When most think of healthcare jobs and hospital careers, positions like surgeon, nurse, or pediatrician quickly come to mind. While these are fantastic jobs, there are many other interesting opportunities within the healthcare field that go unnoticed. And some of them don’t even require that you complete medical school!
If you've found this article, you're likely unsatisfied with the general career options and are searching for a more unconventional path. Does becoming a Nurse Practitioner or Physician sound too general for your interests? You may better off choosing a more specialized field of study that revolves around a more focused, central issue. The healthcare industry has plenty of healthcare jobs that are incredibly unique and can mix up your daily schedule.
The first step in narrowing your options requires evaluating yourself and your personality honestly, and then eliminating those careers that don't align with your nature. The importance of being sure about your career path cannot be understated, particularly in healthcare. It can be tremendously expensive and time-consuming to make a career change down the line.
If you're looking for some career opportunities that aren't boring or will provide some excitement in your daily routine, these are some of the best unique healthcare jobs you should consider if you're passionate about working in the healthcare industry or changing your career in the healthcare industry.
Below, we've compiled a list of the most unique healthcare jobs and a brief overview of the responsibilities and areas of expertise in which they engage. If any grab your attention, browse our job listings to see who’s hiring in your area.
Not your average pharmacy job, Nuclear Pharmacy is a pharmaceutical specialty that prepares drugs that involve radioactive materials. According to Purdue University’s Department of Pharmacy Practice, Nuclear Pharmacy is “a specialty area of pharmacy practice dedicated to the compounding and dispensing of radioactive materials for use in nuclear medicine procedures.”
In practice, a Nuclear Pharmacist prepares and handles any form of medication that involves radionuclides. These medicines are used to treat many illnesses involving the heart, lungs, bones, and brain. Nuclear medication is also commonly used to treat many kinds of cancer.
Nuclear Pharmacists will also use different radioactive drugs to identify what a patient could be suffering from when other medical diagnosing techniques or medical treatment techniques don't work. For instance, a patient might need to have a small amount of radioactive material placed into their bloodstream to be used to trace where a certain concentration of illnesses or ailments are within a patient. In addition, Nuclear Pharmacists might develop and help patients through the compounding, dispensing, and procurement of radioactive pharmaceuticals for patients.
Most Nuclear Pharmacists work side by side with other healthcare professionals directly involved in nuclear medicine that help diagnose and treat ill patients that need radioactive therapy or need assistance in handling radioactive drugs and materials.
Accreditation in nuclear pharmacy can be obtained post-graduate through a certification program offered by many universities throughout the country.
When people think of the team that performs major heart surgery, most people think of the Surgeon, or Anesthesiologist. While these are certainly key components of the team, an equally important member is the Perfusionist.
This highly trained individual is responsible for operating the cardiopulmonary bypass machine or the “heart-lung” machine. This machine is responsible for performing the function of the heart during heart surgery. The perfusionist is responsible for maintaining the patient's circulatory system and respiratory systems during surgery.
To become a perfusionist, one must complete a perfusion training program. Programs are offered all across the U.S. and take a minimum of four years. And although this may seem like a long time, the median salary of $121,995 makes it worth the effort.
Perfusionists typically spend most of their time in the operating room and work with other healthcare professionals to measure certain blood metrics and phyisological states to ensure that the patient's respiratory and circulatory system are operating properly throughout the surgery.
The specialty of wound care revolves around the treating, bandaging, and treating of patient’s flesh wounds such as burns, unhealed surgical incisions, and bed sores. The primary concern of a wound-care specialist is preventing infection and speeding up recovery time.
Wound Care Specialists are designed to help treat patients that are suffering from mild to severe wounds that need to be taken care of. Most Wound Care Specialists will spend most of their day evaluating and assessing patient wounds, establishing a treatment plan, administering stitches or wound management devices, interacting and consulting with other healthcare professionals and Physicians, cleaning and bandaging wounds, and monitoring the healing process with the patient.
Wound Care Specialists are also in charge of educating their patients about what to look out for throughout the course of the healing process, and what kind of prevention strategies they should use to ensure their wound doesn't get infected or susceptible to foreign bacteria.
Most wound-care specialty clinics require that applicants be a licensed, registered nurse, PT, OT, or related healthcare professional. If this requirement is met, applicants are eligible to complete the wound-care certification.
A Pedorthist is a healthcare professional who is trained to make specialized footwear for patients with conditions involving lower extremities and feet. A Pedorthist assesses the patient’s condition and makes the necessary modifications to their footwear or corrective devices in order to assist in their recovery or rehabilitation. Other, less severe cases that can require the expertise of a Pedorthist include instances of flat feet, bunions, or diabetes.
