The healthcare sector is one of the most important there is. It provides a fundamental need which is ensuring that people are healthy and can live a good quality life. For this reason, you will find that there is an abundance of opportunities available for anyone that has an interest in health. Whether you want to work in formal employment, work as a contractor, or start a business, it’s certainly something you can successfully do. In the following guide, you’re going to see how you can pursue a career in health if that’s the path that you want to follow.
Find Your Interests
Before you dive into a career in healthcare, be sure that it’s an area of interest for you. This is because you don’t want to invest a significant amount of time and money into a career path that you aren’t truly interested in.
In order to find your interests, you’ve got to explore what you’re passionate about. Here are a few ways that you can do this.
- Ask Questions: The first thing that you should do if you want to find your area of interest is ask the right questions. Get out a pen and paper and make a note of the things you enjoy doing, and that spark your interest. Go as far back as childhood and think about what you enjoyed doing before adulthood began.
- Explore: Once you have a list of interests, the next thing you should do is explore them. Spend time doing things outside of your daily routine whenever you get a free moment. If you already know what areas of healthcare you’d like to explore, see if you can begin volunteering or speaking to people who already do that job for a living.
- Ask Others: Sometimes, you need a more objective view, especially when it comes to your strong areas. Ask friends and family as well as other people that know you what they think your strengths are. This could give you an indication regarding whether healthcare is for you and where you’re likely to excel.
Do Industry Research
Once you’re sure that healthcare is a sector you want to pursue, the next step would be to do research in the industry. You should understand how the sector works, as well as what opportunities and challenges exist. You can do this research by reading industry reports as well as keeping up with trends in the industry.
Explore Potential Careers
The next thing that you want to do if your goal is pursuing a career in health is shortlist potential career paths. There are so many, so do your research to see which would be best for your interests and skills. Keep reading to find a couple of potential career paths you could follow.
Nurse Practitioner: One of the most common job roles that you’ll find within the nursing industry is becoming a nurse practitioner. As of 2016, there was said to be 2.86 million registered nurses in the United States, which goes to show how important this role is. As a nurse practitioner, your job would be to dispense medication, bathe patients, maintain medical records, and prepare patients for surgery to mention a few. In terms of where you could work, it could be anywhere from a physicians’ office to a hospital.
Nutritionist: If you have a thing for food and healthy eating, becoming a nutritionist may be an exciting career path to follow. As a nutritionist, your job would be to advise clients how they should eat to achieve a desired health goal. This said goal could be to lose weight or to manage a health condition. You could deliver these services in a hospital or you could decide to get your own client base instead. In case you’re wondering how much nutritionists or dieticians make, it could be anything from $47,720 to $72,490. To pursue this career, you’ll need a degree and training.
Pharmacist: Most people have interacted with a pharmacist when they need prescription drugs or over the counter health advice. Their job is as straightforward as it seems as they specialize in prescribing drugs and giving general health advice.
In order to become a pharmacist, you’ll need to a PharmD or Doctor of Pharmacy degree. If you know early on in your education that you want to become a pharmacist, it’s possible to complete your education within six years. A licensed pharmacist could work in settings such as a corporation, long-terms care facility, or a retail pharmacy.
Midwife: If you love all things pregnancy and baby. Becoming a midwife could bring you fulfilment, As a midwife, your job would be to help and support healthy women during labor, delivery and after their babies are born.
You could be delivering babies at home, in a birthing center or in a hospital depending on the woman’s personal preference. The career path of a midwife usually looks like enrolling in an associates or bachelors program in nursing, becoming a registered nurse and then applying for a graduate program in midwifery.
Therapist: For those who have more of an affinity towards mental health and psychological wellbeing, becoming a therapist is another career to consider. The job of a therapist is to help clients improve their lives, cope with challenges, and also develop better cognitive and emotional skills. In a typical therapy session, you’d probably be listening to the client’s problems and then assisting them to resolve such problems using your expertise. To become a therapist, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in psychology or something closely related. After doing that, get a master’s in clinical psychology and acquire the necessary experience.
Plastic Surgeon: These days, plastic surgery is becoming increasingly popular, so it’s definitely a career that could be lucrative. With that being said, in order to pursue a career as a plastic surgeon, you’re going to need to get a bachelor’s degree in a premedical major like biology or chemistry. You’d then need to take the MCAT, complete a four-year doctor of medicine degree and undergo a surgical residency. It can be a long path, but you could earn anywhere from $237,00 to $321,000 depending on your level of experience.
