Substance Abuse Counselor

substance abuse counselorCounselors help people patients to deal with personal and social problems. Substance abuse counselors counsel and help people with alcohol and drug disorders. Dealing with individuals addicted to drugs, they work to identify behaviors and problems related to their addiction, using one-to-one techniques along with family and group sessions.

Not everyone has what it takes to become a counselor, especially one dealing with substance abuse. If you feel you have the understanding, patience and commitment to this area, there are plenty of job opportunities in this field.

Substance abuse counselors held about 67,000 jobs in 2002 (US Dept of Labor). This number is expected to grow faster than the average through 2012. These days the emphasis is often on rehabilitation, rather than incarceration, for offenders, increasing the job opportunities for substance abuse counselors. They are also a cheaper option than psychiatrists or psychologists. Legislation is also pending that may provide counseling services to Medicare recipients.


To be a licensed associate substance abuse counselor you need usually need a masters degree in counselor education from a regionally accredited college or university, although some states accept a bachelor’s degree with appropriate counseling courses. Here you will cover counseling in the following areas: education, old age, marriage and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation, community counseling, psychology, career counseling, and related fields.

Once qualified, many counselors elect to be nationally certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC). This can be a stressful occupation, but carries with it job satisfaction and the ability to make a real difference to society. In addition you will earn a good salary as a substance abuse counselor, with the possibility of progression and mobility.

Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical TherapistIs it possible to undertake a degree online that includes the word “physical?” This is a sensible question, and the answer is yes and no. Online physical therapist assistant degrees are available, but it depends on your level of experience.

Physical therapist assistants perform physical therapy treatments under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. They work in health care settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, school districts and long term residential facilities. Treatment may include teaching patients to walk, use crutches, and use an artificial limb and undertake therapeutic exercise. Physical therapist assistants learn techniques such as heat, cold, ultrasound, electricity and massage to help them with their work.

Online training

Considering the nature of the work, it is obvious that some of the study for this type of career cannot be undertaken in a virtual setting If you are starting out in this career and looking for an associate degree, you will have to undertake campus-based courses to cover the practical, physical aspects of the work. Once you are a working physical therapist, you can upgrade your skills to doctoral level while you work with an online physical therapist assistant degree. If you are interested in expanding your skills and employability in this area in a social, community or managerial sense, you can undertake an online masters degree.

Physical therapist assistants are licensed after successful completion of a national examination Newly graduated physical therapist assistants start on a very respectable salary, and later may decide to progress further up the ladder with more experience, plus online physical therapist assistant degrees.

Online physical therapist assistant degrees will include courses human anatomy, human physiology, introduction to physical therapy, medical Terminology, therapeutic, clinical neurology, human growth and development, rehabilitation techniques, neurological disorders and professional conduct.

Occupational Therapy

occupational therapistOccupational therapy practitioners help people with an injury, illness, disability or learning difficulties to become more independent. Occupational therapists are constantly looking for enjoyable ideas and tools to help others help themselves. Since enjoyment is vital in the process, games are particularly useful.

Children and games

Playing games helps children to develop all sorts of skills, from learning to be part of a team, to being more sociable and taking turns. Puzzles, board games and computer games improve memory, concentration, strategy, flexible thinking, planning and problem solving. They are very useful for children with learning difficulties.

Autistic children show little interest in making friends as they have difficulties with the social signals that most of us take for granted. Occupational therapists can work with the education provider to develop practical ideas such as play boxes with toys, and running structured games for playtime.

Group games can help children to develop a positive and proactive approach to four areas of emotional and behavioral development – self-esteem, aggression, relaxation and concentration, and social skills. For people with physical limitations, playing simple physical games can be very beneficial, helping to improve co-ordination and muscle power.

occupational therapistGames for older people

For older people who are getting forgetful – perhaps in the early stages of dementia, memory games can help to focus their mind and increase their confidence. Games such as jigsaw puzzles can also help people who have had a stroke to regain some motor control, confidence and gain a sense of achievement. In all of these areas and ideas, the key is interest and enjoyment. You will find plenty of ideas for use in occupational therapy on websites devoted to games.

Medical Office Jobs

Medical Office JobsThe computer age and an aging population means that no 21st century medical institution can survive without efficient, trained medical office staff.

Opportunities for medical office jobs are on the increase, and this shows no sign of slowing down. According to the US Department of Labor, for medical office opportunities will rise by around 20% starting in 2010.

There are plenty of medical office jobs available in hospitals, medical centers, private and federal companies and insurers. Medical administrative programs, online or nationwide, offer courses suitable for entry level positions as a medical records technician, medical billing clerk, medical secretary, or medical office technician, to name but a few.

Training for Medical Office Jobs

An associate degree in course medical office administration can prepare you for careers in administration and billing, covering appointments, filing records, purchasing, insurance billing and coding, patient admissions and office packages. These can be taken step by step, allowing you to start work and continue to study. If you are already working in this field, you may wish to start with an online diploma, progressing to an associate’s degree.

To become a medical office assistant or manager, you will need to know how to manage the medical office, schedule appointments and update patient records. Your training will include medical ethics and law, administrative procedures, medical terminology, keyboarding and word processing and other office packages.

Medical records technicians do not interact with patients, and spend most of their time at a computer screen. If you wish to specialize in this area, you will probably require a two-year associates degree including accreditation.

All of these medical office jobs command a good salary, and the opportunity to progress to managerial positions with additional experience and training.

