Healthcare refers to the organized provision of medical care to people and communities. By that definition, healthcare careers do not just include doctors, nurses, and other frontline clinicians who often come to mind first when people think of healthcare jobs. Administrators, therapists, chiropractors, paramedics, and technology professionals all have a place in helping people live well.
Due to its size and diversity, healthcare welcomes new professionals with many different skills, interests, and personalities. In general, people who work in this sector have hearts to serve others and intellectual interests in math and science.
Some healthcare professions require many years of formal education. Anesthesiologists, surgeons, and ophthalmologists, for instance, need up to 12 years of higher education. However, other healthcare professionals need only a few months to start their careers. Students can earn certifications in high-demand fields such as EKG tech and cardio-phlebotomy tech in about 10-21 weeks. Prospective healthcare professionals can learn more about careers and degrees in the field on this website.
Types of Healthcare Careers
Healthcare professionals enjoy opportunities in clinical work, therapy, leadership, and public health. Responsibilities, activities, and pay grades vary tremendously, meaning the industry welcomes new professionals with diverse skill sets. The chart below introduces some of the jobs healthcare professionals can pursue.
These are the doctors, nurses, and assistants who work with patients to diagnose and treat health issues. They often provide preventative care to help patients maintain good health. A few examples of clinical specializations include the following:
- Emergency medicine
Therapy and Rehabilitation
These services help patients recover their independence after an injury, illness, or surgery. Here are some main focus areas:
- Pain management
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
If you want to help people and have a knack for leadership, healthcare administration could be a great career choice. According to the Healthcare Leadership Alliance, there are five main areas of expertise in this field:
- Hospital administration
- Medical practice administration
- Nursing administration
- Healthcare financial management
- Healthcare information management
While careers in clinical healthcare treat individual patients, public health professionals focus on groups. Public health studies the well-being of populations and communities as a whole. Most jobs in this field require at least a master’s degree. There are five traditional core disciplines in a public health master’s program:
- Environmental health sciences
- Health policy and management
- Social and behavioral sciences
Benefits of a Career in Healthcare
Healthcare is a high-demand field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare is the fastest-growing industry in the U.S. The BLS projects that healthcare jobs will grow 14% from 2018-2028.
Healthcare is also a high-paying field. In the BLS’ list of the 20 top-paying professions, 16 came from the healthcare industry. Some of the highest-paid Americans work as surgeons, dentists, midwives, podiatrists, and pharmacists. Even massage therapists, licensed practical nurses, and health information technicians can still earn more than the average employee.
For many people, salaries and job growth take a backseat to the question of job satisfaction. Most healthcare workers find their professions fulfilling, interesting, and satisfying. According to data from the Pew Research Institute, 62% of healthcare professionals said they derived a sense of identity from their jobs.
The Future of Healthcare
As the fastest-growing occupational group, healthcare should add 1.9 million jobs by 2028. Demographic trends such as aging, chronic disease prevalence, and infrastructure development affect how fast the healthcare industry keeps accelerating, as does technology.
According to a study by Deloitte, healthcare providers will soon work with technology such as 5G to support massive digitalization, artificial intelligence to improve diagnostics, and big data analytics to uncover patient patterns and correlations. Robotics, new industrial sensors connected through the internet of things, blockchain technology, and the internet of medical things will also transform the way healthcare professionals provide and manage care.
Though a rapidly transforming and expanding industry, healthcare is also a stable one. Geopolitical events and trends may affect the sector, but ultimately, humans need healthcare. So while shifts in technology or growth trends may occur, the overall industry should remain stable and robust.