An unlicensed employment option such as that of the patient care assistant can be a great way to break into the healthcare industry when an individual lacks formal college education, training, and experience. There are several different career options that fall into this broad category of employment and it is very common to find unlicensed medical personnel working in just about every branch of medicine whether it is a general area of practice or a specialty. Although some job titles such as medical assistant, nursing aide, and orderly require nothing more than a high school diploma or GED in order to be considered for employment, other departments such as surgery, radiology, and critical care may require applicants to have a few years of college credit along with specialized certification. Those who understand the options for progression that are available are in a much better position to move forward and earn more.The availability of entry-level generalist assistant positions in the healthcare sector have been increasing over the past several years as demand for medical care has continued to climb and the number of well-qualified applicants has decreased. This has made it somewhat easy for individuals who have no patient care experience or college education to enter the field following a relatively short period of training that includes both classroom instruction and hands-on experience. These opportunities are great for those who want to improve the lives of others without needing to complete several years of college or a long and demanding postgraduate training program. Although an entry-level position does allow individuals to master the basics of care, it generally does not offer a competitive compensation package and many people end up searching for opportunities to take on more responsibility and command a higher salary.One of the most popular strategies for progressing in an unlicensed medical profession is to acquire the necessary credentials to transition from a general area of practice to a specialty. A department such as surgery, anesthesiology, radiology, and critical care often pays the highest salaries to unlicensed team members, but they also have the most stringent entry requirements. In several cases, an assistant may need to acquire two to four years of college education and pass both a training program and a national certification examination just to be considered for employment. While these options are great for those who are willing to invest the time and effort in acquiring the necessary credentials, they are often far to stringent for most people. Those who want to earn more without having to attend college may want to consider specialized employment options such as that of the dialysis technician or EKG technician.Departments such as dialysis and cardiology often provide products and services that are not as high risk as those offered in surgery and radiology. For this reason, individuals who want to work in these fields as an unlicensed provider might only be required to complete a short patient care assistant training period followed by a specialty certification exam. This makes it far easier to take advantage of progression in a specialized area of practice. As always, it is very important to consider the responsibilities included in a patient care assistant job description before deciding to pursue a specific area of practice. An individual who takes the time to make sure they have selected a department that interests them and that will be personally and professionally rewarding tends to experience higher levels of job satisfaction and is in a better position to accomplish their short and long-term career goals.Those who prefer to continue working in a general area of practice may be able to increase the patient care assistant salary and take on more responsibility by accepting an administrative promotion. People who have demonstrated an affinity for leadership and who have a strong interest in the business side of medicine are the best candidates for these types of promotions since managerial activities require that the individual have solid interpersonal communication skills and be willing to deal with the added stress that comes from making sure operations run smoothly. In many cases, the assistant may be allowed to continue engaging in clinical tasks while addressing operational issues that come up.