Pedorthists will help patients by fabricating, fitting, adjusting, and modifying different devices that help patients get over the pain they might suffer from a certain ailment, illness, or disabilities associated with their foot or ankle. These ailments or disabilities can cause significant pain for patients and traditional devices might not be sufficient in assisting the patient with overcoming their pain. Pedorthists assist patients with recognizing whether or not they need a custom fabricated device or whether they can use a traditional device to support their foot and ankle.
Pedorthists also work with other healthcare professionals to develop or design devices that will help identify potential structure, nerve, circulation, joint, or skin conditions that a patient might be suffering from for quicker treatment procedures. In some cases, Pedorthists will work with patients to determine whether or not a Physical Therapist is needed to help treat a patient and assist them with returning to their normal function and routine.
In order to be awarded the title of Certified Pedorthist (C. Ped.) one must meet the following criteria: A high school degree, GED, or college degree. You must complete the National Commission of Orthotic and Prosthetic Education education course. And you must also complete 1,000 hours of pedorthic care, either before or after completing the education program.
Cytotechnologists are healthcare professionals that focus on cells and cellular anomalies in order to diagnose diseases that could be terminal, such as cancer, while they're still in the early stages of development. They can significantly improve the probability of patient recovery by effectively discovering illnesses early.
Cytotechnologists spend a large chunk of their day studying different microscopic cell abnormalities and attempt to identify different bacterial infections, cancer, viral infections, meningitis, amongst other serious illnesses and diseases. Cytotechnologists are also in charge of working independently to analyze and interpret different specimens for certain fluid and tissue issues that a patient could be suffering from.
Cytotechnologists also frequently try to identify any potential abnormalities in the shape, size, and color of cellular and components. If you're passionate about working in a laboratory and identifying cellular structures that could impact how a patient is feeling or how the makeup of their cell affects their overall health and well-being, then you should consider a career as a Cytotechnologist.
To become a Cytotechnologist, one must complete a cytotechnology program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the national certification exam offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASPC).
If this is the career path that you choose to pursue, you can expect to earn, on average, $70,800 per year. And with about 165,000 cytotechnologists currently employed, growth trends are expected to continually increase over the next 15 years to an estimated 250,000 by 2030.
Another one of the most unique healthcare jobs is a Medical Illustrator. Medical Illustrators have one of the most creative jobs in the healthcare industry because they help combine the most up-to-date industry knowledge and combine it with art. Medical Illustrators focus on creating different drawings, graphic designs, illustrations, and graphic representations of certain body parts, cellular bodies, ailments, diseases, disabilities, and more. These are vital to providing a visual representation for those healthcare professionals who want to connect the knowledge with visual representations.
Medical Illustrators use a variety of different techniques to develop these graphic representations. Whether it's computer-assisted design programs or traditional drawing techniques, a career as a Medical Illustrator will largely depend on what kind of designs you are tasked with making. Some only require hand-drawn art to represent certain medical imagery, whereas others require 3D Models or complicated figurines. In other words, medical illustrators can work on a variety of projects based on what the project needs. If you're passionate about working with computer-assisted design programs like 3D modeling software, then you can still find a career as a Medical Illustrator.
Medical Illustrators must have detailed knowledge about the human anatomy or biological sciences and often combine that with a fine arts degree. To become a Medical Illustrator, individuals must obtain a Bachelor's degree and in some cases obtain a Master's degree in Medical Illustration. Only a handful of universities or schools offer Medical Illustration programs, which means the field can be incredibly competitive. One way to separate yourself and to get into these programs is to ensure that you're developing a strong portfolio that you can use in the admittance consideration.
Phlebotomists are a critical component of the healthcare industry. Much of an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan revolves around collecting patient blood samples and sending them to the laboratory. Phlebotomists are also responsible for labeling different blood samples with the patient names, dates collected and organizing them for laboratory testing.
Becoming a Phlebotomist is one of the most unique healthcare jobs because of the people you will interact with on a daily basis. Nearly every patient will require a blood sample for further testing if they're being evaluated for a considerable disease, illness, or ailment — which means that you can interact with so many patients throughout your career. If you're passionate about working with others and interacting with a variety of people. Phlebotomists will often work with a variety of people from all different walks of life. There will be patients who are young, old, familiar, and unfamiliar with the healthcare industry and have a unique story to tell each time. If this sounds like something you're interested in finding in a unique career, then becoming a Phlebotomist is one of the most unique healthcare jobs you can consider.
