Factors to Consider When Pursing a Healthcare Career

Factors to Consider When Pursing a Healthcare Career
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    Your chosen career will ideally be a vocation that you will continue to pursue throughout most of your adult life and, for this reason, choosing which career path to follow can be a daunting decision.


In particular, the concept of entering into a healthcare career is both unnerving and exciting, and this job sector is often one which appeals to a large quantity of prospective students. Jobs in healthcare are often prestigious and well-respected roles, which is a factor that has an obvious appeal to many people contemplating entering this field of work. However, before you make your final decision as to whether a healthcare career is right for you, here are a few points that you should take into consideration.

Is healthcare right for you?

Think about your own personal traits in order to determine whether healthcare would be the best occupation for you. Healthcare professionals have to work long hours and experience high amounts of stress on a daily basis, so you would need to be able to deal with a high-pressure environment. As a healthcare specialist, it would also be an advantage to you if you enjoy socializing with a wide variety of people, as this will be a likely be a large part of regular working life, depending on which job role you are interested in.

You are likely to interact with people from a range of different backgrounds, social classes, ethnicities, and religions, so you need to determine whether working with people from a lot of different groups will something you are comfortable with. Be honest with yourself in getting to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, so that you know which aspects your career you are likely to thrive in and, similarly, what you may struggle with. Consider what the most important values are to you in finding your ideal job: this could include anything from caring about the amount that you will earn, or wanting to gain the social praise associated with certain roles in society.

Why a career in health?

There are several reasons why you might benefit from pursuing a career in healthcare. Due to the nature of a job in this sector, you are likely to enjoy a varied job description, meaning that there is more likely to be aspects of the job which appeal to your personal interests. 

Healthcare roles are an integral part of society, so there is often a high employment demand for these positions. This reduces some of the pressure of trying to finding a job after finishing college, as your chances of being employed are slightly higher than in other job sectors (depending on the role you apply for).

Most healthcare courses involve active learning, as you need to develop practical as well as theoretical skills. This makes healthcare courses a lot more engaging and exciting than a lot of other university courses. The salaries available vary from position to position, so there is likely to be a role where you can earn enough money to satisfy your needs. As there is such variation in the work, different roles also allow for regular changes in levels of socialization.

For example, a healthcare receptionist will need to greet people and engage in phone conversations, but their job description doesn’t involve the extensive conversation a nurse is likely to engage in with her patients. Healthcare is incredibly rewarding work, as you get to see the improvement in sick clients, and help people to progress upon their general wellbeing.

Length of time spent in education

When thinking of healthcare roles, a lot of people take the mindset that you have to attend university for long periods of time, and then move on to extensive on the job training, or placements which last for years. In truth, there are a wide variety of roles which come under the bracket of the healthcare sector, which are not just limited to becoming a doctor, dentist or nurse. Healthcare roles can include jobs of an assortment of descriptions, such as biomedical practice, diet and nutrition, physical therapy, and psychiatry.

As there are so many different roles available, the length of time you would need to spend in education differs for each, and this could be a major influence in the healthcare path you decide to take. Before enrolling though, ensure that you look into your full list of options; for instance, you need to know how long you’ll be studying for and also how much it’ll cost you. You may also want to learn the salary of a certain profession.

For example, a Respiratory Therapist would spend two to five years in higher education, and earn an average salary of $62,222 a year, whereas a Dentist would have to spend eight years in further education, but could earn up to $214,070 a year. Consider how education time may affect your willingness to study for a job role, taking into account the costs of university expenses, and whether you can fully dedicate your time to your studies. However, know that there are also healthcare jobs which do not require medical school.

Your ideal salary

As stated above, the salary received by healthcare professionals varies from position to position, so you should consider what you feel your ideal earnings would be, as this may affect your decision regarding which career to pursue. You should take into account that often, the higher the potential salary is for a job role, the more time you may have to spend in higher education to obtain your degree. That being said, the amount you will be paid once you begin work will also depend upon the establishment that hires you. 

Job outlook

As mentioned briefly above, there is always going to be some degree of demand for healthcare practitioners. In 2014, there were 141.4 million visits to the ER alone in the US, which gives you a picture of how necessary it is to keep employing healthcare professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2012 and 2022 the healthcare industry is expected to further increase the number of jobs available within the healthcare sector by around 4 million more than any other industry.

Therefore, if you are looking for good job security, finding work within healthcare may be more likely to provide you with that than other career sectors; Of course, it should be taken into consideration that the number of jobs available may vary depending upon the specific profession you are considering entering into.

Finding the right position

Once you have considered factors such as salary, education time and job outlook, then you can begin to decide which job role you would like to pursue within the healthcare industry. There are a range of different roles available to you depending on where your interests lie. If you are attracted to dental hygiene, then you could consider becoming a Dentist, a Dental Assistant, or undertaking a more unusual role such as that of a Dental Laboratory Technician. There is also the option of going down the route of crime scene investigation, where there are a range of healthcare-related jobs available, such as becoming a Forensic Pathologist, Biologist or Chemist.

If social science appeals to you more than medical science, you could become a Social Worker, Psychiatrist or a Psychologist, to name a few roles. There are also more specialist roles within the medical industry, such as Phlebotomy, Radiology, and Anesthesiology.  Look into each role in depth by looking at a detailed healthcare career guide, which will break down the roles and responsibilities involved within each job description.

Getting into school

Once you know which career path you would like to undertake, the first step is finding out which higher education course you should apply for. If you have a high school diploma already in hand, then often the first course of action would be to gain your Bachelor’s degree. If you do not have a diploma, you can still pursue a career in healthcare, but you would first benefit from gaining a GED certificate.

There is a variation of different colleges available that you can apply for, so it is important to choose the one that works best for you. Take into account different factors such as the state and city you would like to live in, what the specialisms of the university are, the pass rates of the course you are applying for, and the accreditation given to the professors at the university. The most important part of gaining your degree is how well you apply yourself to your work, and not how prestigious the establishment is. Make sure you are organized in your studies, and that you seek out extra advantages and opportunities which will help you to succeed.

Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you may decide to carry on studying in order to obtain your masters, and perhaps even your PhD, or you may want to start working immediately. This is a decision to be made based off of what works best for you, so don’t feel pressured to continue your studies into your masters if it is not something which appeals to you personally.

College Financing reference:

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Categories: Career Planning