Despite the economic recession and an unstable job market, healthcare is still considered one of the most in-demand sectors. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate in the healthcare industry is expected to grow by 16% over the next 10 years, which translates to 2.6 million jobs.
The healthcare industry seems more promising, due to the aging population and the continuous fight against the COVID-19, as well as the presence of administration healthcare programs on the internet. Not only that; with the large number of retirees, expect a rapid increase in the demands on healthcare professionals to meet this need.
If you want to land one of the best healthcare careers and achieve financial stability and job security, now is the right time to pursue it. This is because, beyond patient care, the healthcare sector has also expanded into other career fields, including administration, marketing, and information technology, giving better opportunities to job seekers.
Want to know more about the industry? Let’s look at the best healthcare careers you can pursue, the industry’s job outlook, median salary, and how you can penetrate the medical field easily.
Overview of Healthcare Careers
The healthcare sector offers a wide range of career options involving both direct patient care and technology support. As mentioned earlier, BLS reports an expected growth that’s much faster than other occupations. This could be mainly due to the current aging population, resulting in a dramatic increase in healthcare services.
The healthcare sector is categorized into three primary career areas—allied healthcare, support, and hospital management. Allied healthcare services are directly related to patient care, as well as occupations that involve proper maintenance of healthcare equipment. Some examples of allied healthcare workers are nurse practitioners, physicians, dentists, medical technologists, MRI technicians, and home care aides.
Another healthcare field that you can explore is healthcare technology. This involves securing hospital records, patient history, and software maintenance. Some healthcare technology professionals are server technicians and information analysts.
If you have excellent leadership and communication skills, you can pursue a career in healthcare management. This field focuses on business-related aspects, policy creation, budgeting, and staff management. Career options may include medical clerks, administrators, front desk supervisors, and office managers.
Benefits of Working in the Healthcare Field
As long as you’re open to constant learning, working as a healthcare professional is beneficial and fulfilling, despite all the challenges it entails. Here are some of the perks of working in the healthcare industry.
Constant Patient/Staff Interaction
You are expected to communicate with doctors and fellow hospital employees when attending patients. You will work with patients about their symptoms and various concerns to determine the cause of sickness. Pursuing a career in healthcare is definitely rewarding for those who are passionate about helping others.
You can recoup your investment in education faster once you land your first job. As you gain experience over the years, you can create more flexible work schedules as you meet new patients. Once you have established a career in physical therapy or nursing home care, for example, you can set your own schedule, number of patients you can handle, and service fees you can charge.
The healthcare sector is dynamic in nature, allowing you to pursue the best healthcare careers possible. If you’re currently working as a nursing assistant, for instance, you can be promoted to advanced practice registered nurse with the help of additional education units and state licensure exams. You can even become a medical writer if you have adequate writing skills and a passion for sharing your own ideas.
Healthcare workers can earn as much as they want from overtime pay and freelancing services. If you’re a regular employee, you can receive a salary raise and incentives. You can even enjoy higher earning potential if you work as a medical consultant, a private doctor, or the owner of a medical facility. However, just like any other profession requiring higher academic standards, you also need to pursue further studies and pass government-regulated exams to increase your market value.
How to Find the Right Healthcare Career Path
Since career options in the healthcare industry are broad, it might seem overwhelming for some people what career path to choose. You can narrow down your choices by considering these factors:
Required Length of Study
Each job in the healthcare sector has a corresponding length of education, experience, and skillset. This also depends on your financial capacity and how far you can go in supporting your studies. You need to devote ample time when taking the preferred healthcare course and the length of the apprenticeship program that you must complete.
There’s no doubt that all professionals want to make progress in their careers. Hence, consider where you intend to stay a few years from now. Determine which areas have increased demand for particular positions that may offer you a greater opportunity.
