Is healthcare a good career path to take in 2023? This is one of the most popular questions among soon-to-be university students. Fortunately, it is! But first, what is a healthcare career?
A healthcare career is an umbrella term used to distinguish various job opportunities in the medical field, from therapists to nurses to doctors. Although each in this sector has unique responsibilities, its primary goal remains the same: to improve the health of every patient.
The healthcare industry is currently booming. Experts believe the demand for healthcare services will grow exponentially in the next decade. This is why it’s a great career choice for those who want job security, flexibility, and stability.
The healthcare industry offers a diverse range of career options for individuals with varying interests and skills. But the question is, what career in healthcare should you pursue? Below are the top careers in healthcare worth considering.
1. Physician Assistant
Physician assistants, or PAs, are licensed medical providers who can examine, diagnose, and treat illnesses. However, PAs aren’t allowed to practice independently. They can only perform their duties under the supervision of a licensed medical doctor.
The key responsibilities of PAs may vary depending on the doctor who supervises them. Nonetheless, their primary tasks typically include the following:
- Diagnosing illnesses and diseases
- Giving supervising doctors a helping hand during surgery
- Creating medical prescriptions
- Conducting various tests and exams
- Developing treatment plans for patients
- Giving advice regarding preventive care
The median salary of a PA is US$121,530. You may visit the websites of various medical organizations for detailed PA salary averages.
2. Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses (RN) who have completed additional training and education. This allows them to perform a wide range of responsibilities, including the following:
- Taking patient histories
- Writing prescriptions
- Ordering laboratory tests
- Conducting physical exams
- Analyzing laboratory results
- Managing treatment plans
- Educating patients and their families regarding extensive care
The median salary of a nurse practitioner is US$120,680. To become a nurse practitioner, you need to finish a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a postgraduate degree (a master’s degree or doctorate). Then you’ll need to pass an exam to become a certified nurse practitioner.
3. Physical Therapist
Physical therapists, or PTs, offer hands-on care and treatment for patients with physical trauma or neurological issues. These include patients who have become
- Fractured while running
- Disabled after an accident (e.g., car collisions, slip-and-fall accidents, etc.)
- Bedridden after experiencing a mild stroke
- Injured while playing strenuous physical activities (e.g., sports, weightlifting, etc.)
PTs can diagnose and treat patients of all ages, from infants and toddlers to adults and the elderly. Their goal is to improve the quality of life of their patients through proper exercise, proactive care, and education.
PTs can create a treatment plan that improves pain and restores overall function. Aside from that, they can also help people achieve fitness goals and promote active lifestyles.
The median salary of a PT is US$95,620. To become a PT, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree, complete a doctor of physical therapy program, finish a clinical residency, earn a license, and obtain certification.
Dentists examine, diagnose, and treat a wide range of oral health problems. These include the following:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Hypodontia (missing teeth)
- Chipped and cracked teeth
- Misaligned teeth
- Bite issues (e.g., overbite and underbite)
Dentists are typically assisted by assistants or hygienists. Dental assistants are responsible for recording patient information and sterilizing instruments. On the other hand, hygienists are responsible for completing the tooth-cleaning process.
The median salary of a dentist is US$160,370. To become a dentist, you must complete an undergraduate degree, take an admission test for dentists, enroll in a dental school, and pass the board exam to obtain a license.
If you have a deep passion and care for animals, you might want to consider becoming a veterinarian.
Veterinarians examine, diagnose, and treat sick, injured, or dying animals. They can also administer vaccines for protection against diseases and write prescriptions.
Unfortunately, in some cases, vets need to perform euthanasia on dying animals. This procedure aims to end an animal’s unbearable pain and suffering and is typically recommended for conditions that can no longer be improved or cured.
The median salary of a veterinarian is US$100,370. To become a veterinarian, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree, gain work experience in a vet’s clinic or animal shelter, complete the doctor of veterinary medicine program, and obtain a license.
Physicians are responsible for restoring, promoting, and maintaining overall health and well-being by examining, diagnosing, and treating conditions.
Here are the other responsibilities of a physician:
- Educating patients regarding preventive care
- Giving advice regarding hygiene
- Writing prescriptions
- Ordering laboratory tests
- Interpreting test results
- Keeping a patient’s medical histories
If you want to become a physician, you can either become a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (DO). MDs and DOs use common treatment methods, including prescribing medications and performing surgeries. However, DOs focus on preventative and holistic care.
The median salary of a physician is US$208,000. To become a physician, you must complete an undergraduate degree, take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), enroll in a medical school, complete a residency program, and obtain a license.
7. Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse anesthetists (NA) are registered nurses who have undergone advanced training and education in anesthesia. Their key responsibilities include the following:
- Administering anesthesia for surgeries and other medical procedures
- Monitoring people recovering from anesthesia
- Educating people about anesthesia
- Evaluating a patient’s response to anesthesia
- Identifying the risk of administering anesthesia, especially for patients with problematic health conditions
The median salary of an NA is US$195,610. To become an NA, you must
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing
- Obtain a license as a registered nurse
- Work at least a year in the intensive care department
- Finish an anesthesia program
- Become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
Keep in mind that NAs aren’t anesthesiologists. Anesthesiologists are licensed medical doctors who specialize in administering anesthesia. Like other doctors, they can perform procedures NAs can’t, such as writing prescriptions and surgical operations.
Healthcare remains one of the top career paths to explore in 2023. The job opportunities are rewarding, and the salary package is great. Also, the healthcare industry offers a diverse range of occupations, depending on your skills and interests. But to succeed, you must be passionate and determined, as the road to becoming a healthcare professional won’t be easy.