Health Career Comparisons

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Program Degrees Average Starting Salary Job Duties
Clinical Trials Research Associate

AAS program: 7 semesters; fall or spring start

Certificate options: 4 semesters; fall or spring start

Data management option: 4 semesters; summer start

$30,000 – $45,000 The curriculum prepares individuals to assist investigators and clinical researchers in the initiation, administration, coordination,and management of clinical research studies for the development of new drugs, clinical products, and treatment regimens. This program can be completed partially online.
Dental Laboratory Technology

AAS program: 5 semesters; fall start

Certificate programs: 2 or 3 semesters; fall start

$18,000 – $24,000 The curriculum teaches the techniques and skills that enable graduates to fabricate artificial dental restorations, as prescribed by a licensed practicing dentist, and to function effectively in the dental laboratory.
Health Information Technology AAS day/online program: 5 semesters; fall start 30,000 – $40,000 The curriculum trains students to process, analyze, abstract, compile, maintain, manage, and report health information. This program can be completed partially online.
Medical Assisting

AAS program: 6 semesters; summer start

Diploma day program: 4 semesters; summer start

$26,500 – $33,000 This program prepares students to become multi-skilled health care professionals qualified to perform administrative, clinical, and laboratory procedures.
Medical Product Safety/Pharmacovigilance (MSP)

AAS program: 6 semesters; fall start

Certificate program: 5 semesters; fall start

$25,000 – $35,000 The curriculum prepares individuals to work with pharmaceutical, biologic, and medical device companies to monitor, track, and report product safety data during ongoing clinical trials, as well as after a product has been approved and marketed. The certificate program can be completed online.
Nursing – Associate Degree AAS day program: 5 semesters; fall start $40,000 – $45,000 The curriculum is designed to prepare the graduate to assess, analyze, plan, implement, and evaluate nursing care. The program provides the knowledge and skills needed to function effectively in all areas of the profession.
Nursing – LPN to Associate Degree AAS evening program: 2 semesters; fall start $40,000 - $45,000 This program is designed for students that have already met the requirements to be a Licensed Practical Nurse and wish to further their education to include an associate degree.
Nursing – Practical Diploma day program: 3 semesters; fall start $28,000 – $34,0000 This program prepares students to care for patients with common medical-surgical problems in various stages of illness and to apply to take the licensure examination, required for practice as a practical nurse.
Nursing Assistant 1 semester; start time varies $18,000 – $25,000 Students learn the basic nursing skills required to care for patients in a variety of health care settings. Through classroom instruction, laboratory work, and clinical rotations, students prepare to pass the NC Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation, a requirement to be listed on the NC Nurse Aide I Registry.
Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) AAS day program: 6 semesters or a 3-year,
part-time option; summer start
$35,000 – $46,000 OTA professionals work with people of all ages to improve their ability to participate in self-care, work, leisure and social activities. The curriculum prepares graduates to work under the guidance and supervision of an occupational therapist (OT/L) in all aspects of occupational therapy, from screening and assessment to treatment and documentation.
Opticianry

AAS day/online program: 5 semesters; fall start

Apprentice certificate option: 3 semesters; fall start

$25,000 – $35,000 This program trains the student to receive lens prescriptions from eye doctors, determine the size and style of eyeglasses desired by the customer, make lenses and cut them to fit into an eyeglass frame, and adjust finished glasses to fit the customer. This program can be completed partially online..
Pharmacy Technology

AAS program: 5 semesters; fall start

Diploma day program: 3 semesters; fall start

Retail: $13,500 – $17,200

Hospital: $26,000 – $33,000
Supervised by a registered pharmacist, a pharmacy technician performs technical duties related to preparing and dispensing drugs in accordance with standard procedures and laws. Students are trained to interpret physicians’ medication orders, fill orders to be checked by pharmacists, and deliver the orders to the patient.
Respiratory Therapy AAS day program: 5 semesters; fall start $40,000 – $45,000 The respiratory therapy practitioner treats, manages, controls, and cares for patients with deficiencies and abnormalities related to breathing and associated organs. The curriculum trains students to perform specific testing techniques used in monitoring, evaluating, and treating of patients.
Surgical Technology Diploma day program: 3 semesters; fall start $30,000 – $32,000 The curriculum trains students to prepare supplies, equipment, and instruments; maintain aseptic conditions; prepare patients for surgery; and assist surgeons during operations.