Opportunity by any other name: Look beyond health care job titles, focus on skills

 
There are hundreds of job openings in health care settings throughout the Puget Sound region -- and many of the same positions have different names.
 
“One of the things that I have noticed is that as the work force gets more specialized, it’s often difficult for candidates to see the range of opportunities that exist for them,” says Kate Quaak, a senior employment specialist at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center. “There are so many different titles, and yet essentially, many of these titles are asked to do the same thing.”
 
Health care recruiter Jill Rogerson sees this at Valley Medical Center in Renton, too.
 
Her team of recruiters has a strong need for case managers - specialists who coordinate a patient’s care after they’re discharged from the hospital.
 
But a quick look at other agencies and health care groups in the state shows that “case managers” may also be called at least 24 other job titles, depending on where a candidate applies. Medical technicians carry nearly 28 other job titles based on who is hiring.
 
But no matter the name, the hiring demand for many health care positions is still high, says Rogerson. And many, adds Quaak, don’t require a four-year degree.
 
“At job fairs, people tend to view hospitals as a place with doctors and nurses,” she says. “But there are so many other areas - from radiology and lab work, to social work and psycho-social positions.”
 
And the demand keeps growing.
 
“When I first started, there were two or three positions open in our radiology department,” says Quaak. Now there are 12.
 
“A hospital is so multilayered with numerous and very different opportunities for people - from administration to working in facilities, or working on the floor to working in the lab,” she says. “I don’t think people recognize that the medical field is such an excellent place to work.”
 
Here’s a quick snapshot of some high-demand health care openings throughout the region. These positions are not limited to the hospitals, clinics, and research centers listed here:
 
Valley MedicalCenter:
Case manager: provide patients and families with the support after hospital discharge or to cope with ongoing chronic, acute or terminal illness. This may include education, counseling and referrals involving other social services.

Seattle/King County average hourly salary: $25.57
Annual average job openings: 41
2014 projected employment: 1,125 (26.8 percent increase from 2004)
 
Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System:
Pharmacy technician: prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. This may involve measuring, mixing, counting, labeling and recording amounts and dosages.
 
Seattle/King County average hourly salary: $16.97
Annual average job openings: 38
2014 projected employment: 1,748 (10 percent increase from 2004)
Where to find training: NorthSeattleCommunity College; Renton Technical College, Pima Medical Institute; EverestCollege and others.
 
Evergreen Healthcare:
CT technicians: Also known as radiology technologists/technicians, these professionals may take X-rays and computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans or administer non-radioactive materials into patients’ bloodstream for diagnostic purposes. Technologists specialize in CT and MRI.
 
Seattle/King County average hourly salary: $31.07
Annual average job openings: 47
2014 projected employment: 1,612 (23.6 percent increase from 2004)
 
Where to find training: BellevueCommunity College; Pima Medical Institute and others.
Sources: Evergreen Healthcare; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; ValleyMedicalCenter; WashingtonState Employment Security