10 Careers in Health Care to Consider

A career as a doctor might seem like a dream job to some. Others might view the health care industry as an exclusive environment, open only to those who can afford extensive time, education and training. However, the careers available in health care are varied. There are, of course, the more well-known paths. Doctors and surgeons undergo years of training to become qualified, and the work they do is very difficult. However, there are several areas in which a physician might specialize, changing the nature of his or her career. There are other jobs which might only require an Associate degree in order to qualify. Other jobs serve as stepping stones to those who have a great deal of experience, allowing previous work to count toward a qualification. Some jobs might even be considered as an alternative to the traditional career path of a physician. The following sections offer several careers to consider for those interested in pursuing health care.

Dentist

Dentistry is a popular career in the health care field. The salaries are higher than a few other comparable careers in health care. In particular, the work of a dentist allows for far more flexibility with work hours than many other high-paying jobs. The work covers checkups and treatment for patients, as well as cosmetic work. The latter, in particular, has resulted in a dramatically increased demand for dentists.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienist careers are one of the higher-paying careers in health care, and it requires as little as an Associate degree. Currently, there is an increasing demand for dental hygienists. Dental hygienists provide support for dentists and work with patients to assist them in preventative dental care, helping them to maintain good dental hygiene and health.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are also increasing in demand. These are nurses who have earned a Master's degree, or possibly a doctorate, as well as the required number of clinical practice hours and certifications. NPs can write prescriptions, as well as diagnose and treat their patients. It takes a shorter time to become an NP than to become a doctor, and their care is often considered more cost-effective than that of a doctor. With the rising cost of health care and the advent of many walk-in clinics located in pharmacies, this will continue to be a growing field.

Registered Nurse

The position of a registered nurse is vital to the care of a patient. There is a higher job growth rate predicted for nurses than physicians over the next few years. There are many different medical areas in which a nurse can specialize, such as becoming a nurse anesthetist. This will require extra training and a certain amount of experience but can also lead to higher pay.

Physician Assistant

A physician assistant works under the supervision of a physician, performing much of the same work. The job generally requires a Bachelor’s degree and sometimes previous experience in another medical profession, such as an EMT or registered nurse. This means that those starting in other jobs can work their way up to becoming a physician assistant.

Emergency Medical Technician

As their title suggests, the work of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) revolves around emergency situations. The job requires stamina and energy, as EMTs are often on call for long or late hours. Many EMT professionals work with hospitals and clinics, though they might also work with fire departments and other institutions. Although an EMT must have the medical knowledge necessary to assist in the situations to which he or she is called, the training itself can be completed at a technical or trade school.

Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists are some the highest-paid medical professionals in the country. Anesthesiologists care for patients during surgery, administering anesthesia and monitoring their vital signs. Without them, major surgeries would be impossible. It takes years of schooling, training and certification to become an anesthesiologist, but success in the field can lead to a high salary.

Gynecologist or Obstetrician

Gynecologists see to women's everyday reproductive health. This involves screening for disease and managing contraceptives, as well as seeing to any other issues that might arise. Obstetricians are those who deal specifically with pregnancy and childbirth. Collectively, these physicians are sometimes referred to as OB-GYNs.

Surgeon

A surgeon performs operations on their patients. These might be to save a patient’s life after injury, to correct a deformity, as treatment for a disease or for cosmetic reasons. There are a number of areas in which a surgeon can specialize, such as cardiac surgery or plastic surgery. It is considered a stressful job, with operations often taking hours to complete. The required grades during their medical studies and even undergraduate work are also very high. However, the work is very well paid.

Physician

This is often what is thought of when using the term “doctor.” This can in fact include doctors such as obstetricians and gynecologists, dermatologists, neurologists and primary care providers. Beyond these classifications, there are also a number of areas in which a physician might specialize. Physicians will either be a Medical Doctor, or MD, or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, a D.O., who might focus on holistic or preventative care. The training required for this work is lengthy and difficult. Often, those who become doctors feel that the nature of the work provides a reward for its difficulties.