Pay It FORWARD with Helping Occupations

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The spring time brings awareness of physical and emotional health. American Heart, Autism, ALS, Celiac, Disabilities, Lupus, Mental Health, Oral Hygiene, and Stroke Awareness Months as well as National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, run between February and June. The people who support others in their physical and emotional health are members of helping professions. This spring CareerLocker highlights professionals who help with the health care and well-being of others. From dental hygienists to psychologists, people in the helping professions help us all live life to our fullest and be our best selves.

  • Dental Hygienists help dentists care for patients’ teeth. They help their patients maintain oral health and prevent oral diseases. They may treat teeth to prevent cavities. They also take X rays of teeth. They keep careful records of patients’ dental care and review these records with them. They help patients prevent gum disease and tooth decay. They teach people the best way to brush and floss their teeth. They also explain the importance of a proper diet for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
  • Medical Laboratory Technicians work with medical technologists in collecting specimens and running common chemical tests in medical laboratories. Physicians use the results of these tests to diagnose and treat illnesses and diseases. In addition, medical laboratory technicians are trained to handle scheduling, general office duties, and to assist physicians in clinics. They use sophisticated computerized equipment to analyze specimens. They also use microscopes, cell counters, and centrifuges. In larger laboratories or research institutions medical laboratory technicians may clean and sterilize instruments, glassware, and equipment to ensure that test samples will not become contaminated. This is a Hot Occupation.
  • Primary Care Physicians diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases. They use their knowledge and expertise in conjunction with the results of diagnostic tests to treat the mental and physical problems of patients of all ages. They perform complete physical examinations. They treat most common illnesses. Their care includes early intervention, diet information, emotional counseling, and the monitoring of growth and development. They advise individuals and families on preventative health care practices and recognize the symptoms of disease and illness. They prescribe medication and see that immunizations are kept up to date. They also report to public health authorities any births, deaths, and cases of contagious diseases.
  • Psychologists study how people think, feel, and act when they are alone and when they are with others. They try to understand, explain, and sometimes change people’s behavior if it is detrimental to themselves or others. They also help people adjust to new situations in their lives. They interview and test people to collect information. They may use school or medical records to learn more about their patients, and to identify factors that are influencing their behaviors. They devise plans for helping people to live with or overcome obstacles to their mental health and well-being.
  • Special education teachers work with children who have a physical or mental condition that has hindered their normal development. They identify the strengths and needs of each student, as well as the concerns and priorities of their student’s parents. All of these factors are considered in the development of an educational plan for each individual student. They may incorporate music, art, books, computers, play, and daily routines in their educational plans. Whatever the activities or materials used to teach, they evaluate and monitor the progress of each individual student. They also encourage family members to help students with their learning activities at home.  In most states, special education students are included in regular educational settings whenever possible. Special education teachers explain the unique strengths and needs of their students to the other teachers who may not familiar with their special challenges.

Dental Hygienists and Medical Laboratory Technicians are Hot Occupations. Over the next 10 years, job openings in this occupation are projected to increase by at least 27%.