How To Decide On A Medical Career: 5 Worthwhile Options
Pursuing a career in healthcare can leave you feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices available. Everything from environmental services to head of surgery and beyond exists within the healthcare industry, and it’s important to know your ideal career path before you begin your education or training.
Here’s how to decide on a medical career and five potential starting points to consider.
Decide Your Ideal Role
First and foremost, you need to decide on your ideal role. Are you more interested in the administrative side of things? Maybe you just want to be an assistant? Or maybe you prefer clinical duties? Do you have your sights set on becoming a surgeon, physician, or pharmacist? Clinical duties aren’t for everyone. For example, an emergency room doctor serves a special role that might not work for everyone.
It’s important to understand your strengths and weaknesses as well. Are you very organized? Strong work ethic? Compassionate? You’ll need all three to work in the healthcare industry, and more.
Find The Right Education
Once you’ve decided on your ideal role, you need to find the right education path that’s both flexible enough to meet your scheduling needs and of a high enough quality to give you a good education. There are thousands of programs that you can look at, that would involve going to a traditional university, but there are also a range of specialized certification programs that you could sign up for, as well as choosing online schools.
You could be doing a medical assistant certificate qualification online at the same time as working, so then there is less pressure for you to have student loans. However, there are some courses that you will need to go to a traditional school for, such as going to nursing school or medical school. Those qualifications can take a little while to complete, but if it is what you want to be doing, then it is going to be completely worth it.
As we said, there are thousands of programs at traditional universities, specialized certification programs, and online schools. You just have to look!
Many entry-level positions require a certification that can be obtained from a school like UMA. UMA has medical administrative programs, pharmacy tech programs, and more!
Careers To Consider
Whether you’re looking for your first and last career or switching things up, here are five healthcare positions to consider. Some are entry-level, and all of them require minimum schooling or training for a fast-track into the industry.
1. Medical Administrative Assistant
As a medical administrative assistant, you’ll be responsible for various administrative duties in the physician’s office, hospital, care facility, or other medical settings. These duties can include, but aren’t limited to answering phones, filing paperwork, speaking with patients, scheduling appointments, and organizing patient data.
A medical administrative program is the fastest way to get certified and get into the field quickly. You’ll find that becoming an MAA is a good choice, with the average salary sitting at about $34,000 per year, and projected growth of about 19% through 2029. Last year, there were about 700,000 medical assistant jobs across the US.
An LPN, or licensed practical nurse, provides basic nursing care to patients. This can include administering medications, changing bedding, bathing, changing wound dressings, cleaning, and more. The LPN is an important part of the nursing team, and obtaining an LPN certification usually requires at least an associate’s degree. Many nurses start out as CNAs, or certified nursing assistants, and work their way up the ladder through LPN to RN.
The average LPN salary is about $47,000 per year, with projected growth through 2029 sitting at around 9%; much faster than average. Last year, there were around 721,000 LPN positions in the United States alone.
3. Surgical Technician
If surgery interests you but you don’t want to go through all of the schooling and training to become a surgeon, you could assist as a surgical technician. This position involves assisting both the surgeon and surgical assistants with operations, including sanitizing instruments, rooms, prepping patients and rooms/tools, and more.
Surgical technician positions are growing in number, with about 111,000 available in 2019. The job change is forecasted as a growth of about 7% for the next decade, which is slightly faster than average.
4. Respiratory Therapist
Respiratory therapists assist patients who have chronic or acute respiratory problems. These important medical professionals can also assist in surgical operations, ensuring the airway is clear and that air is being delivered to the lungs. As a respiratory therapist, you’ll be dealing with a wide range of respiratory troubles, so patience and compassion are a must.
Respiratory therapist jobs are abundant as well, numbering around 135,000 in 2019. The job outlook is at about 19% for the next few years, which is much faster than average.
5. Ultrasound Technician
As an ultrasound technician, you’ll do more than just provide an ultrasound picture of a fetus for expecting parents. Many illnesses and conditions can be identified through an ultrasound. You’ll operate sensitive equipment to identify problems and other medical needs.
Becoming an ultrasound technician can take up to two years, but the job outlook is good for the coming years. As of 2019, there were about 131,000 jobs available, with a growth of about 12%.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to start your career in healthcare, there’s never been a better time to do so. Most positions are looking at faster-than-average growth through the end of the decade, and most training programs for entry-level positions are affordable in terms of financial and time commitments.