Last Updated: September 10, 2021

Career in Healthcare Industry

Candidates who have a passion for helping people and the will to study and work hard will be able to opt for a career in the healthcare industry. This will also require the ability to succeed in a fast-paced environment with schedules that may not always be previously set. This industry provides occupations that will not only be on the frontlines but also be managerial in nature.

With an entire generation of the population moving into retirement, the demand for doctors, nurses, dentists, and pharmacists continues to climb at an increasing rate. In fact, the rate of job growth in the healthcare industry will outpace all other sectors of the U.S. economy in the next decade. Analysts expect 2.4 million new jobs to be added to healthcare alone. Although many workers are losing their jobs to automation and technology, there is a critical human element required in healthcare that will always be in their favor.

Benefits of Working in the Healthcare Industry

The benefits of working in the healthcare industry mostly lie in the investment returns candidates will get once they have completed their education. It is a field where one will always be able to find jobs irrespective of the general trends in the job market. Candidates who wish to be part of this industry will be able to do courses that take a duration of 2 years or 8 years to practice their desired profession. But at the end of the day, candidates will be able to do even certification courses and still be part of the industry.

This industry comes under the service sector and hence has a job growth rate that often exceeds other career options. The projected employment growth rate for laboratory technologists and technicians along with surgical technologists is 7% while that of medical assistants is 19%. While working in this field, candidates will be able to have flexible schedules though they might have to be available on call throughout the day.

Popular Career Options in Healthcare

The most popular career options under healthcare have been listed below-

Nursing

Candidates who wish to be in the medical field but require flexibility in terms of the place, time, and methods of work will be able to choose the profession of a nurse. Nurses will be able to start their careers in a hospital and eventually move on to other opportunities after learning essential skills. Even earning the necessary credentials to be a nurse can be done through different means.

Most states allow individuals to pursue their education at either a 2-year community college where they can get an Associate Degree in Nursing or they could do a BS in Nurse at a university or college of their choice. Starting with a two-year degree can be a wise decision, financially, as many hospitals will offer their nurses tuition assistance to go back to school and complete their B.S.N.

Schooling Required: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree
Median Annual Salary (2020): $75,330 per year

Pharmacist

Being a pharmacist is one of the highest paying jobs in the sector with the adequate level of education the candidate can take in the field. While retail pharmacists comprise the majority of individuals in the profession, there are actually quite a few directions in which candidates can be employed.

Candidates who have always excelled in chemistry and have a flair for lab-related tasks will be able to choose this profession. They will be able to either start their own compounding pharmacy lab or be employed in hospitals. Independent pharmacists fill an important need in the healthcare community by using their chemistry skills and pharmacology knowledge to prepare special formulations of prescription medications for patients.

Some pharmacists work in hospital pharmacies, dosing medications for nurses to administer to hospital patients and monitoring for any potential drug interactions. Nuclear pharmacists pursue specialized training that equips them to work with doctors and radiologists who use nuclear preparations in their treatment or diagnostic procedures.

Schooling Required: Bachelor’s degree plus four-year Doctor of Pharmacy(Pharm.D.) program.
Median Annual Salary (2020): $128,710 per year

Dentist

Dentists are the doctors of oral health. To become a dentist, individuals must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree and compete for acceptance into a four-year Doctor of Dental Science (D.D.S.) program. The major focus of general dentist training is the promotion of oral health, and the treatment and prevention of tooth, gum, or mouth disease.

Dentists are also trained in screening for other diseases of the head, throat, and lymph glands that may require attention by a medical doctor. Beyond general dentistry, dental students can pursue additional education and training in a specialty such as orthodontics (fitting patients for braces or other hardware to fix misaligned teeth and smiles) or periodontics (treating diseases of the gums or bones supporting the mouth structure).

Schooling Required: Bachelor’s degree plus four-year Doctor of Dental Science (D.D.S.)
Median Annual Salary (2020): $164,010 per year

Physician

Deciding to go to medical school requires planning, determination, and commitment. There is no other career that requires as much time, training, and financial investment as becoming a physician or surgeon. Most people know that medical school is four years long, but the preparation for getting accepted into a program starts years before that. For entering into a medical school, candidates will have to complete an undergraduate program in the sciences where they will have to do pre-medical courses to fulfill the requirements.

Upon graduating from medical school, candidates will still have to spend a few years doing their residency before they will be considered eligible for taking the certification. Residency programs are a stage of graduate medical training where new doctors train in their specialty at a hospital under the direct supervision of an attending physician. This can last anywhere from 2 to 8 years. If the specialization chosen by the candidate requires a fellowship, they will have to take another year or two for completing their training in that particular field.

Physicians are generally highly paid within the country and this is subject to the kind of specialization they have taken. The years a candidate spends specializing in a particular field will be reflected by the amount they receive as pay. The job requires them to be on call at all times.

Schooling Required: BS+ 4-year medical school and residency (two or more years)
Median Annual Salary (2020): $208,000 and above per year

Healthcare Administrator

This field is a combination of departments like healthcare, business, and scientific research. Candidates who wish to be healthcare administrators will not have to spend years toiling after a medical degree. They will be able to take up an undergraduate or graduate course in the subject before they apply to hospitals and other healthcare departments where they will be able to find high-paying jobs. They will be learning about concepts like accounting, management of healthcare operations, finance in the healthcare department, etc.

