Individuals looking for a career where no two days are alike should look no further than the gratifying medical field. The healthcare industry provides numerous, rewarding careers to individuals looking to give back to their communities.
A rewarding profession isn’t the only benefit of working in healthcare. Professionals in the healthcare industry benefit from job security as the outlook for the medical field continues to rise. Not to mention, medical professionals are also some of the highest-paid professionals. Lastly, the medical industry has positions available for students with just about every education and skill level.
However, how does one narrow down possible positions in an industry with so many opportunities? The good news is that with so many healthcare professions, there is undoubtedly a position for anyone looking to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness and injury. Below are a few of the best medical careers, along with their employment outlook, education and training requirements, and much more.
Best Careers in the Medical Field
These careers in the medical field are sought after by graduates due to their favourable working conditions and high salaries.
A career as a cardiovascular technologist, cardiovascular technician, or vascular technologist is at the heart of the medical field as it involves assisting doctors with procedures that deal with the heart. Cardiovascular technologists measure heart rates and diagnose heart ailments and can do anything from ultrasounds to inserting catheters. They also monitor a patient’s heart rate during procedures.
Cardiovascular technicians, or cardiographic technicians, specialize in electrocardiogram testing. Vascular technologists aid physicians in diagnosing blood flow disorders by using ultrasounds to record information about the blood flow in veins, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. These careers typically require an Associate Degree in Radiologic Technology, an associate of nursing degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree in Radiologic Technology.
A medical sonographer performs ultrasounds, sonograms, and echocardiograms to access a variety of medical conditions. They work with patients to make sure they understand any upcoming procedures and their results.
Individuals who want to become sonographers will need to have an associate of sonography degree or a postsecondary certificate. Colleges also offer an Associate Degree in Cardiovascular Sonography and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sonography. Additionally, individual states may require licensure. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for this career is $74,320.
Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients. They work with patients to develop and improve their skills for living and working. A Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy is required for this career and some therapists go on to get their doctorates. Additionally, occupational therapists must be licensed. According to BLS, the average pay for an occupational therapist was $84,950 as of May 2019. Job prospects are also expected to grow by 18 percent by 2028.
A home health aide or personal care aide spends their career helping people with chronic illness, disabilities, or cognitive impairment by assisting them with their everyday activities. These roles typically provide patient care to elderly patients.
A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required to become a home health aide or personal care aid. However, in some cases, it is not needed. Those who provide healthcare in hospices or nursing homes are mandated to pass a standardized test and have formal training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for this career as of May 2018 was $24,000. Additionally, BLS says these positions are expected to grow much faster than other roles at a rate of 36 percent by 2028.
Physical therapists help people manage their pain and improve their overall movement. Preventative care, rehabilitation, and treatment for patients are an integral part of a physical therapist’s day-to-day job.
Duties of a physical therapist can include reviewing a patient’s medical record, diagnosing patients’ movements, and creating plans for patients. To become a physical therapist, a doctor of physical therapy is required and a state license. According to BLS, the median salary for a physical therapist is $89,440, and the job is expected to grow by 22 percent by 2028.
Nursing assistants, or nursing aides, provide care to patients in their everyday lives. Typical duties of a nursing assistant include cleaning and bathing patients, transferring patients into their wheelchairs, and measuring a patient’s vital signs.
To become a nursing assistant, a state-approved education program is required, along with completing a state exam. The average salary for a nursing assistant is $29,660, and the job is expected to grow nine percent by 2028.
Under the supervision of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants help patients recover from injuries and illnesses while managing their pain. Physical therapist assistants work with patients directly and typically need an associate degree from an accredited program. Additionally, they need a license or certification.
However, a physical therapist aide can work with a high school diploma or on the job training. A physical therapist assistant makes a median salary of $27,000. The job outlook for this profession is much faster than any other occupation, with a projected growth of 27 percent by 2028.
One of the most compassionate careers is perhaps the job of a registered nurse. Those who are incredibly empathetic and interested in science, medicine, and technology may want to pursue a nursing career.
The job of a nurse consists of providing care to and educating patients about numerous health conditions. Registered nurses have several different educational opportunities, including a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, an Associate Degree in Nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Additionally, all nurses must be licensed to practice medicine. The annual wage for a nurse is $73,300, with job growth from 2018 to 2028 sitting at 12 percent.
Advanced-practice registered nurses or nurse practitioners coordinate and provide primary and specialty care to patients. Recording patients’ medical histories and symptoms, performing exams and observing patients, and creating care plans are some of the job duties that fall upon nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners’ duties can also depend on the state in which they practice. Nurse practitioners can prescribe medications and order tests in some states.
There are also different types of nurse practitioners, including nurse anaesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. A nurse practitioner must have a master’s degree in a specialty role, at the very least. Additionally, a license in their state, a passing grade on a certification exam, and an APRN license are also required. The median pay for a nurse practitioner is $115,800, and by 2028, the position is expected to grow by 26 percent.
Respiratory therapists breathe life into the medical field as they care for patients with trouble breathing, such as chronic respiratory disease, asthma, and emphysema. An associate’s degree is typically needed for this career. However, many in the profession have a bachelor’s degree.
Additionally, a respiratory therapist must be licensed in all states minus Alaska. The median wage for this profession is $61,330. According to BLS, job growth is expected to be much faster than other occupations from 2018 to 2018, with 21 percent growth.
A career in medicine ultimately comes down to caring. Caring for patients who are sometimes at their worst and most vulnerable is the backbone of the medical community. This translates to high job satisfaction for those who work in healthcare. The ability to go to work and help people is extremely rewarding.
Working in the field of medicine also equates to job security. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupations are projected to grow by 14 percent, or 1.9 million jobs, by 2028. This rate is much faster than other professions. Finding employment and staying employed is a fantastic perk of working in this profession.
Another reason to work in the medical field is that there are positions available for students of all education levels. Whether it’s a high school diploma or a doctorate, there is the perfect fit for every individual in the healthcare industry. Doctors and nurses might be at the forefront of the medical field, but there are many other careers to explore requiring everything from an associate degree to a master’s degree.
While careers in the medical field are filled with benefits, they are ultimately not for everyone. Start exploring careers in the medical field to determine if they may be a good fit for your career goals.