It’s difficult to summarize the educational journey of all healthcare professionals as each role has its own requirements. However, there are some similarities which include needing an undergraduate and postgraduate degree for many of the roles.
The good thing is that if you want to get into a medical school, there is no specific undergraduate major that’s required. This means that even if you have an undergraduate in business administration, you could still pursue a healthcare career with that. However, it is helpful when you take science or health-related classes in your undergraduate and do well in such classes.
If you hope to get a high status or high paying job within the healthcare sector, then look at going to graduate school. This could give you the chance at getting roles with more responsibility and better pay.
If you’re a registered nurse, then you may decide to look for online FNP programs at Baylor University as completing one could prepare you to lead the delivery of primary care to patients. This is also a program that you could pursue while working as a registered nurse.
Map Out Career Goals
When you’re pursuing a career in health, it’s crucial that you set clear career goals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you know exactly where you want to be in the next ten years, but at least have a rough idea. This could help give you some direction so that you’re able to plan your career path and make the best use of your time. Here are a few tips for setting long and short-term goals for your career.
- Have Specific Goals: When setting career goals, you should start by making sure the ones you set are specific. This means stating exactly what you want to be and avoiding vague and ambiguous goals. For instance, a specific goal could be to become a nurse practitioner at a leading hospital.
- Set Timelines: Once you have your specific goals written down, your job is then to put a timeframe to each goal. If not, it can be easy for procrastination to creep in and your goals to lag. Be realistic about how much time it could take to achieve your goal and also include a sense of urgency when giving yourself timeframes.
- Pair Goals with Actions: After setting timelines, your goal should be to pair every goal with a series of actions. If, for instance, your goal is to get a degree in nutrition, you would need to look for colleges, send out applications, and get your transcripts together. Writing down action points and setting deadlines for each will help you stay on track and measure your progress too.
- Leave Room for Flexibility: The reality is, no matter how much effort you put into planning, life doesn’t always go according to plan. You should, therefore, leave room for flexibility and detours. You could face setbacks when it comes to getting your qualifications or perhaps you may find you want to change your area of specialization. Whatever the case may be, leave room for flexibility.
Career Progression Tips
Once you do begin working within your chosen career, there will be points where you seek career progression. You may find that you want to go in the direction of your set goals or perhaps you’ll decide to take a different path. There are tips that you could take on board that could help career progression go in the right direction for you.
- Look for Opportunities: No matter what role you’re in, always look for opportunities when it comes to career progression. You can do this by keeping your ears open regarding promotions and opportunities that could thrust your career forward. In the case that you don’t hear anything, don’t be afraid of being proactive. Ask about promotions, pay rises or if it’s possible to create a new role that you think you could fill well.
- Make a Difference: If you want to stand out and drown out the competition, it’s crucial that you give one hundred percent in all you do. Focus on improving your output and delivering high-quality work all the time. You may not get noticed right away, but you’re building a good reputation for yourself. This could become useful when opportunities come around. It will also ensure you’re well prepared for bigger and better things.
- Don’t Stop Networking: Just as you should be looking for new opportunities, you should also be looking for ways to expand your network. You can do this by looking for events that are industry related and also making use of social platforms. Many times, job opportunities are shared privately before they’re advertised to the public.
When pursuing any career, you should think about getting a mentor. They can help you learn the ropes of your industry a lot faster and also give you advice when you’re facing challenges. In order to find a mentor, first think about why you want one and what you’d like the nature of your relationship to be. You can then start to look for people you would like to mentor you and contact them directly about beginning a mentorship relationship.
Be sure that you have something to bring to the table as relationships go both ways. You can add value to the relationship by valuing your mentors time and advice. Don’t show up to meetings late and be respectful at all times. For the most part, you should approach a mentorship relationship like you would a professional one. The last tip would be to make good use of social media as it’s also a way to build a mentorship relationship.
Pursuing a career in healthcare is one that can be challenging. However, if you’re passionate about what you do, the rewards should far outweigh the difficulties. Hopefully, the above guide has been useful and given you adequate insights about how to pursue a career in healthcare.