Healthcare jobs offer the compensation, benefits, and security that we've come to expect from a career that requires the completion of higher education, even though many fields outside healthcare continue to struggle to meet these standards. If you're trying to make a big decision about your future, its worth putting time into researching the opportunities available in healthcare.
The Future of Healthcare Jobs
Finding a job in this economy can be one of the most painstaking, grueling experiences that someone can go through. Even still, finding a job that, on its own, can offer enough in terms of salary and benefits to support your costs of living can be much more difficult. Many are finding themselves working multiple positions and an unhealthy amount of hours in order to make ends meet.
However, the healthcare industry has been, and is expected to continue, exploding as advances in care are continually made and the average age of the U.S. population continues to rise. In fact, in healthcare jobs have accounted "for one-third of the employment gain in health care over the same period."
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Types of Healthcare Jobs
Hospitals are one of the leading employers in the country, and with that comes a myriad of positions ranging from food service workers to anesthesiologists and surgeons. With this varying level of education requirement for employment, practically anyone can land a position in a hospital facility.
Clinical Healthcare Jobs
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Dietitians & nutritionists are essential in designing nutrition programs to protect health, alleviate the symptoms of some types of diseases, and to prevent allergic reactions. They are the experts in understanding the importance of nutrition as the foundation of good health, from conception to old age.
This category includes:
Clinical & medical laboratory technicians are highly trained, precisely skilled laboratory scientists whose duty it is to discover the presence or absence of disease. They provide the data that physicians need to determine the best treatments for their patients.
Their work does not often place them in positions to be personally involved with patients, but laboratory technicians and technologists play a vital role in the process of providing individualized care. Medical researchers generate data used in identification and treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions.
The role of a nurse ranges from direct patient care to case management to establishment of nursing practice standards. Nurses requires a broad base of knowledge that is used to assess, devise a plan of care and intervene to promote a positive outcome to a patient’s health situation. They use their knowledge to care for others and teach them how to prevent disease or cope with an illness that has already struck.
The nursing category includes:
In recent years, pharmacist has consistently been ranked high on the list of best jobs in the United States. Pharmacists are responsible for dispensing medications as prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners. Pharmacists assist with monitoring patient health by advising physicians and other health care providers on the selection, interactions, recommended uses, suggested dosages and potential side effects of medications.
Jobs in the pharmacy category include:
Physicians come in many different specialties and occupy the highest tier of healthcare jobs available. They also take the most intense and longest to train, making them very valuable to the workforce.
Most complete at least four years of undergraduate, followed by for years of medical school, and an additional residency program. Some require a fellowship on top of the aforementioned requirements, adding another 1 - 3 years.
By far the longest list of employment options based on specialty.
These healthcare jobs include:
Physician assistants (PAs) are licensed medical providers who diagnose and treat illnesses and diseases, including prescribing medication. Most PAs work in hospitals, clinics and physician offices under the supervision of a licensed physician. PAs are able to treat patients with autonomy within the framework of their relationship with the physician.
Physician assistant is an attractive job that offers the flexibility to transition into different areas of medicine without needing additional education and training beyond the initial 27 month average length of a PA program.
Technicians and technologists are primarily responsible for operating the testing machinery involved in their field of expertise. For example, radiologic technologists are typically responsible for conducting x-rays, collecting data, preparing patients, and sometimes administering small treatments.
Essentially, they act as the physician assistant does to a medical doctor. While their primary responsibility is not to diagnose conditions and/or illnesses, their role is mainly to assist in the identification and treatment of them.
Healthcare jobs as technicians include:
Those in the technologist field include:
Physical therapists and rehabilitation professionals work closely with clients, patients and their families to promote, restore and maintain overall wellness and fitness, the goal being a more active, more satisfying lifestyle.
