Health care is a leading sector in the US. Demand continues to grow due to an aging population and strong wellness culture. It’s also resistant to automation and outsourcing.
Your first step toward a career in health care is identifying your own personality, preferences and competencies, and then finding the right match with available health care positions. This can be a surprising step for many as there are considerably more types of health care jobs than the average American is aware about.
The jobs that have the most to do with the public are the ones with which people tend to be more familiar. However, don’t give up on the whole sector if you don’t think that you’re cut out for patient direct care or medical school. There is lots of opportunity for senior care workers, medical office administrative staff, nurses, emergency responders and all types of doctors, surgeons and specialists, but they’re far from the only type of medical workers out there.
If you gravitate toward finance or technology, then you might want to look into a career in medical reimbursement or medical coding. You could also be an equipment technician or programmer. There’s lots of opportunity in medical research and pharmacology, including sales and management positions, and health care services is a growing field where entrepreneurial and office jobs abound.
You may want to look for an entry-level job and gain some experience and exposure to the different types of positions before committing to a career path. You may also be able to volunteer, job shadow, or set up a consultation meeting to check out the options before taking any next steps, depending on what types of jobs you’re interested in and the level of privacy or security clearance associated with them.
Once you’ve identified how your skills and interests match with health care career opportunities, you need to look at the qualifications needed. In nearly all cases, you’ll need some specialized medical training.
Depending on the specialization, you might take a certificate or degree program, or even a general post-secondary program with some specialist medical courses included. A care worker would complete a certificate program teaching them some core skills, for instance. A more specialized career would call for more education such as a medical coding degree.
Unlike many other careers, since health care professional roles are usually associated with a very specific educational track, it’s much easier to get a job right out of your program instead of trying to figure out how to gain experience as well as education in order to get hired. In part, this is because most educational programs include some practical work as part of the studies, so you’ll have hands-on experience. However, in some cases, prior work experience in another sector or volunteer experience may also help you get a more desirable position or higher pay faster.
Health care careers are highly rewarding and secure against instability in the job market. They also offer more different types of professional opportunity than you may have realized, so take the time to explore your options today.