If you happen to be someone that is on the autism spectrum, there is a raft of careers that you could enjoy in the healthcare sector.
As a general rule of thumb, you should seek a job in healthcare that:
Let's look at some of the best healthcare jobs for those on the autism spectrum and the average pay they bring home. Also, ensure you get to the end of the article as there is a unique Interest Profiler to try out which relates your interests to potential related careers.
As a Pharmacist, your primary role is to dispense the proper prescription medications to patients. While there is some social interaction, the work is mainly procedural. Patients bring their prescriptions to the pharmacy where you prepare the medications (if necessary), and then distribute them.
Mostly, the pharmacist works in the backroom surrounded by various formulations and compounds. They then hire assistants to work at the front end, taking customer details, and facilitating payment.
Pharmacists can sometimes give advice, but they don’t have to. In many cases, they can simply refer patients back to their physicians for additional questions or provide advice sheets.
Pay for pharmacists is good – around $125,000 per year in 2021, making it a highly desirable career path for those on the autistic spectrum. Please note, though, that the number of available jobs is expected to decline during the 2020s.
Biomedical Engineers design, and analyze healthcare solutions using the principles of science and engineering. The objective of their work is to improve patient care through better software, computer systems, devices, and equipment.
As such, the job is highly technical, focused, and specialized. It is likely to appeal to autistic spectrum disorder individuals who enjoy mathematical calculations, statistics, intricate design, and product performance. It is also a good career for anyone wanting to mainly work using computers or software.
Again, Biomedical Engineers minimize social interactions with others. Much of the work is done solo with the occasional meeting to communicate progress. In some cases, engineers use rules-based project management tools to report to their colleagues, minimizing the need for email writing.
Pay for these types of bio engineers is relatively high and expected to rise until 2026. The profession is likely to grow because of the needs of the aging population and rapid implementation of technological advances in health and medicine.
Radiation Therapists are part of the team that administers radiation treatment, usually for cancer. Their job is to collect and analyze the data that results from treatment and recommend a course of action. They require a minimum of an associate’s degree and usually require a license, depending on the state in which they work. They interact with patients, but only minimally.
Radiation Therapists can work in multiple settings, including outpatient treatment centers, physician offices, and hospitals. They are non-physicians, but the pay is still high and they usually work full-time.
Because of the rise in cancer incidence and growth of the elderly population, demand for radiation therapists will likely rise in the coming years. Pay will likely increase too, as will the number of professionals entering the sector. Therefore, radiation therapy is a good career for anyone on the autistic spectrum looking for predictable, reliable work. The job offers the prospect of a stable routine long into the future.
Nuclear Medicine Technologists use medical equipment to scan patients’ bodies to diagnose medical conditions. They also prepare radioactive drugs for scans. These substances tag areas of the body requiring attention, making it easier to see them during diagnosis.
Healthcare jobs for those on the spectrum need a definite end-point, and this role certainly provides it. The goal is simple: to scan patients and find out what condition they have. Furthermore, it requires relatively little social interaction. Technologists work primarily in the lab, away from patients, forwarding results to practicing clinicians.
To become a Nuclear Medicine Technologist, you’ll need to get an associate’s degree from an institution with an accredited Nuclear Medicine Technology program. As with other jobs in this list, demand is expected to rise over the coming years as the number of people over the age of 65 increases.
Long-term, prospects are good. The work is relatively independent of other advances in medicine as scanning will likely still be required regardless of new cancer or heart disease drugs.
Dental Hygienists use specialist tools to clean patients’ teeth, while also looking for signs of gum disease and oral infections.
While it is a patient-facing role, the level of interaction is relatively low. Due to implements being in their mouths, patients cannot speak during treatment. Sessions typically last around thirty to forty-five minutes, during which time the Hygienist scrapes any plaque or tartar from the teeth using a pick.
Depending on the clinic in which they work, they may also provide x-rays or fluoride treatments. However, it is not primarily a consultative role that’s typically left to the lead dentist.
Patients are becoming more concerned with their oral hygiene and are more likely to seek out the services of Dental Hygienists to fix problems, such as tartar buildup or food stains. Pay for the job is relatively good at $75,000 and with job growth expected in the future.
Orthotics and Prosthetics is a rapidly expanding industry. The sector is entering a tipping point. Basic components such as motors, batteries, servos, and software are coming down in price to the point where low-cost production is becoming possible. Furthermore, other critical innovations, such as 3D printing, are making it easier to custom-create artificial body parts that mimic the shape of the patient’s body.
As an Orthotics Professional, you'll design, fabricate, and measure orthotics equipment. You also have the option of working in multiple settings, including health and personal care, as well as hospitals. Those on the autistic spectrum disorder, however, often find themselves further towards the manufacturing end. This allows them to focus more on the equipment itself and less on patient implementation.
As you might expect, pay for roles in this field is expected to rise considerably over the coming years – perhaps as much as 22 percent by 2026.
To get a role in this area, you need a minimum of a master’s degree. You’ll also need to demonstrate competence in the areas of robotics and material science.
A Vascular Technologist is a Diagnostic Imaging professional. Their job is to use medical equipment to generate images that help Physicians diagnose patient conditions.
In many cases, Vascular Technologists work alone with patient scans. They analyze them and prepare them for the physician who typically has final say on the illness that the patient has.
These specialized technologists work in labs, giving them the ability to drill down and focus on the subject matter in front of them. The job is good for those on the autistic spectrum for two reasons. It doesn’t require a great deal of patient communication and it has a clear end-point – to generate diagnostic images that the doctor can then use.
