For a satisfying, caring and all-round good career path, look no further than a career in health. There are plenty of options for people of all skills as well as some seriously dedicated paths. It helps to start early, get educated and train up if you want to become a doctor – but that being said, health gives opportunities for career changes. With that in mind, let’s break down the roles you can take up in the business of health and welfare.
Firstly, it’s the typical doctor or GP. Doctors take many forms from the studious psychiatrists who examine the workings of the mind – to lab coated doctors working on medication, and doctors milling through the halls of big inner-city hospitals. Becoming a doctor is serious, serious business and requires a dedication that not many people have. A role as a doctor is also going to place you on the forefront of medical knowledge, so it’s a very big ask!
To become a doctor, it’s best to start young – but that doesn’t mean the door is closed. It’s just easier. You need to achieve some form of scientific or healthcare bachelor’s degree to get accepted into a medical school that can train you to become a doctor. Medical school applicants are required to have a grounded knowledge in a number of major disciplines – from biology to physics and chemistry to math! Medical students are also expected to pick up healthcare experience by volunteering at medical facilities. There are various tests that need to be taken to be accepted into medical school, and these may vary depending on your country of work. Upon your commencement of training at a medical, you’ll be expected to complete a medical degree that will round up your knowledge of key medical areas. The secondary degree isn’t the end though – you’ll be expected to completed residency at a medical practice to ensure you can work with patients. When that’s all over and done with – you’ll need to complete licensing exams and become certified – over and over. That’s just about it!
Nursing has always been seen as a ‘female’ role, but that’s false. The medical world is run by nurses and healthcare assistants. While not as comprehensive as becoming a doctor, training pathways are still required to become a nurse. A university education, or a fast track program is usually the main path – but there can be other ways into the field. There is also plenty of progression for nurses who complete a RN to BSN Online course which could see them progress from the sidelines of medical care to the front lines. Healthcare assistants can be trained up with foundation training and usually progress into a nursing role.
In terms of first line response – paramedics and ambulance technicians offer an exciting career path. Leadership and vehicle operation skills are key – but most roles in this area also require a specific degree and route of training. It may be worth learning to drive and picking up experience in another medical field before you attempt to train as a paramedic.
If you are qualified in a scientific field – it’s likely that you could excel in the pharmaceutical industry. Technicians and scientists are always sought after by companies on the verge of medical breakthroughs. This path will require you to be a graduate in a biological or medical science. Other areas that follow less intensive training are pharmacy workers – who dole out prescriptions to patients. Some pharmacy roles do require a specialised qualification – though.
Not all roles in the medical world involve medicine though. Plenty of people skilled with business, communication, and finance can find a lot of work in healthcare.
Very few people think about this – but behind the nurses, doctors, paramedics, and healthcare assistants are teams that pretty much run the healthcare world. Think about it – in a practice, how can a doctor, who has to study, who has to tend to patients and who has to perform minor surgery, also take in cash and chase up payments? It’s not feasible.
In the medical world, even in countries with free healthcare – credit controllers are needed to chase payments from healthcare providers and health insurance companies. There also needs to be a practice or hospital manager who can organize the purchase of medical equipment and keep both the practice and the surgery running. HR staff need to tend to payroll and help keep the surgery in business while tending to the needs of staff.
If you have a background in business or finance and an interest in medicine or healthcare, it could be you who is running the business side of a medical practice while the doctors do their thing. This will require experience and training – but this is commonplace for any management position anyway.
Lower down the scale, insurance agents and credit controllers are key. In some instances, it won’t be the patient who needs to pay. Big companies, insurance providers and other agencies can owe doctors and practices a lot of money – but won’t pay up. This can also be on the other side and practices need to pay other companies for services. Basically – the medical world is always on the lookout for people clued up on finance.
Receptionist staff are crucial to the healthcare profession and deal with people from all walks of life. This is usually a entry level role, and in most cases, career progression and training is offered and encouraged. A calm demeanour, a desire to progress, basic medical knowledge and good telephone manner will help you succeed in this role. A more intense and specialized version of a receptionist will dispatch ambulances and provide medical advice over the phone.
If you’ve no experience at all, but want to get involved in health – seek volunteering opportunities which could propel you into a desired role. That being said, for every single role there is a dedicated pathway – so it’s all about identifying the role you desire and moving into it through training and dedication.