Because so many patients are also afraid of potential bloodwork or having their blood samples collected, being a Phlebotomist is also a great career for those individuals who are compassionate with others and comfortable calming them down with some of the scary things they associate with the healthcare industry.
Individuals can become a Phlebotomist by attending a postsecondary education training program that can last between eight weeks to a year. From there, depending upon the state you are working in or healthcare employer, additional certifications might be necessary before you can officially be hired. If certification is required, then the expectation is that the certification would remain active and ongoing.
Dental Technicians are important pieces in the dental healthcare industry. Dental Technicians assist with the construction, fit, and repair of dental appliances,dental devices, and other dental fixtures. One such example is dentures or other dental prosthetics that a patient needs. Dental Technicians are responsible for creating these orthodontic fixtures and devices for patients. For those individuals who want to find a healthcare career where they can use their manual dexterity skills and develop devices and tools that patients desperately need, a career as a Dental Technician is a unique healthcare job to consider.
Dental Technicians are responsible for filling orders for various dental prosthetics that have been ordered. To effectively fill these orders, Dental Technicians will take models and molds of a patient's mouth and then create medical prosthetics based off of these molds through the use of plaster, wax, metal, porcelain, and hand tools.
Dental Technicians can work in a variety of locations, which will ultimately affect the variety of medical prosthetics they can create as a technician. For those Dental Technicians who work in large companies, they might only specialize in one or a few prosthetic devices, whereas in contrast, those individuals who work in a smaller dental office or dental facility might focus on creating a variety of dental prosthetics.
Becoming a Dental Technician is a great job for those individuals who are looking for a unique healthcare job where the focus is to pay attention to aesthetics, detail, and do precision work with their hands.
To become a Dental Technician, a Dental Technician degree can be earned through an Associate degree program or certification program. There are also certification programs available for those healthcare professionals that do not want to attend a degree program, and instead want to pursue a certification program.
Informatics Specialists are those healthcare professionals who help translate medical records and translate them into usable data in electronic record keeping systems for patients. This helps healthcare professionals find patient treatment records, insurance information, medical histories, and more. As the healthcare industry rapidly transforms from a mostly-paper documentation system to an electronic recording system, Informatics Specialists are essential in helping this transition.
Informatics Specialists help convert all of the paper medical records into electronic records or electronic files that are easily accessible by other healthcare professionals. Part of this process involves managing the information database and ensuring that patient privacy is being followed when entering the new records and medical patient data.
Informatics Specialists are also responsible for turning a bunch of large data into usable information. They can identify potential trends that might be developing over time by developing unique software and tracking programs.
For those individuals who are looking at this unique healthcare job, the best way to become an Informatics Specialist is to get a degree in Biology, Genetics, or Pre-Med, and also have a strong focus in both Computer Science and Programming.
As the healthcare industry attempts to incorporate more big data into the decision making process, Informatics Specialists can expect to see roughly seven percent job growth.
Medical Science Liaisons are most often former healthcare professionals who transition into an advisory or consulting role with certain sub-sections of the healthcare industry or certain leaders. Medical Science Liaisons often work with Physicians, clinicians, and researchers to provide critical insight into certain products, scientific advice, knowledge experts, and advice on upcoming treatment plans and initiatives. In addition, Medical Science Liaisons will often provide advice based on certain clinical data or scientific research for the healthcare industry.
Medical Science Liaisons will also frequently work with certain healthcare companies and organizations to ensure that proper branding and marketing is being funneled to healthcare professionals and healthcare decision makers. Being a Medical Science Liaison is great for those individuals who find that they are expert communicators and can effectively navigate difficult questions that need answers grounded in significant research.
Becoming a Medical Science Liaison is typically reserved for those individuals who have formerly worked in the upper echelon of the healthcare industry. For example, many healthcare professionals who are Medical Science Liaisons are former Doctors or PhD professionals.
Environmental Health Directors are those healthcare professionals who focus on helping individuals overcome issues from the health of the planet. For instance, poor sanitation can lead to an upswing in unhealthy citizens in a region. Environmental Health Directors are focused on understanding how the planet can contribute to unhealthy patients.
Environment Health Directors are a unique healthcare job because they operate outside of the normal realm in the healthcare industry. While they are focused on patient wellness, they focus on how that patient wellness is affected by certain public facility issues, sewage systems, sanitation technology, pollution factors, and more.
Working as an Environment Health Director is a unique healthcare opportunity for those individuals who want to work outside a bit more instead of being relegated to a healthcare facility or hospitals.
