1. Career Advice
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  3. Is healthcare a good career path? Here's what you can expect
Is healthcare a good career path? Here's what you can expect

Is healthcare a good career path? Here's what you can expect

  • What are the perks of a healthcare career path?
  • What are the downsides of a healthcare career path?
  • What healthcare careers are easier to get into?
  • What healthcare careers are harder to get into?
  • Key takeaways

Asking yourself whether healthcare would be a good career path for you? This blog discusses the pros and cons of the more in-demand healthcare careers out there, and why they are/aren’t worth pursuing.

Careers in healthcare can be financially and personally enriching. They can also be grueling and stressful depending on your lifestyle and the specific career you choose to pursue. If you’re not sure whether a healthcare career path would be good for you, read this blog for info about popular healthcare professions and what to expect if you pursue them.

This article covers the following topics:

  • Why healthcare careers might fit you

  • Why healthcare careers might not fit you

  • Healthcare careers with minimal educational requirements

  • Healthcare careers with major educational requirements

What are the perks of a healthcare career path?

If you have the right qualifications and mesh well with the job’s responsibilities, healthcare professions can advance your career in the following ways:

High earnings

With a few exceptions, the salaries earned by healthcare professionals are both generous and consistent. Establish yourself as a qualified healthcare expert, and you'll be able to pay your living expenses and amass a generous amount of savings.

High demand

Even with all the breakthroughs of modern society, people still get hurt and sick on a daily basis. Gruesome as it sounds, this means very few healthcare jobs will be disappearing anytime soon, since there will always be patients, clients, and hospitals who need a healthcare professional’s services.

Making a difference in people’s lives

Fundamentally, the goal of every healthcare professional is to help people––not just their patients, but the friends and family of the people they treat. If you’re someone who takes pride and joy in making people’s lives better, a career path in healthcare could satisfy you on a professional and personal level.

What are the downsides of a healthcare career path?

Careers in healthcare have many benefits but also come with many hardships. If you’re considering healthcare as your career path, think about the following challenges and how willing you’d be to endure them:

Heavy workloads

Healthcare professionals, particularly those who work at hospitals or clinics, must be ready to work long hours and address the needs of many different patients. Emergency medical technicians, nurses, and other similar medical professionals might also be called on to work night shifts and/overtime, which can exhaust the body and disrupt sleep schedules.

High education/training requirements

Most healthcare professions have very strict education requirements (primarily because patients are counting on said professionals to stay alive and healthy). A medical doctor (MD) must spend years in both medical school and residency training programs. Other healthcare professions may have lighter qualifications but aren’t easy to get into by any means.

High levels of stress

The grueling work hours and heavy responsibilities of health care professions can be extremely stressful. Combined with other stressful factors in your life, this can lead to long-term emotional turmoil, burnout, and even physical health issues.

What healthcare careers are easier to get into?

If you’re interested in healthcare careers with low barriers to entry, professions like these are worth considering thanks to their low requirements in terms of college degree levels and professional certification:

Respiratory therapists

Respiratory therapists assist patients who have trouble breathing due to asthma, lung infections, or other such chronic ailments. Most respiratory therapists work with a hospital or clinic and qualify for their positions by earning an associate’s degree. 

Registered nurses

Depending on the specific professions, you may need to earn a bachelor’s or associate's degree or complete a nursing program in order to qualify as a registered nurse. Registered nurses tend to their patient’s needs at hospitals, nursing care centers, or private practices. Successful nurses often master transferable skills that’ll serve them well in new roles or career changes.

Phlebotomist 

Phlebotomists can find work at clinics, hospitals, and specialty labs and are primarily responsible for drawing blood samples from patients and getting them sent to the proper experts for testing. To qualify as a phlebotomist, you need to have a high school degree and pass a professional certification course.

What healthcare careers are harder to get into?

Healthcare careers like the ones below have particularly high barriers to entry. Before pursuing these and other similar careers, make sure they’d actually fit your needs and preferences:

Physician/Surgeon

As mentioned above, physicians and surgeons qualify for their practice by earning a bachelor’s degree, attending around four years of medical school, and completing a residency program that can last up to nine years.

Dentist

Professional dentists, who clean, examine, and treat a patient’s gums and teeth, earn consistently high yearly salaries and can freely arrange their schedules if they run their own private practice. To earn a degree in dentistry, you’ll generally need to attend four years of dental school and pass a rigorous set of exams.

Anesthesiologists

Anesthesiologists are a type of physician who specialize in administering general or local anesthetics to patients (generally before, during, or after surgeries). To be a fully certified anesthesiologist, you’d need to satisfy the same pre-med requirements that physicians and surgeons would, then complete an anesthesiology-focused residency program and pass a board certification exam.

To keep track of your health care career applications, consider making use of Career.io’s Job Tracker service!

Key takeaways

  1. Career paths in healthcare can be very profitably and personally fulfilling. They can also be grueling and stressful if you’re not prepared for their challenges.

  2. Healthcare professions in fields such as phlebotomy, respiratory therapy, or registered nursing have fairly light educational requirements.

  3. Healthcare professions in fields such as surgery, dentistry, and anesthesiology have much more stringent educational requirements.

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