Why Medicine? 5 Compelling Reasons to Consider Working in the Healthcare Industry

Choosing a career path is one of the most significant decisions you will make, particularly if your chosen career involves extensive postsecondary education. Estimates indicate Americans typically work for 90,000 hours during their lifetime. Choosing the right career path can make the difference between a rewarding and fulfilling life and years of frustration.

Since your profession can impact you both positively and negatively, it is important to consider the benefits of choosing the right professional path. Many of these benefits can be realized through a career in the healthcare industry.

1. The Reward of Helping Others

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Medical professionals have the skills and knowledge to meaningfully impact people’s lives. Audiologists can provide tinnitus treatment, prevent patients from experiencing hearing loss and prescribe hearing aids. Paramedics, doctors, nurses, and many other healthcare professionals are required to have a CPR certificate and regularly complete CPR recertification.

This training ensures they can take life-saving measures to respond if a person stops breathing or has a heart attack. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists can help individuals regain skills after a stroke or accident. Whether they’re putting a smile on a patient’s face, making them comfortable or saving their life, healthcare workers make a difference for the people they provide care for.

2. Financial Benefits and Job Security

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Concerns about student loan debt and unemployment can be deterrents for those who are making decisions about attending college. The healthcare field has many careers that are growing at extremely high rates. The job growth projected for speech-language pathologists, nuclear medicine technologists, radiation therapists, and occupational therapists ranges from double to as much as five times the average job growth rate for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Strong demand ensures that those preparing for a medical career will have many opportunities to find employment after graduation. Healthcare professionals tend to pay well. For example, after two years of study, an occupational therapy assistant can enter the workforce and earn a median annual income of over $60,000 per year, per the BLS.

3. Portability

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Healthcare careers are not limited geographically. Every state from coast to coast needs qualified healthcare professionals. Although there might be more opportunities in larger urban centers, there are plenty of healthcare employers in smaller cities and towns as well. This means that those entering the healthcare field typically will not need to change careers if they decide to relocate.

The high growth rates in the healthcare industry ensure that there is an ongoing demand for qualified healthcare professionals, which will make it easier to find work in the location where you want to live. You may only be moving within the city you currently live in, but you may be able to change your place of employment to reduce commuting times or secure other workplace advantages.

4. Potential for Advancement

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Phlebotomists and surgical technologists are just some of the healthcare professionals who can begin their career with limited postsecondary training they can complete in less than a year. These professionals can begin their careers and pursue additional studies to advance to new roles. For example, a physical therapist aides only need a high school diploma and can learn their roles through on-the-job training.

After earning an associate’s degree, they can advance to become a physical therapist assistant and potentially double their salary. A certificate or diploma is sufficient to begin a career in nursing. Licensed practical nurses can advance to become registered nurses with additional education. Registered nurses can complete a master’s degree and become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives or nurse practitioners.

5. Schedule Flexibility

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There are many healthcare roles that offer relatively stable working hours. The majority of physical therapy assistants, physical therapists, audiologists, occupational therapists, optometrists, dentists, and speech-language pathologists work in medical offices or schools. This means they typically work scheduled office hours.

Many doctors and nurses also work in medical offices or schools. For some, shift work may be appealing. Perhaps you would prefer to work nights so that you and your spouse can care for your children without paying for daycare. Those who are not morning people may prefer afternoon and overnight shifts.

Many professionals can trade shifts to ensure their work hours meet their personal needs, and because of the demand for medical professionals, employers often accommodate these preferences to keep staff happy.

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