When you think of healthcare, what do you picture? Likely, you picture scenes from the front lines, like emergency room visits or longterm hospital care. But behind the obvious, healthcare goes far beyond the scenes of doctors’ visits. If you’re interested in working in healthcare, there’s a myriad of possibilities for your career. Healthcare can encompass everything from a mental health counselor to a physical therapist. A healthcare worker is anyone who works toward restoring or maintaining your health and wellbeing, in any capacity. If you’re interested in learning more about a career in healthcare, you may be curious about what the best path would be.
Some Career Options
While you may associate a career in healthcare with nurses, doctors, and surgeons, a career in healthcare doesn’t necessarily mean you’re destined to a life clothed in a set of unflattering scrubs—however comfortable they may be.
In the healthcare field, there are five primary areas of study, commonly referred to as the five clusters, or the five pathways. Those five pathways include:
- Diagnostic Services include everything from phlebotomists performing lab draws to radiology technicians, where you have the opportunity to specialize in the three main areas of radiology; X-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, or further your education and land a career in something even more specialized, like sonography or interventional-radiology.
- Therapeutic Services rely heavily on working directly with the patients to improve upon the status of either their physical or mental health. Therapeutic Services includes a wide variety of career options, from studying behavioral disorders in children to respiratory and physical therapy.
- Health Informatics is also sometimes referred to as Health Information Systems, obtains, stores, and retrieves patient healthcare information that can help maintain or improve the care and treatment of a patient. As a Health Informaticist, you could pursue a career in Medical Records, as a Health IT Consultant, a transcriptionist, or even as an Informatics departmental director.
- Support Services tend to fall more on the behind the scenes and paperwork side of things rather than direct patient care. Educational requirements vary more for a position in Support Services than in any of the clinical positions mentioned in this list, as you may find yourself working in the dietary department of a hospital or as a medical librarian. Often, a career in Support Services will offer on the job training.
- Biotechnology Research and Development focus heavily on science and mathematics. A career in Biotechnology Research and Development will put you on the frontline of discovering and developing new treatments and technology that will be put to use in everyday treatment. Here, you can work in biomedical engineering, epidemiology, or even as a forensic science technician.
How to Find the Right Career
Now that we’ve discussed a few of the career options you may want t to explore, it’s time to find the right career for you. However, there are a few important things you should consider before making any big decisions when it comes to making a career switch.
First, what kind of schooling is your new career going to require? Have you already completed some of the prerequisite classes and courses, or medical programs? Will you need to go to/go back to school?
Secondly, what type of pay can you expect to receive? Is it a livable wage that will allow you to comfortably cover your expenses (ie. student loans, travel, and basic utilities)?
This last item to consider may be the most important, but can understandably be the hardest to accept, what kind of job prospects are out there? Are you entering into a dying field, is the job market going to be overly competitive? Entering a new career field can obviously be stressful, so be sure to do your research so you can find the best career opportunities available to you.