Careers in the healthcare field are always in demand, and these professions can be fulfilling for many individuals. If you are considering a new career in health, it can be tricky to narrow down the right path. From pediatric dentist to medical assistant, each role has its own requirements, perks, and downfalls.
This simple guide will help you narrow down your career options, so you can begin taking steps toward your new profession. By taking your time with this decision and thinking it through, you can ensure an enriching future and an exciting new start.
What are your personal and professional skills?
While ambition is enough to begin your pursuit of a medical career, you want to also make sure that your skills fit the industry. As you begin your education for a career in healthcare, you will need to have sharp reading comprehension and memorization skills. You will also need to take several exams. At all levels of medical professions, you will need a keen attention to detail, an ability to learn new technologies, and a readiness to think quickly.
While professional skills are certainly key, you will also need a specific set of personal skills. If you plan to work directly with patients, you should have strong communication skills, a sense of responsibility, and compassion. Since healthcare is often highly collaborative, you should also be able to take direction, delegate tasks, and tackle problems in groups. Once you determine which skills are your strongest, you can start narrowing down your career options.
What type of education are you willing to pursue?
Before you select the right healthcare path for you, be sure to be realistic about your educational capacity. Consider your budget for schooling and how much time you would like to spend in school. To become a medical doctor, you will need to pursue an undergrad degree, spend four years in medical school, and complete three to seven years of a residency program. However, an Associate’s Degree in nursing will take about two years and cost much less, while proving to be a highly fulfilling career path. There are also many medical pursuits that fall somewhere in between these two or only require a licensing course.
What type of environment do you see yourself in?
A career in healthcare offers variety and opportunities for mobility. However, it helps to know which type of environment you prefer while you are getting started. While narrowing down your options, think about which setting fits your personality. If you thrive in busy environments with constant change, you might prefer to work in a hospital. You might also be drawn toward a more consistent schedule, in which case a private practice could be best. Some individuals may want to focus on working with specific populations, such as young children, students in a school, or elderly patients in assisted living. If you are not drawn to working with patients daily, a laboratory setting may be best for you. Remember that careers like nursing do offer opportunities to change your environment and focus, so keep this in mind.
Have you talked to a professional in your desired field?
Even if you think you know what a day in your target career looks like, nothing beats talking to a working professional. Use your network to set up a meeting with someone working as a doctor, nurse, medical assistant, lab tech, or other professional. Bring a list of questions and be sure to take notes. You might ask them questions about how they got started in their field, what skills are required, what some of the challenges have been, and whether they have any tips for completing the required education. By asking plenty of questions and taking their answers seriously, you can get a better idea for what the career involves and whether it is right for you.
A career in healthcare will be full of challenges, fulfillment, and opportunities. When you enter your desired field with the right intentions, you are already setting yourself up for success. All of your hard work will be worth it when you become successful in your field of choice.