Top Five Reasons to Consider a Career in Healthcare was originally published on uConnect External Content.
We have all seen it on TV. The too-handsome doctor running into the operating room without scrubbing in, grabbing a scalpel barehanded, yelling “Push Epi!” to the other myriad nurses and techs while the medical students look down in awe and a patient magically wakes up from a coma. While this makes for good television, it is not very close to the true reality of healthcare.
As we all can attest, working in healthcare has its share of exciting and awe-inspiring moments. I would argue that while the daily realities of healthcare in America are typically far from the situation described above, they can be just as exciting, satisfying, and humbling.
I personally love working in healthcare and am always encouraging friends and family that are entering college or the workforce to consider a career in healthcare. While I realize it absolutely is not for everyone, I think it is important to encourage those close to us to consider it. There is a nationwide shortage of healthcare professionals, from nurses to physicians. To remedy this, we need to pave the way for our youth to consider whether healthcare as a career is right for them. So, why do I think that healthcare is a wonderful field to work in?
What You Do Matters
Primarily, a career in healthcare is about helping and serving others. It does not matter whether you are a phlebotomist, a nurse, or a neurosurgeon, the end goal is the same: helping patients. In healthcare, what you do really matters. Everyone contributes to the common goal of helping patients. Helping patients can take on many forms, and there is something for everyone due to the breadth of healthcare as a field.
One of my biggest selling points for healthcare as a career is and will always be this: you are always helping someone, and you are always making a difference. The Nursing Tech with an associate degree can make just as much of a difference in someone’s life as the Interventional Radiologist with an MD and PhD.
In most roles, you do not sit at a desk all day or work on an assembly line. You are active with patients, changing their lives for the better. You make noticeable differences, even if in only small ways, in patients’ lives.
Job Security? Check!
Another reason that I am always urging friends and family to consider a career in healthcare is the unsurpassed job security. Healthcare is one of the largest fields in America and continues to grow. The field itself is projected to grow by 14% from 2018-2028 and add 1.9 million new jobs. Across the country, whether it be rural or urban, coastal or in the mountains, there will be open jobs in healthcare. That cannot be said about most fields.
It is also the unfortunate reality that people will always be sick. Healthcare will never go away, just as disease, illness, and death will never stop occurring. It is the role of the healthcare professional to help with healing, and this role will always be in demand, no matter what is happening in the world. Technology, business, agriculture, and most other areas will go through cycles of need, but there is ALWAYS a need for good healthcare professionals.
While shortages are never a good thing, it is not totally negative for jobseekers. As there is a nationwide shortage of healthcare professionals across the spectrum of roles, this can be a net positive for someone looking to get into healthcare as a career. More openings equal more opportunities to work in that perfect job.
Something for Everyone
One of my favorite selling points for healthcare as a career is that there is a role for everyone, at any point in their lives, with any level of education. If you want to start working right after high school, chances are you can get a job in healthcare. Do you want to get a doctorate? There is also a role for that person.
Often when people think about healthcare, they think of either a doctor’s office or a hospital. It gets lost sometimes that there are so many roles outside of this for most skillsets that people have. If you are a scientifically oriented person, maybe medical research might be a good fit. Or maybe you have a mind for mathematics, then biomedical engineering might be a career path to consider.
It is also worth mentioning that most hospitals are always looking for volunteers. While this is not technically a career, it is something to consider as either great experience towards a career in medicine or a wonderful way to give back to your community.
Days, Nights, Whatever!
Another great aspect to a career in healthcare are the hours, which really are not bad! Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to schedules in healthcare-related careers. Careers in healthcare run the gambit when it comes to schedules, but flexibility is the one constant for most positions.
If you prefer to work a typical 9-5 job, then chances are that you can do that in an office, research, or academic setting. The types of healthcare jobs in these settings are almost unlimited, so most people can find a good fit for them personally if this is what they prefer.
If you want to work longer shifts for less days throughout the week, maybe a hospital setting is more appropriate. Registered nurses are most well-known for this shift schedule, though many other healthcare professionals hold similar hours. While this type of scheduling typically requires weekends or overnights, the increased flexibility may offset that for you. Or maybe you are a night owl and prefer the overnight shift for a little extra cash!
If All Else Fails
While money certainly should not be the impetus for a career in healthcare, the pay IS competitive compared to fields with similar education requirements. Healthcare boasts some remarkably high salaries, but these salaries are typically seen in positions with high educational requirements. Some of the highest paying jobs in healthcare are seen in physician positions with high training and experience requirements.
With just an associate degree, salaries are surprisingly good in healthcare. The average salary of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is around $50,000 a year while the average for a Pharmacy Technician is around $35,000 a year.
With a bachelor’s degree, healthcare careers have some of the highest salaries compared to other professions with this level of education. For example, the average salary for a RN is over $81,000 a year and the average salary for a Respiratory Therapist is over $62,000. Not too shabby, when compared to other careers requiring this level of education.
Advancing education a bit further to the Master’s level, salaries are great compared to careers with similar education requirements in other fields. The average salary for a Physician Assistant is around $104,000 while the average for an Occupational Therapist is around $89,000 a year.
Salaries typically only go up further with advanced education beyond the master’s level. The sky is the limit in healthcare. You can often work more hours than the typical 40 hours per week or do PRN work on the side for extra money. Again, while money certainly should not be the sole reason for entering the healthcare workforce, it is a great added benefit to working in this wonderful field.
In the end, one must find the career path that suits them best. Healthcare is a wonderful field to work in for a multitude of reasons, and I think it is important that people know there is a fit for them somewhere in this broad field whether they are fresh out of high school or pursuing an MD.
**Editor’s Note: Does our list have you sold on a healthcare career? Why not visit our job board to explore your options!**