Medical Coding

medical codingThe demand for medical coders and medical coding supervisors is on the increase. As the population lives longer and longer, the rapid growth in the healthcare industry means the long-term forecast is good.

Medical coding supervisors work in the medical records departments of organizations such as medical centers, hospitals and nursing homes. A typical medical coding supervisor manages the coding staff and has the overall control of the coding function in their place of work.

The average job description of a medical coding supervisor is both technical and managerial, covering the supervision of coding technicians in the accurate and timely input of patient records using codes. Hours of work are usually full-time, and can include day or night shifts, depending on the employer.


Most medical coding supervisors have completed a certificated coding program or accredited record technician qualifications, have three to five years of coding and around two years’ management experience. There is a long list of acronyms reflecting the qualifications required and you will need to do some research. These include ICD-9-CM coding and CPT coding, RHIA, RHIT and CCS. You may also need experience of acute care, inpatient, outpatients, and day patients

A career in medical coding can attract candidates from different areas, including high school graduates, IT professionals and medical professionals looking for a change. Salaries in this area can be highly desirable for the experienced candidate. Armed with the experience as a coder or medical coding supervisor, some people later choose to work from home. In particular, the combination of coding skills with a bachelor’s in management, medicine or administration can result in an excellent salary.

There is a wide range of options for gaining the necessary medical coding qualifications, available online and at schools nationwide.

Medical Billing and Coding

What is Medical Billing?

medical billing codingMedical billing is the process by which doctors receive payment for their services. As a medical billing and coding specialist you will be required to know the medical, insurance, and legal procedures pertinent to medical billing. As a medical billing and coding specialist you will also have to be proficient in the use of computers, spreadsheets, and database programs.

What is Medical Coding?

Medical coding is a process that has been developed by medical professionals, insurance companies, and the government as a means of tracking encounters between patients and doctors. This information is vital to medical advancement, understanding effectiveness of treatments, maintaining a viable health insurance system, and fair compensation for doctors. A medical coding and billing specialist should have a good memory, be precise, enjoy working with numbers, and have computer proficiency.

What Training is needed to become a Medical Coding and Billing Specialist?

Medical coding and billing training usually requires one to two years of full time study. Colleges, tech schools, community colleges, and online education providers can supply the education you will need to become a medical billing and coding specialist. Following the completion of your classes you should pursue certification with a recognized association such as the ARHCP or Association of Registered Health Care Providers, or the NHA, the National Healthcareer Association.

What Work Conditions and Wages can you expect?

Working in medical coding or medical billing, you can expect to earn a comfortable living. Work conditions are very favorable; you can expect a forty-hour work week with weekends, holidays, and evenings off. Work is clerical and takes place in a comfortable office environment.

In recent years the option of working from home has also become more popular. The growth prospect for medical billing and coding is above average over the next 10 years. The increase in medical advancements and the higher average age of the population can be credited with this growth.

Massage Therapist

massage therapyMassage therapy is a profession that helps people relieve stress and pain. Massage therapists help patients improve mobility of injured muscles, and prevent injury. Oftentimes, patient can be victims of accidents, or suffer disabling conditions, like back pain, soft tissue injury, arthritis, and broken bones. As a massage therapist, you can help people who have suffered physical trauma regain normalcy in their lives.

Massage Therapy for Fun

More and more people are getting massages for fun–either for relaxation or the mere the pleasure of it. As a massage therapist, consider learning several massage techniques to expand your client base. There are over a hundred massage techniques available, from Shiatsu to Swedish massage, so carefully consider the right ones for you before entering massage therapy school.

Massage Therapist Training Requirements

Not every state in the requires a massage therapy license–about half of them do however require a license. Of those that do, most states require between 500 and 600 hours of training at a certified massage therapy school. You can break your hours up in different ways. For example, an intensive full-time program may allow you to complete the requirements within a year. However, many massage therapy students work full-time while in school, and take two or more years in part-time or night classes. Most programs require a high school degree.

Massage Therapist Economics

The profession is projected to grow by 20-35 percent in the next seven years. Most employers are hotels companies or part of the hospitality industry. Massage therapist also work in the medical field. If you are interested in massage therapy, there are plenty of schools across the country and growing opportunities when you graduate.

Health and Human Services

health and human servicesThe United States Department of Health and Human Services describes its function as “protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.” It implements this mission through over 300 programs in areas such as health and wellness, disasters and emergencies, aging, families and children, and drug and food information.

Because of the multi-faceted nature of health and human services, work as a health and human services manager can entail different specializations, and some jobs may require, for instance, medical knowledge as well as administrative ability.

What skills do Health and Human Services Managers need?

Like any managers, those in health and human services need good administrative skills and the ability to organize and motivate staff. A manager will be tasked with evolving and implementing policy and ensuring that resources are efficiently used to benefit people who may be disabled, unwell, or disadvantaged in some other way. Dedication to improving the life of other people should be a significant motivator.

What Health and Human Services Training is required?

You should assume that entry into the field of health and human services management will require at least a bachelor’s degree. Further career progression may depend on gaining an MBA or equivalent. Your degree discipline will depend on the branch of health and human services you intend to enter, and your prospective college should be able to advise you further on this.

What is my Job Outlook as a Health and Human Services Manager?

The fact that we, on average, live longer these days means that a larger proportion of the population is older, and thus vulnerable to the infirmities that age can bring. The need to provide an increasing range of care for this section of the population should fuel growth in health and human services employment in the future.