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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

5 Medical Jobs to Jump-Start Your Health Care Career

July 14, 2022

People choose a profession in healthcare for many reasons. Some are enamored with the idea of helping others while some may want to push the boundaries of science. Others are interested in a career that offers stability in a fast-paced field.

With so many options, it can be challenging to choose the right healthcare career direction to pursue. Some medical careers require years of study and training before entering the profession. Other aspiring healthcare professionals may lack the funds and time required for many years of schooling.

There are programs that can expedite your entrance into the healthcare profession. This guide outlines five careers that can jump-start your entry into the field of healthcare.

Medical Assistant

Becoming a medical assistant is one of the quickest ways to enter the healthcare field. Medical assistants help other medical providers in a variety of environments. They may perform administrative and clinical tasks in health care settings such as a physician’s office, hospital, or other health-related facilities.1

A medical assistant’s duties may vary depending on the location, specialty, and size of the facility. Medical assistants may be tasked with:1

  • Recording patient histories and personal information
  • Helping physicians with patient exams
  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Inputting patient information into medical records

There are a couple of different paths to becoming a medical assistant. One is to earn a certificate in Medical Assisting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers may prefer to hire those who have completed such programs.2

San Joaquin Valley College offers a Clinical Medical Assisting certificate program that can get you ready to start a career in healthcare in as little as nine months.

At SJVC you may also choose to pursue an Associate of Science degree in Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting in as little as 15 months.

Dental Assistant

If you’re interested in entering the dental field, becoming a dental assistant is a great way to quickly enter the workforce. According to the BLS, dental assistant duties may include:3

  • Working with patients
  • Performing backend bookkeeping
  • Scheduling appointments for patients

The duties may vary depending on the state and the specific dental practice, but generally, dental assistants may be tasked with some of the following responsibilities.

  • Ensuring patients are comfortable and at ease
  • Preparing patients and the work area for procedures
  • Sterilizing dental tools
  • Processing x-rays and completing lab tasks under the supervision of a dentist
  • Working with patients on billing and payments

SJVC’s Dental Assisting program includes all aspects of working with a dentist, including patient

care, office and laboratory duties. The Dental Assisting program provides students who successfully complete the program with a certificate of completion in as little as 11 months.

Veterinary Assistant

If you’re more interested in working with animals than people, becoming a veterinary assistant may be a good option. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers  work in a variety of settings, helping research scientists, veterinarians, and veterinary technologists and technicians, according to the BLS.4

Daily tasks for a veterinary assistant may vary depending on the setting, but they typically perform duties such as:4

  • Exercising animals
  • Administering medications and immunizations
  • Sterilizing tools for surgery
  • Communicating with supervisors regarding an animal’s post-procedure progress
  • Provide nursing care before surgery and other medical procedures

SJVC’s Veterinary Assistant program provides students with a certificate of completion after they’ve successfully finished the program. You can earn a Veterinary Assistant certificate in as little as nine months.

Medical Office Administration

Pursuing a medical office role is another option to enter healthcare in a relatively short time. The duties of a medical secretary and administrative assistant are often fluid and may change by the day. However, some of the everyday tasks, the BLS says, may include:5

  • Transcribe dictation and prepare reports or articles for physicians or medical scientists.
  • Take simple patient medical histories
  • Arrange for patients to be hospitalized
  • Process insurance payments.

There are a few paths to becoming a medical secretary. One way is by completing a program and earning a certificate.6

SJVC’s Medical Office Administration program can be completed in as little as nine months. If you opt for the associate degree program, you may finish the program in as little as 15 months.

Medical Billing and Coding

Another quick way to enter the healthcare industry is by learning medical billing and coding.

According to the BLS, the duties of a medical biller and coding specialist may include:5

  • Transcribe dictation and prepare reports or articles for physicians or medical scientists.
  • Take simple patient medical histories
  • Arrange for patients to be hospitalized
  • Process insurance payments.

Some certifications for coding may require workplace coding experience, according to the BLS.

Students who complete SJVC’s online Medical Billing and Coding program can earn a certificate of completion in as little as seven months.

Get Your Healthcare Career Started With a Certificate From SJVC.

The healthcare field is an excellent option for individuals who want stability while working in a fast-paced industry. There are numerous medical jobs that require relatively little schooling  to begin working.

SJVC offers a range of programs that can quickly get you into the field. Browse through the Medical and Dental Programs to find one that fits your career goals.



  1. Medical Assistants
  2. Medical Assistants
  3. Dental Assistants
  4. Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers
  5. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
  6. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

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