Top 5 Careers in the Healthcare Field

  • Oct 19, 2020

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've seen the bravery and tenacity of medical and healthcare workers who risk their lives & safety every day. Healthcare is an incredibly important sector that serves a critical role in our society. In the coming decades, the industry will expand due to a growing need for healthcare workers. Discoveries and advances like telemedicine and stem cell research will create new roles across the field as well. In fact, the healthcare industry is one of the most recession-proof [link to recession-proof jobs blog] industries. A career in the medical field requires years of preparation & hard work, as well as long hours on the job. Still, such a career is incredibly rewarding- many are both intellectually challenging and have high job security. The industry also has markedly high career satisfaction, whether you are welcoming a new life or seeing the gratitude in a patient's eyes after recovery.

If you are passionate about improving the lives of others and interested in the natural sciences, read on to read about top healthcare careers.      

1.Physician, Surgeon

A surgeon repairs the damage done inside the human body. Some examples are mending broken bones and ligaments, or surgically transplanting an organ.

To become a surgeon, you need a bachelor's degree followed by 4 years in medical school leading to a degree of Doctor of Medicine. Next, you need up to 8 years of residency at a hospital- this depends on your area of specialization.      

A surgeon is the highest-paying job under the healthcare umbrella, and consequently, it takes the longest to practice & prepare for.     

2. Dentistry

A dentist's work is to maintain patients’ oral health. This involves removing cavities, straightening teeth, root canals, and other oral surgeries. From eating too much candy as a child to scheduling routine check-ups as we get older, everyone has to pay a visit to the dentist at some point in their life.

You need a bachelor's degree in a related field and after passing the Dental Admission Test, you may choose one of two dental degrees-Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry. There is no difference between the two degrees in terms of coursework and knowledge.

After obtaining state-recognized licensure, you can either continue as a general dentist or go for specialization such as an orthodontist, endodontist, or oral and maxillofacial surgeon.              

3. Nursing

Nursing is a popular career option that involves day-to-day care of patients and reporting on their health and vitals. Responsibilities of nurses vary based on the role, and so does their formal education. A minimum of an associate degree is required to become a nurse. However, a bachelor's degree is recommended. Nurses must take and pass the NCLEX  exam. High-paying jobs in nursing are Registered Nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners. After taking the test and obtaining the necessary state license you can specialize in nursing by taking a master's degree. You can specialize as a practitioner, anesthetist, or midwives. You can also opt for jobs outside the hospital, like a legal nurse practitioner or forensic nursing.

4. Psychologists, Therapists and Counselors

People often confuse the professions psychologist, therapist, and counselor. They are all devoted to helping people with their mental health but are different from each other. These three are just some examples of professions in the psychology field, which is expected to grow in the next 10 years.

As a psychologist, you'll assess a patient's behaviors, diagnose their problems, and determine treatments for mental disorders and diseases. Practicing psychologists typically have a bachelor's degree, master's degree, and sometimes a doctoral degree. It is also important to obtain the proper licensing based on your state. Some psychologists may opt for doing research instead of starting a practice.                     

Counselors can start practicing right after earning a bachelor's degree, but some opt for higher education. A counselor's role is more structured around a person's needs. A counselor helps people over the phone or face-to-face, understands their problems, and provides a solution. Counselors can specialize in fields like mental health, rehabilitation, and grief counseling. Some may choose to work in the education sector as a career counselor, special education counselor, or student advocate.           

A therapist is a broader role that may include the job of a psychologist and a counselor. However, therapists usually help people clarify their feelings and help them overcome any emotional problem. They may use techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy as opposed to prescribing medication. A therapist can have a master's degree but can also have a Ph.D.

5. Pharmacists

A pharmacist's job is to recommend & provide patients with appropriate medications. Pharmacists work in coordination with doctors and pharmaceutical companies to dispense medicines according to prescriptions. To become a pharmacist, you need to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree (typically a 4-year program) and gain licensure to start your practice.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an expected growth in pharmacists for the next few years. Healthcare is a constantly evolving, growing field-increasingly, we are seeing the rise of many interdisciplinary careers aside from traditional ones. While many careers in the medical industry are quite intense and need years of formal education, they are worth every penny. Healthcare professionals gain immense satisfaction and happiness from helping others. Even when other industries may become less relevant, medical care is a basic human need around the world. All of these career paths play vital roles- the COVID-19 pandemic has made this very clear in the present day.

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