To become an Environmental Health Director, individuals most often need to pursue a Public Health degree, Environment Health degree, or an Environmental Science degree. Depending on the role and employment location, some healthcare facilities also ask that the Environment Health Director gets a Master's degree or another form of an advanced degree to obtain the Director level.
As the globe continually worries about the environment and the impact of climate change on the human population, Environment Health Directors are going to be in massive demand moving forward to provide answers to individuals who are less familiar with complicated topics.
Biomedical Engineers are one of the most important pieces of the modern healthcare industry and the wave of the future. Biomedical Engineers are those healthcare professionals who are responsible for developing the technology that helps push the healthcare industry into the future. Have you ever seen a science fiction show and wanted to develop modern technology that matched the scientific healthcare technology seen in the show or movie?
This is exactly what Biomedical Engineers do! Biomedical Engineers are responsible for developing new healthcare and medical devices to fight common illnesses, diseases, ailments, disabilities, and more. In addition, Biomedical Engineers develop new technology that helps healthcare professionals do things more efficiently and with greater reliability. In addition, Biomedical Engineers are responsible for training other healthcare professionals on how to properly use new equipment and incorporate it into their daily routine.
For those individuals who are looking to lead the healthcare industry into the future and are passionate about developing new medical equipment and technology to improve patient outcomes and the overall well-being of the healthcare industry should consider a career as a Biomedical Engineer.
For those individuals who are passionate about pursuing a career as a Biomedical Engineer, a degree must be obtained in Biomedical Engineering or a traditional degree in Engineering. In the event that a traditional degree in Engineering is obtained, a graduate degree or Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering is recommended.
Athletic Trainers are healthcare professionals who work directly with patients to evaluate their athletic performance, athletic ability, condition, and then create exercise plans and nutrition plans to meet their goals. Athletic Trainers are those healthcare professionals that work directly with patients who are hoping to achieve certain health and fitness goals. Athletic Trainers are different from Certified Personal Trainers because Athletic Trainers focus on sports-related injuries and training activities mainly.
Athletic Trainers assist patients by recognizing, managing, preventing, and rehabilitating injuries that a patient might have sustained from certain types of physical activity. Athletic Trainers are a vital component of the future healthcare industry because Physicians and Doctors are increasingly relying on healthcare professionals who focus on athletics to assist patients with intensive athletic therapy.
For those individuals who are interested in a unique healthcare job focused around athletics or athletic training, the path to becoming an Athletic Trainer revolves around obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology, or a Bachelor's Degree in Athletic Training. In addition, some states will require a license or certification.
One of the most unique healthcare jobs that you should consider is becoming an Art Therapist. Art Therapists help patients cope with different problems through creative endeavors. Patients might struggle expressing themselves vocally, and art therapy is a great way for them to express themselves and explain to others what they are feeling or how they are dealing with things emotionally. This is a great technique and strategy for dealing with younger patients who don't know how to properly express themselves.
Art Therapists are healthcare professionals who help lead these activities and structure them so they are fun, engaging, and therapeutic. Art therapy is also another fantastic way for healthcare professionals to identify whether or not a patient is suffering some certain psychiatric disorders or psychiatric issues.
For those individuals who are passionate about becoming an Art Therapist, these healthcare professionals must be board-certified and must also obtain a Master's degree in Art Therapy. Other background options might include a degree in Psychology or a Master's degree in Family Therapy.
Have you ever wanted to find a job where you could travel, see the world, and still get paid well? If so, becoming a Travel Nurse is the perfect job for you in the healthcare industry. Travel Nurses travel between locations for a set state of time. Sometimes these times are contract-based for a set number of weeks or months. Another way in which a Travel Nurse might operate is by traveling between patient homes, clinics, medical facilities, and hospitals. Travel Nurses also find themselves in resort locations, cruise liners, and more.
Travel Nurses also help solve many of the staffing issues that are plaguing the healthcare industry today. Travel Nurses often get compensated quite well because they have to be uprooted quite frequently depending on their contract.
To become a Travel Nurse, individuals must obtain either a Licensed Practical Nurse certification or diploma, or become a Registered Nurse by obtaining a Bachelor's of Science degree in Nursing.
For both Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses, each nurse must obtain licensure or certifications in the states or locations they wish to work as a Travel Nurse.
If you're interested in pursuing the education necessary to begin a career in one of these fields or if you've completed the requirements and are actively seeking a position, let us be your healthcare resource.
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(Article / Content Updated 2019)