The basic duties they have to do as part of the job include scheduling work shifts for staff, managing budgets, recruiting and supervising staff, etc. They will also have to ensure that the organization is functioning in the best means possible while at the same time creating plans to better the environment both for the patients and the staff. Compared to other healthcare professions, they will have a fixed work schedule.

Schooling Required: BS/MS in Healthcare Administration
Median Annual Salary (2020): $104, 280 per year

Paramedic

Paramedics are the people who work in emergency medical services providing emergency healthcare to the people who need it. This is one of the courses in the healthcare sector that does not require 8-10 years of study before the person can find employment. The academic pathway candidates have to take to be a paramedic includes initially becoming an EMT and certifying for it and then taking up a paramedic educational program. This program can either be in the form of an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree depending on the institution the candidate is choosing and the number of years they want to invest for academics. After this, they will be required to take the National Registered Paramedic examination to certify themselves which will want them to have over 1,200 hours of clinical training and instruction.

The basic duties of a paramedic will be similar to that of an EMT but will range to a higher level when providing emergency healthcare. They might have to give oral and intravenous medication, resuscitate, monitor heart rate, etc. during the process. Their duties might even start from responding to 911 calls and moving to the site of emergency from where they will have to transport the patient to a hospital and report the medical care that has been provided to the attending physician.

Schooling Required: Associate/Bachelor’s Degree in EMS + Certification
Median Annual Salary (2020): $36,650 per year

Emergency Medical Technician

Candidates who wish to be an EMT/emergency medical technician will have to spend a minimum number of years for their education before they can start practicing as one. Their educational pathway begins from high school since having a high school degree with a concentration in the sciences or even having its equivalent is important for taking the next step. They will also have to be CPR certified before they can join a postsecondary non-degree program to be an EMT. This program will have a duration of fewer than 2 years and sometimes even less than 1 year depending upon the institution. After this, candidates will be able to certify themselves by writing the National Registry for Emergency Medical Technician cognitive and psychomotor exams.

The job description of an EMT includes providing emergency medical care to patients by responding to 911 calls and traveling to the spot. They will be providing prehospital care to the patient, though the services they can provide will be limited when compared to that of a paramedic. Candidates who become EMTs will be eventually able to be AEMTS by taking the necessary certification or even study further and become paramedics.

Schooling Required: Postsecondary non-degree EMT program + Certification
Median Annual Salary (2020): $36,650 per year

Phlebotomist

To be a phlebotomist, candidates will have to start by completing their high school education with a concentration in the sciences. They can also choose to take an equivalent high school diploma like the GED if they want to be eligible for the same. It is ideal for candidates to get a CPR certification at this stage. After this, they will be able to enter a postsecondary non-degree phlebotomy program which has a duration of less than a year. The program must be accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Service. Candidates will now have to certify themselves at a state or national level though it isn’t mandatory in most states.

Candidates who enter this profession will have the task of drawing blood from patients and keeping the collected samples safe and documented at all times. This job will include verifying the credentials of the patient to provide accurate reports and even entering the details into the database of the organization.

Schooling Required: Postsecondary non-degree Phlebotomy course + Certification
Median Annual Salary (2020): $36,320 per year

X-ray Technician

To be an x-ray technician, candidates will have to complete their high school education or its equivalent and then enroll for an associate degree/bachelor’s degree/postsecondary degree in radiologic or x-ray technology. Irrespective of the degree the candidate chooses, they will have to complete externships and training during or after the course. This will count as the required work experience for when they enter the job market. They will have to certify themselves at a state or national level before practicing the profession. Some candidates will even get the ARRT certification voluntarily which will make their job application stand out.

The job will include adjusting and maintaining advanced imaging equipment and imaging the patients according to the ailments they have to provide a detailed report to the physician in charge. They might have to position the patient, work with physicians, analyze images at a lower level and even keep patient records as part of the job.

Schooling Requirement: Associate/ Bachelor’s Degree in Radiologic Technology + Certification
Median Annual Salary (2020): $63,710 per year


The decision to enter the healthcare field must be made thoughtfully, intentionally, and with the input of individuals who know the candidate's strengths and growth areas. Once the course of study has been selected, candidates will have to prepare themselves for the strong competition they will face in the field. It will take much hard work and dedication to make this goal come to fruition, and it will take the support of family and friends to help one succeed.

Educational Duration Based Career Options

Taking up a career in the healthcare industry often involves an intensive study that can take up to 8 or 10 years in all. Some professions in the field tend to be research-oriented which can also involve a lifetime of learning and practice in their field of interest. But though most courses require a minimum of 8 years of study, candidates who wish to work in healthcare without spending a few many years of their life will be able to do so.

Some careers require intensive schooling, moderate schooling, and those where less schooling is required. Most often, the number of years spent in schooling will reflect on the amount of salary the candidate will receive while doing that particular profession. The professions that candidates can take up without spending much time in school are- The professions that candidates can take up with moderate number of years spent in schooling are- The professions that require advanced levels of learning like a master’s degree or a doctorate are-

Healthcare Industry

Healthcare Career Options