If you have plans to pursue a career in healthcare, you need to set a target salary range that will fit your lifestyle and family needs. Consider your current expenditures as well as plans like a career change or migration. Aside from meeting your basic needs, you might have plans to open a new business or acquire a car loan, so make sure they are included in your considerations.
List of the Best Healthcare Careers
Let’s delve a little deeper now that you’ve learned about the various fields in the industry and some factors to consider before pursuing this career path. Browse through this list of the best healthcare careers to discover what fits your preference.
1. Physician Assistant
Physician assistants perform various functions similar to what a traditional doctor does. They work in hospitals, medical schools, and federal healthcare institutions. This position is responsible for the following tasks:
- Examining patients to come up with a diagnosis based on interviews and tests
- Requesting tests to ascertain the nature of illnesses
- Prescribing medications and administering immunizations
- Securing patient records
- Monitoring treatment plans
- Providing proper documentation for benefits and claims
Educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree in healthcare fields, master’s degree is a plus, and Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination
Average salary: $121,530
2. Physician and Surgeon
Physicians and surgeons perform several tasks, including examining patients, prescribing medications, ordering diagnostic tests, and interpreting laboratory results. They provide advice to patients regarding lifestyle changes and preventive health care to improve their quality of life. They also perform surgical operations to treat injuries and diseases. Relevant job responsibilities include:
- Administering immunizations
- Updating patient’s history
- Giving direct orders to nurses, physician assistants, and other healthcare workers
Educational requirements: Medical Doctor (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and Physician National Certifying Examination
Average salary: $208,000
3. Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists diagnose and treat patients with tooth and gum infections. They provide professional advice about preventive oral care. They often manage their own team of workers, including dental technicians, dental assistants, and receptionists. Dental hygienists use a wide range of equipment like mouth mirrors, brushes, forceps, and digital tools like scanners and X-ray machines. Dentists typically perform the following tasks:
- Getting rid of decay from filling cavities and teeth
- Repairing tooth damage by using sealants
- Administering dental procedures for sensitive cases
- Creating models for dentures and jackets
- Prescribing medications when needed
Educational requirements: Associate’s degree in dental hygiene
Average salary: $77,810
4. Registered Nurse (RN)
RNs directly provide patient care while closely working with physicians. They’re trained to provide public advice on overall preventive care. They also offer emotional support to patients and family members during treatment. Registered nurses can work with other healthcare specialists based on the hospital or patient needs. They also perform oversight functions, which carefully monitor practical nurses, home care aides, and nursing assistants. Here are some of their core tasks:
- Assessing the health condition of a patient
- Recording all patient history, symptoms, and observations
- Assisting physicians in surgical operations as needed
- Administering medications prescribed by physicians
Educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree in nursing and government-sanctioned exams (National Council Licensure Examination)
Average salary: $73,300
5. Radiation Therapist
They’re responsible for administering radiation treatments for cancer patients. In addition, radiation therapists determine the number of doses that should be given to the patient based on diagnostic results and treatment plan. They typically work in hospitals, particularly in the oncology department, but you can also encounter them in outpatient departments and medical offices.
Educational requirements: Associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology, physics, and radioactive drugs or related professional degree
Average salary: $82,790
6. Occupational Therapist
They’re responsible for developing a physical rehabilitation program to help patients recover from an injury or disability. Occupational therapists help patients regain their ability to resume work or daily life routine. Aside from that, they also perform other tasks, such as:
- Conducting psychological and physical assessments of patients based on the treatment plan
- Making necessary adjustments to home or work environment
- Assessing the patient’s overall mental health and physical condition
- Choosing the appropriate equipment to help patients perform daily activities efficiently
Educational requirements: Master’s degree in occupational therapy and state licensure examination
Average salary: $85,570
7. Cardiovascular Technologist
Also known as medical stenographers, they work under the supervision of a cardiologist and other specialized doctors to diagnose or treat patients with heart-related ailments. They use advanced imaging equipment like electrocardiograms to conduct tests. This position is also involved in performing certain medical procedures, including defibrillators and cardiac pacemakers.
