A career in healthcare is rewarding, but in such a broad field it can be difficult to figure out what career option is right for you. There are many career paths that a healthcare major could take after graduation - from physician assistant to nurse practitioner, there are so many choices! In this blog post, we will discuss six career paths that you might want to consider if you majored in healthcare.
1. Nurse Practitioner
One of the best careers for someone who majored in healthcare is a nurse practitioner. With a nurse practitioner degree, you can provide medical care to patients of all ages and genders. Legally, nurse practitioners can operate autonomously in some states. In other states, they y work under the indirect supervision of a physician, but even then, spend most days working with their patients with a high degree of independence.
Nursing schools offer courses on family planning, prenatal nursing, pediatrics, women's health issues, gerontology, and more. This provides nurses with the skills they need to be able to assist patients with any problem that might arise.
Direct patient care includes diagnosing illnesses through physical exams and lab work, providing emergency treatments for injuries or sudden illness, services such as coordinating prescribed medications, following up after an appointment via phone call and email, or ordering diagnostic procedures like x-rays or blood tests. Educating clients about prescribed treatments and helping them manage chronic conditions is also important.
When most people think of nurse practitioners, they imagine women — but many men are also active in the field. In fact, a nurse practitioner is the third-most common healthcare occupation for men.
2. Physician Assistant
A Physician assistants is a healthcare professional who provides general healthcare to patients and follows the medical orders of their supervising physician. Physician assistants often work in clinics or hospitals, but they can also be found in more diverse settings like nursing homes- even though this isn't as common.
Physician’s assistants are similar to nurse practitioners in that both professions work to directly diagnose and treat patients, have a high degree of autonomy, as well as require significant education (master’s level) and direct clinical experience as part of any program.
There are 20 states that currently allow physician assistants to perform primary care services without supervision from a doctor. However, these states usually require extra training before an individual may provide all types of healthcare treatment independently. This means most PA's will work under the guidance of another health care provider - even if it is just for one shift during each week at first.
The specific tasks performed by physician assistants vary depending on where they're working, but they often include:
- patient examination and diagnosis
- treatment of illnesses and injuries
- laboratory tests such as urinalysis or collecting blood samples
- keeping track of medical records
The education required to become a physician assistant is typically at least two years long which includes earning an Associate's degree in the healthcare field. A bachelor's degree may be preferred by some employers depending on their specific needs. In order to maintain licensure requirements in all states, PAs must complete at least 30 hours per year continuing healthcare education courses from approved providers with no more than one course every three weeks.
3. Life Science Consultant
One healthcare career path that employers are looking for is a life science consultant. These professionals work to help companies expand their markets and develop new products by analyzing the healthcare industry as well as trends in public health, drug development, or patient care. Life science consultants use market research and business analysis tools to assess the healthcare needs of customers before advising companies on how best to proceed with product offerings.
In order to become a life science consultant, ideally you have an undergraduate degree in biology, math, economics, finance, or other subjects related to health sciences and business. Many consultants earn an MBA or get a postgraduate specialization in healthcare management from accredited universities such as Harvard University Business School (HBS) which offers both programs online. The career opportunities in the field are strong as many life science consulting organisations are growing right now. So if you're looking for a healthcare career with the potential to earn a higher salary and combine your knowledge of both business and healthcare, life science consulting might be your best option.
4. Medical Assistant
A medical assistant is a healthcare professional who performs administrative and clinical tasks to support the day-to-day operations of healthcare providers. A medical assistant's duties may include taking patient history, recording vital signs such as weight or blood pressure, assisting physicians during examinations or treatments, or preparing patients for surgery by passing out surgical equipment and supplies like gowns and masks. They also work on might maintaining inventories of medications and other supplies in an efficient manner, collecting specimens (blood samples), providing information about follow up care with discharge instructions and handling billing matters such as insurance forms before procedures even begin. Medical assistants can also be responsible for scheduling appointments as well as managing records which includes updating computerized files with new data from office visits.
A healthcare degree is not typically required to be a medical assistant, but the education and training received at a vocational school or community college will prepare students for careers in this field as well as many others in healthcare.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2026 and with the aging of the population, there will be about 470,000 new jobs available for medical assistants due to increased demand from hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the country.
5. Physical Therapist
Physical therapists primarily work with people who have physical injuries or diseases. They help patients recover from motor impairments, neurological disabilities, and other healthcare problems by devising individualized treatment plans to enhance movement skills such as walking, climbing stairs, bending over easily for dressing, etc. Physical Therapists are also involved in the prevention of health-related problems through education and exercises appropriate to a patient's age group and condition.
Physical therapy as well as its closely related field of occupational therapy require you to graduate from a specialized physical training program (for example a 3-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program). Physical therapists can be attached to large practices or hospitals or be solo practitioners and so the career offers a great deal of flexibility depending on your preferences.
6. Radiologic Technologist
Radiologic technologists administer radiation for imaging healthcare and research. They can work in a hospital, doctor’s office, or academic medical center as well as with private healthcare providers. Radiologic technologists use equipment like X-rays (fluoroscopy), CT scans, MRI scanners, and fluoroscopic cameras to create images of the body from many different angles so that doctors can diagnose problems more effectively than through a physical examination or other testing alone.
A typical day at work might include performing routine diagnostic tests like chest x-rays on patients who have come to the provider clinic with respiratory symptoms, scanning people's brains before undergoing surgery, taking mammograms following a breast cancer diagnosis, helping physicians locate aneurysms within the brain, or taking CT scans of the spine before and after surgery.
If you're looking for a career in the healthcare industry, there are many different options to consider. Whatever positions you are considering, it is important to take time and do your research before making any decisions about what type of work is best suited for your skillset and personality. Careers in healthcare vary considerably in educational requirements, work-life balance, office environment and what you will be doing day to day. We hope that this post has given you some insight into each profession we've covered today and encouraged you to consider working in health care. There are patients that would definitely benefit from your help!