Vascular Technologists may work alongside doctors and provide services to them directly. In some cases, they will engage in informed conversations with physicians to assist them in the diagnostic process.
The pay is slightly lower than some of the options discussed so far. However, it is expected to rise substantially over the coming years. Furthermore, it is a growing field because of technological advances. Any job taken today is likely to survive long-term.
MRI Technicians are professionals who understand how to use magnetic resonance imaging technology. Again, the role is assistive. Their job is to help the primary physician diagnose and evaluate patients.
As an MRI Technician, you will instruct patients on how to enter the machine and what they should do once inside. You will also work with a doctor, explaining to the patient what is going to happen.
After imaging, it is then the job of the MRI Tech to prepare the scans for medical use. Physicians may require you to prepare a preliminary report or append the diagnostic results to the patient’s file.
Again, because of the growing use of scanning technology in medical professions, experts believe that the role of these technicians will remain secure over the coming years. Physicians need experienced individuals who understand how to use the latest equipment.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer use sonograms to scan patients and answer medical questions, such as, “is it a boy or a girl?” They are a gentle form of body scanning that do not require the use of any ionizing radiation. For that reason, they are becoming more popular, even though their resolution and fidelity is not as high as conventional MRIs or X-rays.
There are many different niches for this role. If you become a Musculoskeletal Sonographer, for instance, you will generate images of the tendons, joints, and ligaments. As an Abdominal Sonographer, you’ll examine the liver, kidneys, and spleen. And, as a Breast Sonographer, you will scan breasts and look for signs of cysts and tumors. You will get to work with the latest medical technologies and procedures and help patients avoid more costly and invasive diagnostics and treatment.
Please note that this job has a significant social element to it. In some cases, you will need to know how to handle patients and help them navigate emotional challenges.
A Phlebotomist is a healthcare technician who draws blood and ensures they take the correct amount. They must also label and categorize blood vials to identify the owner.
For those living on the autistic spectrum, the job offers several perks. Firstly, it is a highly procedural role with a fixed objective and endpoint. The goal is to collect patient blood according to medical protocols and then organize it in a way that Physicians and other medical professionals can use.
Secondly, it minimizes social interactions. Besides taking blood, the majority of the work is done away from patients.
Those choosing this field, however, need to be comfortable with drawing blood. They must also feel confident with entering patient information into medical databases.
Unfortunately, pay tends to be substantially lower than other professional medical roles.
If you like coding or consider yourself a coding specialist, you may want to investigate becoming a Medical Records Technician. Professionals operating in this field take information from medical records and assign them the correct procedure and diagnostic codes. These codes are then used for a variety of other purposes, including:
Becoming a Medical Records Technician is a way of working in the healthcare sector without having to deal with some of the more emotional aspects of the job. People in these roles don’t have to work directly with individuals with heart-wrenching diseases. Instead, they simply enter codes into databases, taking a much more hands-off approach.
The field is expected to grow considerably over the coming years due to migration from paper records to online, electronic solutions. The higher demand for medical services is also likely to push up job demand further.
Those on the autistic spectrum are also highly attracted to Surgical Technologist roles. These professionals are responsible for sterilizing operating room equipment before procedures to prevent the spread of infection. They are also responsible for handing the surgeon the equipment that he or she needs. They act as the physician’s right hand, ensuring that they have the tools that they need, precisely when they need them.
As such, the job requires a high attention to detail, meticulous planning, and cleaning.
Following the operation, it is usually the job of the Surgical Technologist to wheel the patient to the recovery room. They then restock and clean the operating theatre, preparing it for the next patient.
Pay for Surgical Technologist roles is in the middle of the pack. To become one, you’ll need an associate’s degree and possible licensing, depending on the state.
If becoming a Pharmacist doesn’t appeal to you, you might also want to become a Pharmacy Technician. Like many other healthcare jobs for those on the spectrum within our top list, it requires precision and tremendous attention to detail.
Technicians’ main role is to ensure correct filling of medications and dispense them to patients. Many Technicians mix, label, and code medication dosages on behalf of Pharmacists.
The most interesting part of the work is keeping track of all the changing medical standards that occur within the field. Dosages, timings and drugs can change on a weekly or monthly basis, keeping you on your toes.
Pharmacy Technicians can work in a variety of settings, including:
Primarily, it is a backroom role and you will work directly under the supervision of a Lead Pharmacist.
Clinical Laboratory Technicians work in laboratories (usually associated with hospitals) in a variety of fields, including:
These roles are popular among those living on the spectrum because of the detail-oriented nature of the work. Lab Technicians can work in multiple settings, including public health facilities, veterinary labs, and inside hospitals.
To qualify for this position, you must complete a two-year associate’s degree program in the US. Once you do, you’ll be able to access a salary of around $53,000, with the potential to earn as much as $81,000.
Medical Transcriptionists are professionals who take voice recordings from Physicians and other Practitioners and transform them into written reports. As somebody working in this field, you will either work in a hospital, a Physician’s office, or for a third-party transcription service. You can also perform this role in a self-employed capacity.
To become a Medical Transcriptionist, you will require a postsecondary education. You will also need an understanding of word-processing software, grammar, anatomy and general medical terms.
This type of work is enjoyable because it is very detail-oriented and requires exceptional accuracy. Interaction with others is also minimal, which is great for anyone who finds the social aspect of work challenging.
Employment in the sector is expected to rise over the coming years, despite advances in transcription software. That’s because Physicians, hospitals, Practitioners, and other healthcare professionals need to create accurate records for later referral. Software transcription errors can make documents challenging to interpret.
The downside of the role is that pay is low relative to many of the other careers discussed here at $35,000 per year. But hey, life isn't always about the money, right?
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