The health field encompasses a wide range of career opportunities. Healthcare workers include professionals most people are familiar with, such as doctors and nurses. Healthcare workers also include administrative professionals, specialists, and medical testing experts, such as MRI technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers.
Many people are drawn to medical professions for multiple reasons. Healthcare professions pay substantial salaries, and there’s high demand for qualified medical professionals. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports jobs for physical therapy assistants in the United States should increase by 33 percent between 2019 and 2029, while the average job growth rate for all occupations is just four percent. Whether you hope to become a health services manager or a registered nurse, using these steps will ensure you’re ready to start your healthcare career.
Choose a medical career.
There are multiple healthcare professions to choose from, and your career path may depend upon your specific interests. For example, individuals with strong organizational skills who enjoy paperwork may prefer a career as a health services manager or a medical records and health information specialist. Those who enjoy working directly with patients may prefer a career as a registered nurse or occupational therapy assistant.
Anyone interested in diagnosing patients and developing treatment plans could become a medical doctor, nurse practitioner (NP), or physician assistant. You can also work in the healthcare field as a pharmacist, paramedic, or psychiatric nurse.
Obtain health insurance.
You’ll need private health insurance before you launch your career in healthcare to ensure you can receive medical treatment when exposed to viruses. You may also need vaccinations before starting a role in some professions. Using a health insurance comparison tool is an effective way to compare health insurance plans. Enter information about your plan needs and location and answer the tool’s prompts. The health insurance comparison tool uses your information to generate a list of suitable health insurance plans.
Comparing your health insurance coverage options and insurance plan premiums ensures you’ll find a suitable insurance plan for your healthcare needs. You can also opt to add additional coverage for dental care, physical therapy, and other healthcare services.
Complete an accredited college program.
Identify accredited postsecondary institutions offering suitable programs that provide the skills and training required for your chosen career. For example, Wilkes University offers accredited online programs for people interested in nursing careers, making it an excellent option for anyone looking for a distance education bachelor’s or master’s degree program.
Launching a career as a nurse begins with earning a diploma or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. Nurses with a BSN and one year of practical experience working as registered nurses can apply to a nurse practitioner program. Research some colleges with the appropriate courses such as a Wilkes University nurse practitioner program to learn about their graduate degree programs.
Today, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) include family nurse practitioners. As a family nurse practitioner, you’ll perform many of the same duties a primary care doctor performs, including ordering medical tests, prescribing medications, and diagnosing patients. In addition, APRNs may also work as psychiatric nurse practitioners and treat patients with mental health issues.
Wilkes’ master’s degree programs equip students to enter these professions by covering diagnostic reasoning and psychopharmacology courses. Students also learn about ethical issues in nursing through courses such as health perspectives of culturally diverse, rural, and underserved populations. Students also gain hands-on experience by completing clinical practice hours.
Obtain any licenses or certifications that you need.
Many medical professionals must obtain licenses or certifications to work in their field. For example, registered nurses must earn a passing grade on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
Physical therapy assistants must meet state regulations and be licensed or certified. A physical therapist must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. Every medical professional must comply with their state’s regulations to qualify for employment. Some professionals, such as registered nurses, may also need basic life support (BLS) training.
Starting a career in health care begins with choosing a career path. Once you’ve chosen a career, you can identify a suitable postsecondary education. Next, obtain health insurance to ensure you can care for your health while serving in the healthcare field.
Next, earn a certificate, diploma, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree from an accredited post-secondary institution. Study for your licensing or certification exams. Once you obtain the licensing qualifications required by your state, you’ll be ready to start your healthcare career.