Educational requirements: Associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in cardiovascular and vascular technology or other related courses
Average salary: $60,570
8. Physical Therapist
Physical therapists treat patients with health conditions that affect their mobility. They formulate specific treatment plans to help patients recover from injuries while alleviating pain. As a physical therapist, you will work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and sports centers alongside other healthcare specialists. Here are some of the relevant responsibilities:
- Developing rehabilitation plans based on patient history and diagnosis
- Integrating therapeutic exercises and use of mobility equipment in patient’s daily life
- Performing massage to expedite the healing process
Educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree in recreation and fitness or other related healthcare programs and physical therapist licensure (National Physical Therapy Examination)
Average salary: $95,620
9. Respiratory Therapist
Respiratory therapists are responsible for formulating treatment plans for patients dealing with pulmonary distress as a result of complications from lung cancer, bronchitis, asthma, and COPD. They ensure patients won’t have trouble breathing through appropriate medications, breathing apparatus, and therapeutic exercises. They usually conduct diagnostic tests to analyze a patient’s lung condition. Other valuable tasks include:
- Administering inhalants and aerosol medications
- Monitoring treatment plans for signs of progress and recurring issues
- Assisting patients with how to use prescribed equipment at home
Education: Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy from accredited universities
Average salary: $61,830
10. Speech Language Pathologist
Speech language pathologists offer assistance to patients and family members dealing with speech problems. As a speech therapist, it’s your responsibility to formulate a treatment plan for patients with traumatic experiences that have resulted in their inability to speak. Speech pathologists usually coordinate with physical therapists, nurses, and medical responders to provide assessment and rehabilitation plans.
Educational requirements: Master’s degree and some states require that speech-language pathologists be licensed
Average salary: $79,060
Tips for Landing the Best Healthcare Careers
Because of the extensive nature of the healthcare industry, each position requires certain educational units to qualify. Plus, there are other factors you need to ace your job search. Consider some practical tips below to further enhance your skills and job qualifications.
1. Sign up for internship programs.
Acquiring relevant experience from hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare institutions is important when searching for a prospective healthcare career. Although most internship programs are unpaid, you can gain quality hands-on experience, which you can use as a stepping stone to get into your dream job.
Since there aren’t enough healthcare professionals in many hospitals today, the services of volunteers and interns are hired to meet these demands. Consider reaching out and offering your services to community health centers, local hospitals, and non-profit organizations in your vicinity. This way, you can establish not only experience but also connections with seasoned professionals, social groups, and medical communities.
2. Gain more knowledge.
Improving your skill set is also an effective way to stand out in the industry. If you’re a nurse practitioner, you can take additional courses, including medical transcription, laboratory assistance, and hospital management. Consider taking additional workshops to help expand your job search capacity and move into a more lucrative healthcare field. If you have enough resources, enroll yourself in a master’s degree.
3. Establish connections.
Expanding your social network may significantly help in your career hunt. Join social groups, particularly medical specialists and community healthcare leaders, to establish a connection. You can also seek direct referrals from friends, acquaintances, and classmates involved in the healthcare sector. As you build connections, create a comprehensive professional resume, detailing your skill sets, work experience, and academic achievements
Browse through resume examples online to guide you in writing your healthcare resume.
Elevate Your Career with the Help of Healthcare Resume Writers
Knowing the best healthcare careers available on the market may offer you the chance to enjoy some rewarding benefits, from lucrative pay to job security. With the number of healthcare programs being offered today, breaking into the healthcare sector is becoming easier, as long as you have the right experience, interests, and skills required for your target job.
If you’re not confident in writing your own healthcare resume, why not consider hiring credible resume writers to make your talents noticeable? Resume Professional Writers is home to outstanding resume writers and career experts. Hence, we guarantee our clients a job-winning healthcare resume that can get their name to the top of the candidate list. Check out our full list of resume writing services today.