Most people spend a large proportion of their week at work, and (unfortunately) it’s often not a career that’s genuinely fulfilling. Deciding what job you want to do is rarely easy, especially when you’re in high school and essentially still a child. However, one good aspect of today’s society is that it’s never too late to change your mind about what you want to do with your life. These days it’s very common for people to go back to college as an adult to retrain in a different field or begin again in an entry-level job on a different career path. As such, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.
Therefore, the next question to think about is what job you want to retrain for. One popular field that’s well worth considering is healthcare. Working in the health industry enables you to dedicate yourself to helping others, making it a very satisfying path to choose. Not only that, but there are also so many different job options open to you within the field that you’re almost certain to find one that suits your personality, skills and interests.
Need some inspiration? Here are nine healthcare job options to get you started – and none of them is a physician! Hopefully at least one will jump out at you.
1. Registered Nurse
If you asked a group of people to name a job linked with healthcare, the majority of them would probably say nurse. Being a registered nurse (or RN) involves caring for a wide variety of patients of all ages and with all sorts of different medical conditions. Some of the duties you can expect to have include taking medical histories, dressing wounds, taking blood, administering certain medications, assisting with some medical procedures, monitoring patient progress, completing various administration tasks, and educating people about how to live a healthy lifestyle.
As you gain experience, you may have the chance to specialize in an area of nursing that’s of particular interest to you. For example, that could be working with a specific age group (for example, as a pediatric nurse), helping patients with a certain medical condition (for example, an oncology nurse), or working in a particular healthcare setting (for example, a critical care nurse).
2. Healthcare Administrator
Not all healthcare jobs have to involve clinical work, and there are many other types of skills you can bring to the table that will help. One such option is to become a healthcare administrator. This involves assisting with the management of a medical facility’s business operations, for instance by handling billing and other financial matters, arranging staff schedules and hiring of new staff members, and generally ensuring that everything runs smoothly. The overall idea is to produce better outcomes for the patients that attend your facility.
If this is a role that interests you, you’ll be pleased to hear that the healthcare administration job outlook is extremely positive. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of medical and health service manager positions will grow by 32% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than average. Plus, with a median annual salary of $104,280, you can anticipate high levels of financial stability.
Within the field of healthcare there are a variety of technologist roles open to you. Here are just three examples to give you an idea of what’s out there:
- Surgical technologist – this involves ensuring that operating rooms are fully stocked with all the requisite supplies and equipment, sterilizing them, and then assisting the surgeons during procedures
- Nuclear medicine technologist – this involves preparing and then administering radioactive drugs to patients, for instance as part of diagnostic imaging tests
- Radiologic technologist – this involves conducting certain diagnostic imaging techniques such as MRIs, CT scans and X-rays to help physicians determine what’s wrong with a patient and how best to treat them
The most common route into all of these roles is to get an associate degree, which only takes a couple of years to complete. You may also need to become certified or licensed by the relevant board.
4. Personal Trainer
Moving away from hospitals, one great job choice for people who love to stay active and have endless amounts of energy is to be a fitness trainer. In this role you’ll assist people in achieving their individual fitness goals through a mixture of exercise and nutritional advice. Although the most common situation is helping clients to lose weight or gain muscle, the job could also involve training them for their first ultramarathon or enabling them to get back to their peak level of fitness after an injury.
As a personal trainer, you can choose to work through a gym or as a freelancer. Similarly, you can offer both individual sessions and group classes such as yoga, spin or aerobics. It’s a role in which you can feel a lot of satisfaction as you watch people improve week after week. In addition to being fit yourself, you’ll need an understanding of anatomy and biology as well as psychology, in order to motivate your clients to work hard and succeed.
We all know that obesity is a big problem in our society today – and shows no signs of going away any time soon. As such, in addition to personal trainers, there’s a huge need for skilled dieticians in our healthcare industry. In this role you’ll prepare meal plans and offer advice on what people should (and shouldn’t) eat in order to achieve their goals.
While this is very often to lose weight, it could also be to manage a specific medical condition such as diabetes, or to have a healthy pregnancy. Another possible path is to work in a hospital and help those who are suffering from nutritional deficiencies (for example as a side effect of cancer treatment), who have an eating disorder, or who are malnourished.
The normal requirement to become a dietician is to have at least a bachelor’s degree if not a master’s, during which you’ll study topics such as food chemistry, sports nutrition, bioenergetics, metabolism, sustainable nutrition and nutrition science.
Those who are keen to find a hands-on healthcare job in a fast-paced environment should definitely consider becoming a paramedic. This is the highest level of EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and involves providing advanced medical care to people directly out in the field. For example, you could find yourself responding to anything from road traffic collisions to heart attacks and even mass casualty incidents. Some of the tasks you might find yourself performing include treating wounds, administering medication, providing breathing support and resuscitating people.
This role is not for the faint hearted, and requires you to be able to stay calm under extreme pressure and in distressing, unpredictable – potentially even dangerous – situations. You’ll need good physical fitness, communication and problem-solving skills, plus the ability to think quickly.
7. 911 Dispatcher
If you like the idea of assisting with emergency situations but want a job that’s a little less physical than a paramedic, becoming a 911 dispatcher might appeal to you. This involves answering 911 calls from the public, prioritizing them according to the situation, and dispatching the most appropriate emergency services to help. In certain cases, you may also have to provide life-saving instructions over the phone, at the same time as keeping the caller calm.
You must have excellent communication skills for this role, as you need to get all of the necessary information for the first responders accurately and quickly. It’s also important to have good computer skills, as you’ll be using various types of software and different systems to carry out the job.
8. Occupational Therapist
Being an occupational therapist involves working with patients of all ages who are ill, injured or who have a disability. Your role will be to help them carry out everyday activities, and also recover, develop and/or improve their physical skills. This requires you to evaluate their current condition and needs, then develop an effective treatment plan to suit their goals and circumstances.
The most common route into this job is to complete a master’s degree in occupational therapy, and then pass a national examination in order to get your license. You’ll need strong communication and interpersonal skills, plenty of compassion and patience, in addition to creativity and adaptability so that you can help your patients as much as possible.
9. Mental Health Counselor
Turning to mental health rather than physical, those who are interested in psychology might like to consider a career as a mental health counselor. It was estimated that in 2020 nearly one in five adults in the US was living with some form of mental illness, which indicates just how crucial this role is.
The position involves using a selection of treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, medication and psychotherapy to assist people with a broad range of mental health conditions. These could be anything from depression and anxiety to phobias, OCD, stress, PTSD, eating disorders and addiction.
You could choose to work in a number of locations, including hospitals, specialist clinics, nonprofit organizations and even correctional facilities, with patients of all ages and backgrounds. The best advice for those interested in working in this field is to study for a master’s degree in mental health counseling. High levels of empathy and active listening skills are also a must.