According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), healthcare occupations are always on the rise in the United States, but what you may not know is just how diverse the field is. If you haven’t spent a lot of time researching the industry or being around people who work in it, it’s probably difficult to imagine that there are hundreds of different types of jobs there for people with all different types of career goals.
That’s often good news for people who are attracted to the security and higher pay scale of the field but would rather not deal with things like body fluids and wound care. It’s also good news for people who might like to pursue shorter degree programs than bachelor’s degrees or doctorates. It’s also worth noting that there are a lot of financial aid and scholarship opportunities for learners who wish to get an education in healthcare. Let’s explore a few of the many career options.
Nursing is obviously the most common healthcare job around. In fact, as of the end of 2019, there were almost 3 million RNs (registered nurses) in the US alone. Nursing is an extremely rewarding career that’s ideal for so many people because of the diversity of education and career options.
To become a nurse, you can attend a one-year LVN (licensed vocational nurse), two-year associate degree program, four-year bachelor’s degree program, or choose from a slew of other options. Many people even choose to continue their education online. One popular degree you can pursue this way is the RN to MSN degree. You can, of course, go straight into this program after earning your BSN (Bachelor of Science Nursing) diploma, but many nurses decide to go this route after working for a couple of years.
Hospital or nurse administrators usually have their BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) or MBA (Master of Business Administration) degrees. They specialize in business and run the financial, hiring, and policy details of the facility they work for. It’s also popular for these professionals to hold MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) or other advanced healthcare degrees because they are familiar with the inner workings of healthcare organizations, having already worked in the field.
A physician assistant career is a great choice for people who are passionate about performing the same tasks as a doctor while spending less time in school. Physician assistants work under the direct supervision of a physician. They perform many of the same duties as their supervisor, but they usually have to obtain approval to prescribe medications.
Much like a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant will almost always see patients on their own but refer to a physician for specialized advice. Most physician assistant programs require an undergraduate or master’s degree, but some will accept students without one as long as they completed the prerequisite coursework. It’s important to check with the school you plan to attend so that you can get the right degree. This will usually be a science-heavy course load that includes classes like Anatomy, Physiology, and Chemistry.
Audiologists are professionals that usually work in audiology clinics with people that experience hearing problems. In an audiologist’s office, they might ask you some prescreening questions, administer a hearing loss test, or fit you for hearing aids. They might also offer you some helpful tips and other treatment options for living with such a disorder. To become an audiologist, you would attend audiology school to receive your Au.D. This typically takes about 8 years to complete, and you’ll have to first get your bachelor’s degree (preferably in a field of science).
CNAs (certified nursing assistants) work under the direct supervision of the nurses in their facility. They provide hands-on care to patients, helping them with daily living activities. These might include bathing, feeding, and mobility. They might also help nurses by taking and recording patients’ vital signs when asked. The traditional pathway to becoming a CNA is to gain employment with a healthcare facility. The next step is to complete a CNA program. These programs can be administered through colleges or directly through the healthcare facilities that employ them and typically take four to twelve weeks to complete.
These are just some of the varied options available in the healthcare field. It provides ample opportunities for people with many different skill sets, so don’t feel discouraged if you didn’t go to medical school.