Finding Careers in the Medical Field
If you are interested in careers in the medical field, the good news is that healthcare is considered one of the most recession-proof industries in the developed world and includes a wide variety of jobs, which means there are opportunities for people with many different abilities and levels of education.
So you won’t necessarily have to spend years training to be a doctor or nurse. However, the jobs requiring fewer qualifications tend not to be very well paid. But don’t let that put you off – there are plenty of ways in which you can carve out a career in this niche if you follow a less traditional route. We’ll get to that in a moment , but first let’s look at the reasons jobs in healthcare flourish in any economy .
Why are Jobs in the Medical Field Recession Proof?
Whatever else is happening in the world and in lives of individuals, people will still get sick or have accidents of varying severity and all of us will die at some point, often as a result of a long term illness. And of course people have babies whatever the economy and children get sick and have accidents too.
But more recently healthcare has become one of the key areas experiencing growth because of changing demographics, in other words because we are living longer than previous generations, at least this is what is happening in the richest countries of the world.
As more people are living longer, the problems associated with old age are increasing and jobs related to both corrective and preventative measures are on the increase . Healthcare provides jobs in hospitals, jobs in hospices and jobs in community healthcare, offering a wide range of options and professions.
What Careers in the Medical Field are Available?
Jobs in the medical field include the more obvious such as doctor – physician or surgeon, nurse and dentist and the less well known such as phlebotomist and sterile services technician.
Within medicine and nursing there are many different specialist areas, enabling doctors and nurses to develop specific interests and there will also be ancilliary staff in these areas as well.
There are also various jobs such as nursing assistant and dental assitant which don’t require a long education and which could be a good starting point, enabling you to get some training and experience which could lead to a career higher up the ladder later on.
Thre are a number of jobs based in hospitals or the community which most of you will have heard of These include physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, radiologist and midwife.
And of course, there are also ambulance paramedics and emergency medical technicians who play a vital role in the early stages of many patients’ illnesses or accidents.
Professionals in different areas of psychology also work closely with medical professionals.
In addition to jobs directly related to medical treatment, there are also many jobs in activities which support medical staff, such as hospital porters, cleaners and catering staff, as well as administrative and managerial staff.
No Qualifications for a Medical Career?
If you don’t have the right qualifications or experience, you can get a less glamourous job such as hospital porter or HCA, either as a long term position or as a temp job. Working for a short time in a hospital or care home can help solve your immediate financial needs and give you insight into careers related to medicine by bringing you into direct contact with the people doing them.
In some cases you may be able to get on the job training to help you move into a better job but you’ll certainly be able to find out more about careers that interest you. You can look into part time training and get advice on how to get into one of the professions related to medicine.
One new opportunity in the UK, but which has been around in the US for a long time, is physician assistant. So if you don’t have the funds to study medicine, this is a potential alternative and offers a pretty decent salary at the end. However, you will probably need a science based degree for the training courses. You can get more information at http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/details/default.aspx?id=
For those of you in the US, go to http://www.bls.gov/oco/pdf/ocos081.pdf for more information on ecoming a PA
Let’s Take a Look at some more Unusual Jobs in the Medical Field
Art Therapist – this is a great way to combine your creative talents with your interest in working with people.
Music Therpast – another way to use your creativity, this time for those of you who are musical.
Ambulance Care Assistant – travelling with patients who are not emergencies but need assistance.
Dietican or Nutritionist – these are different, although related and there are opportunities for both in the health service in the UK. Dietetics is the science of nutrition and how it’s understood and explained to patients to help them with diet and lifestyle. Nutrition looks at how food works in the body and looks at th role of food in health and illness.
Lab Assistant – Clinical support worker/assistant in healthcare science
If you likethe idea of working in a lab, these jobs don’t require high level entry qualificaitons and in some cases, an apprenticeship may be possible.
These are only a few of the options available, but I hope they have shown you that there is a lot on offer in this field. To find out more about the jobs mentioned and to discover what else is available, here are some useful sites.
If you are in the UK, you will find a useful A-Z of NHS careers, ranging from administrative posts to executive positions and all medical careers here:
So if you have an interest in a specific area of medicine but no desire to become a medical professional, you could consider one of the many careers needed to support these disciplines, such as secretarial, admin and management.
Careers in Complementary Medicine
If you don’t have formal medical training, but want to be in a position to offer treatments to people who are ill or injured, you could consider one of the many complementary therapies avaialble. It is becoming more difficult to get into these professions and many of them, such as acupuncutre and osteopathy now require a degree.
Although degree courses need plenty of commitment and fees can be quite high, most of these courses can be studied on a part time basis, which makes them much more flexible and you can work will studying which will help ease the financeial burden
However, you can get started with some simpler techniques, such as thai foot massage for a lot less time and money. You could try out some short courses to get a feeling for working in this area and then start on a small scale in your spare time. If you find you really enjoy the work and have no difficulty in finding clients, you could expand your business and perhaps think about longer term training in one of the more established therapies.
If you are considering taking a formal course in complementary therapy, you should check out the regulations for practising in your area and check out the college’s credentials. Find out if there is a professional body which regulates the therapy in your country and ask them which courses they approve. This could save you a lot of heartache further down the line. Dn’t forget that if you want to treat people for health problems, you need to be properly insured and that generally means also joining a professional organization.
To learn more about Complementary Therapies in the UK, you can download a useful pdf here:
And in the US, you can get more information here:
Careers in the medical field cover a huge variety of jobs. I’ll be posting more articles on specific healthcare careers soon.