closest may be the career for you.
  5. Choose your career goal. Once you've decided what occupation matches up best with you, then you can begin developing a plan to reach your career goal.
  6. Go to your career guidance center or guidance counselor or local library for additional information and help on career planning, or check out our Other Internet Resources.

Years And Type Of Education & Training Required For Careers


OJT - On the Job Training
C - Certification
D - High Shool Diploma
A - Associate's degree
B - Bachelor's Degree
AC - Advanced Certificate
M - Master's Degree
DOC - Doctoral Degree
L - License
R - Residency and Internship

3 - 6 months
Certified Nursing Assistant (D or GED and C - completion of an approved nursing assistant training program is also required)
Direct Care Provider (C)
Electrocardiograph Technician (D and OJT)
Emergency Medical Technician (C)
Home Health Aide (OJT)
Medical Coder (20 week program or C)
Medical Secretary (OJT or C)
Nursing Assistant (C)
Phlebotomist (OJT or C)
Psychiatric Aide (D and OJT)

7 - 11 months
Dental Assistant (OJT or C)
Emergency Medical Technician (C)
Medical Assistant (OJT)
Medical Coder (C)
Massage Therapist (C or D)
Medical Secretary (C)
Medical Transcriptionist (C)
Pharmacy Technician (OJT)

1 year - 1-1/2 years 
Dental Assistant (D)
Sonographer (D)
Licensed Practical Nurse (D)
Medical Assistant (D)
Medical Laboratory Technician (D)
Medical Secretary (D)
Mental Health Therapy Assistant/Aide (one year of training at a community college and C is required)
Pharmacy Technician (D)
Surgical Technologist (D)

2 years
Athletic Trainer (A or B and certification is required)
Cardiovascular Technologist (A)
Dental Hygienist (A)
Dental Laboratory Technician (A, C or five-year apprenticeship program)
Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist (A)
Sonographer (A)
Dietetic Technician (A)
Health Information Technician (A)
Histology Technician (A)
Medical Assistant (A)
Medical Laboratory Technician (A)
Medical Secretary (A)
Medical Transcriptionist (A)
Occupational Therapy Assistant (A)
Physical Therapy Assistant (A and successful completion of national licensure exam)
Radiation Therapist (A or 2-year C program)
Radiologic Technologist/Technician (D, completion of 2-year C program offered by a hospital or community college)
Registered Nurse (A or B, plus obtain L through state)
Registered Respiratory Therapist (A or B) 
Security Guard (A and NYS certification is required)
Veterinarian Assistant (A or B and L)

4 years
Blood Bank Technologist (B with a concentration in the medical technology or one of the life sciences; one may also qualify through a combination of education and OJT and specialized training)
Environmental Health Worker (B, but M and DOC are becoming the standard)
Medical Technologist (B in medical technology or life sciences)
Microbiologist (B will qualify you as a laboratory assistant or technician, most go on for M or DOC)
Nuclear Medicine Technologist (B and certification required)
Nutritionist (B, but M is required for advancement in the field)
Occupational Health / Safety Specialist (B and related work experience for many positions)
Occupational Therapist (B and successful completion of national certification exam)
Social Worker (B is required for entry-level work, M for more advanced positions and DOC to teach)
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor (B needed for low-level counseling jobs, but M is usually the standard)
Veterinarian Assistant (A or B and L)

5 years
Clinical Nurse Specialist (one must be prepared as an RN with a B in nursing - M) 
Cytotechnologist (B to enter one-year clinical cytotechnology program, obtain C upon completion of program and exam)
Perfusionist (B and 1- to 2-year perfusionist training program)
Health Information Manager/Medical Records Administrator (must already have a B)
Registered Dietitian (one must have a B and complete an internship to become registered)

6 years and beyond
Anesthesiologist (B, along with four years of medical school and R)
Audiologist (DOC)
Biomedical Engineer (M)
Chiropractor (A or B onto 4-years of chiropractic school)
Clinical Nurse Specialist (one must be prepared as a RN with a B in nursing and M)
Clinical Psychologist (DOC and R)
Counseling Psychologist (DOC, school psychologists need an M)
Creative and Recreational Therapist (M)
Dentist (B, 4-years of dental school, R) 
Doctor of Medicine (DOC, R)
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DOC, R)
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DOC, R) 
Epidemiologist (M on to DOC)
Health Care Administrator (B, M on to DOC)
Medical Scientist (M and DOC to conduct advanced work or manage research programs or departments)
Mental Health Counselors (B and M)
Microbiologist (B, M and DOC for more senior-level positions, plus certification may be required)
Nurse Anesthetist (one must hold a B in nursing, a current nursing license and at least one year of experience in an acute care area plus M)
Nurse-Midwife (RN certification, C in mid-wifery or M and must pass certification exam)
Nurse Practioner (B in nursing, RN license, M in nursing, post-master's certification is also possible)
Nutritionist (B and M for advancement in the field)
Obstetrician/Gynecologist (B, DOC and R)
Optometrist (B, DOC - plus pass a written and clinical State board exam, obtain continuing education credits and license renewal every 1-3 years)
Oral Surgeon (B; 4 years of dental school; then 4-7 years of surgical training; dental, medical, and surgical postdoctoral program spanning a minimum of 4 years; hospital-based surgical residency of at least 4 years)
Orthodontist (B or at least 2 years of college-level predental education to be accepted into dental school, and
4 years of dental school)
Physical Therapist (B, completion of R and M)
Physician Assistant (B, 2 years of accredited program, completion of the Physician Assistants National Certifying Examination, completion of 100 hours of continuing medical education every 2 years, re-certification examination every 6 years)
Prosthodontist (B with at least 2 years of college-level predental education to be accepted into dental school and
4 years of dental school)
Psychiatrist (B, DOC and R)
Psychologist (B, DOC and R)
Registered Dietitian (B, M on to DOC)
Speech Language Pathologist (B and M)
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor (B, M for advanced work - must pass exam and be licensed by the state and work for about two years in a supervised clinical setting.)
Surgeon (B, 4-years of medical school and R)
Veterinarian (B, 4-years veterinary medical school)