Starting a career in health care

Health care is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the job market and it shows no signs of slowing down.  It is a highly diverse industry that has come a long way in recent years.  Today, the field is no longer confined to doctors, dentists, and nurses, but a much wider range of professions, suitable for a variety of people.

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Individuals that are willing to work in the medical field will always be in demand, regardless of the state of the economy.  And, because people are living a lot longer than they used to, thanks to advances in medical technology, the sector is simply thriving.  So, deciding to work in the health care industry can be a rewarding and lucrative decision.

Getting started with a career in health care does take some thought and preparation – one simply cannot jump in.  Here are some things to consider when starting a career in this fantastic industry.


Choosing the right path

As an industry, health care offers a plethora of jobs for a wide range of people with different interests and focuses.  Sure, one can take the traditional route and become a doctor or nurse, but there is a host of other positions ranging from dieticians and counselors to physical therapists and physician assistants.  Those who may not want to work with patients may opt in the administrative and management side of the sector.

The main categories within the health care industry include practitioner, allied health, supportive, and managerial careers.  It is important for one to know what his or her options are – and to know oneself – before plunging into a new career.

Practitioners are hands-on individuals that must go through a lot of schooling and patient contact; these people are typically the doctors and nurses.  Sure, they make the most money, but they also do a lot of work.  Allied health careers are really the backbone of the sector, as these people work directly with healthcare practitioners in their daily business.  While they still work with patients, they have less schooling but plenty of room for job growth.  Those in supportive roles are typically aides and assistants that work with patients on a more regular basis, such as in a pharmacy or a dental office.  Management careers do not require much work with patients, but there is a lot of work that goes into these jobs since they can range from running a hospital to providing administrative support to the medical staff.


Getting the right background 

In order to break into the health care industry, one does need the right background.  Most careers, even low-level positions, require at the very least introductory courses in biology.  Some careers will require years of schooling while others may require just a few semesters.  It really depends on the particular medical career path one has chosen.

There are plenty of online degree programs such as those at, that allow individuals to get started on the education they need.  Online courses are often ideal for those who cannot take time out from their existing job to attend class or those that are hoping to make a career change.


Regardless of which health care job one chooses to pursue, the most important attributes of anyone hoping to get started in the medical industry is a strong work ethic and a desire to help others.  Many positions in the industry have long, odd hours and come with plenty of stress.  The new challenges keep it interesting and the help that one is providing to others makes it very rewarding.