They provide specialized services that help improve mobility, help improve or restore function, relieve pain and discomfort, and reverse or marginalize physical disabilities that result from disease or injuries. Patients that physical therapists work with may include the following:
These healthcare jobs include:
Speech-language pathologists work to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with speech and language disorders. SLPs treat people that have swallowing disorders or speech, language, and communication complications.
Most of these issues are the results of stroke, hearing loss, brain injury, or pathological stress. For instance, a person with a stutter would work with a SLP to correct their speech and break the barriers that hinder their communication.
Non-Clinical Healthcare Jobs
Healthcare administrators are those leaders who hold the reins at hospitals, physician group practices, home health agencies and nursing homes. Their collective role is to ensure the smooth day-to-day function of the hospital and keep things running in order to provide the appropriate care to as many patients as they can.
This category of healthcare jobs includes:
As experts in human behavior, emotional trauma, and quality of life, these healthcare professionals work to help patients cope with life-changing events, traumatic losses, and unsavory circumstances that befall the best of us. They use their knowledge to navigate the inner-workings of a patient's mind, thinking, and lifestyle to offer them the answers they seek.
Healthcare jobs within counseling & social services include:
Every industry requires accounting and finance experts to ensure that the business-side of things continues to run smoothly and remain solvent. These professions handle the economic aspects of running a hospital facility, which can be daunting considering the number of insurance claims and payments made on a daily basis.
Marketers work closely with advertisers and other professionals on the business end of the hospital in order to stimulate financial and organizational growth. They are the one's responsible for connecting the services offered by the hospital or facility to the patients who may be in need of them.
Direct sales representatives and sales managers serve nearly the same purpose as marketers, but typically do business-to-business sales, rather than connecting patients to services. In order to be a successful inside sales representative in the healthcare industry, they must have enough knowledge about the products and services their organization offers, as well as the needs of medical professionals, healthcare facilities, and pharmaceutical companies.
As with every other industry, hospitals require public relations professionals to ensure that the company's/hospital's brand image is viewed positively by the public. It is their job to cultivate and shape public opinion, while simultaneously maintaining a narrative with their customers, patients, and shareholders. Aspiring hospital public relations experts must have a passion for healthcare as well as the people skills necessary to sort out potentially tough situations in the future.
All hospitals must purchase supplies, medications, and equipment in order to keep the wheels turning. Its the responsibility of supply chain managers to ensure that the flow of these goods continues and that the increasing or decreasing needs of the facility are adequately met. If the hospital is in a state of constant expansion, they must adjust accordingly to ensure that the care of their patients can be met.
Chief executive officers, chief operational officers, chief information officers, and chief financial officers are at the very top of the healthcare jobs ladder. Their earning potential, depending on their experience, place of employment, and how long they've been with the company, can be significantly more than that of a physician. However, all responsibility for the department(s) that they lead falls on their shoulders. Any increase in growth and productivity is met with praise and increased pay, but organizational failures can put their job at high risk.
Again, as with any other industry today, hospitals need information technology professionals to maintain the systems they have in place to manage the business and the care of patients. Without these systems in place, organizations would not be able to handle nearly as much volume as the use of automated computer systems allow them to. IT professionals implement new technologies, maintain and improve old ones, protect the hospital's systems from data leaks or intrusion, and consistently improve security.
These healthcare jobs include:
Which Healthcare Job is Best for You?
That is the million dollar question. If you're considering going into the healthcare industry, its likely that the position you're considering is somewhere on our list. Whether you're planning to go into a clinical setting to work directly with patients or plan to work on maintaining the business or technological infrastructure necessary for the facility to continue, healthcare jobs offer some of the most promising futures out of any industry.
However, most importantly when choosing your future career, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses before diving head-first into a new career field. Throw around the options on this list, decide how much education you're willing to complete, what salary you'd like to have, the amount of free time you'd like to have in your life, and the environment that you'd like to work in while making your decision.
Regardless of what position you ultimately choose, the healthcare industry is expected to continue to grow over the next several decades and there will always be a place for talented and passionate hospital employees.