While some sectors of the US economy have struggled in recent years, health care has always remained a strong source of employment. In 2019, the demand for recruits to fill health care jobs is as strong as ever, and for those going into this sector, there are many advantages, including the stability, financial and personal rewards that come from working in a dedicated field.
However, the health care sector is so wide-ranging and includes so many career options that it can be tricky to work out which is the best for you. How do you make the right choice?
Think about motivation
Before you choose a health care path, are you sure that this is the right field for you? Health care careers are extremely tough and demanding, and unless you start with the right motivation, you are unlikely to succeed. For example, if you are expecting an adventurous, glamorous working life, then you are likely to be disappointed! On the other hand, if you are motivated by the desire to help people, then that is an excellent starting point for a health care career. There are other factors worth considering. Perhaps you enjoy biology or chemistry, and you like the idea of being involved in researching cures and treatments. As with any career choice, it is a good idea to ask yourself what your motivation is for wanting to take this particular route.
As a health care professional, you will be expected to work in many different environments. If you like working directly with people, then working in a hospital or medical practice could be ideal for you. If you are good with children, then pediatric work could be ideal, while those who are motivated to assist senior citizens could find fulfilment in an assisted living community. If you prefer not to interact with people, then a career in a lab or administration might be preferable. If you are tough and want a challenge, then you could consider working in the ER. The health care sector is so vast that there are countless opportunities, so take some time to think about where you’d like to work.
Preferred job role
The health care sector includes an enormous selection of potential jobs. On the medical side of things, there are several options. You can train to become a doctor, a surgeon or a medical practitioner. Nursing incorporates many different levels of career, and then there are the vast number of allied health jobs, including technicians and technologists. Health services and caregivers also perform important roles, and there are also opportunities to work as a pharmacy technician, billing specialist, administrative assistant or physiotherapist. It is worth exploring all of these options in depth to work out which particular health care role you are most interested in filling.
Finding your educational path
In terms of career, there are over 200 separate health care options, and many offer the opportunity to progress and advance. In addition, the constantly developing state of medical knowledge means that new treatments and career specializations are being created all the time. For most health care careers, there are clearly defined educational routes. For example, if you are interested in going into nursing, you can consider a college diploma or a nursing degree, such as the nursing generalist bachelor’s degree. Depending on which career option you choose, your training could be anything from a year to ten years and more, so you can plan how much time and money you are willing to invest in order to reach your preferred health care role.
Skills and strengths
One important aspect of choosing a health care career that is often overlooked is the extent to which your skills and strengths match the requirements of the job. Most health care jobs demand the ability to work under pressure and to take on responsibility, as a patient’s recovery or even their life could depend on how well you do your job. A lot of health care jobs also demand a high level of communication skills as you will be interacting with people from all kinds of different backgrounds, and you will often be expected to work long or unusual hours, all of which will demand resilience, determination and the willingness to make sacrifices for your career.
If you think that you have these qualities, then you may well be suited to one of the many rewarding careers available in the health care sector, where you can not only fulfil your potential but also put something back into the community and make a real difference to other people’s lives.