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5 Things To Consider Before Entering a Career in Health Care – 2021 Guide

by Wilma Lucas

Are you thinking about entering the health care field, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you?

Healthcare careers can be very lucrative and rewarding. However, the healthcare field isn’t for everybody. And since a lot of healthcare jobs require years of schooling, it’s important that you think through your decision before making the leap.

What do you need to think about?

Check out this guide to learn about the top things you need to consider before entering a career in health care.

1. Your Motivations

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First things first, you need to think about your “why”. That is, why do you want to pursue a career in healthcare?

A career in healthcare comes with financial benefits as well as social prestige. While these are undeniable benefits, it’s risky to pursue a career in healthcare if these are your only reasons for entering the field.

Your biggest motivation to enter the healthcare field should be your desire to help others. Now, keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to help others in a face-to-face, direct capacity. There are many healthcare careers that allow you to work behind the scenes with your primary goal still being to help patients.

Working in healthcare is very stressful, and it takes a lot of hard work and determination. If you’re only motivated by money and status, you may have a hard time dealing with some of the tougher aspects of the job.

2. Areas of Specialization

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When most of us think of healthcare workers, we think of doctors and nurses. However, there’s a whole range of healthcare careers outside of doctoring and nursing.

And, even within doctoring and nursing, there are many specialties and subspecialties. While your initial reaction may be to pursue a degree as a doctor or nurse, spend some time researching other careers in the healthcare field. You may just stumble upon a career that you’d never heard of that would suit you perfectly.

Here’s a brief list of careers to consider outside of being a doctor or nurse:

  • Surgical technician
  • Phlebotomist
  • Medical billing/coding specialist
  • Scientist/research
  • Occupational/physical therapist
  • Chiropractor
  • Respiratory or speech therapist
  • Dietitian or nutritionist
  • Sonographer
  • X-ray or MRI technician
  • Nursing home administrator
  • Hosptial CEO/CFO
  • Dental office administrator
  • Dental hygienist
  • Chiropractic office manager

As you can see, there’s a wide range of healthcare careers out there just waiting to be explored. Chances are, you’ll find something that suits you. This guide from UMA can also help you find a healthcare career that bests suits you.

3. Your Strengths and Weaknesses

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Once you’ve read up on the different areas of specialization, take some time to consider your strengths and weaknesses. The great thing about healthcare is that there’s a job out there for nearly every personality type.

If you’re introverted and you love statistics and data, then you may perform best in a research role. If you’re outgoing and you perform well under pressure, then you may want to consider working as an ER nurse.

If you’re known for being compassionate and sympathetic yet analytical, you may want to consider a career in psychiatry.

4. Desired Lifestyle

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Before pursuing your education in healthcare, you also want to think about what you want your desired life to look like. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the romance and drama of medical shows like Grey’s Anatomy and ER.

These don’t realistically portray what life is really like for healthcare workers. If you want to be a physician or surgeon, it’s important to understand that you’ll likely be on call on holidays and weekends and sometimes overnight.

If you don’t want to be working around the clock, then you may want to consider a career with less pay but more stable hours, such as that of a medical coder.

5. Your Financial Situation

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Before embarking on a career in healthcare, you also need to consider your financial situation. It’s no secret that it costs a lot of money to earn your undergraduate degree. And, many careers require you to go beyond that and earn a master’s or Ph.D. And of course, if you want to be a doctor, you’ll need to prepare yourself for over a decade of schooling.

Now, you should never let your age or where you’re at in life discourage you from pursuing your dreams. If you’re 40 and you’ve always wanted to be a doctor, go for it. You’d be surprised at the number of people who make a midlife career switch to the healthcare field.

Still, it’s important to think about how you’re going to pay for schooling. Most degrees in the healthcare field require full-time study, so holding down a job while going to school may not be possible.

Luckily, there are many scholarships and loan programs available to students of all ages. First, though, you’ll need to decide which career field you want to go into.

If you want to become a phlebotomist, for example, you’ll be able to finish your program in as little as 4 to 8 months. With these programs, you can often hold down a job at the same time. But, if you want to become a doctor, you’ll need to be prepared to commit a decade of your life to study and being in debt.

Are You Ready to Pursue a Career in Healthcare?

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Now that you know what to consider before pursuing a career in healthcare, it’s time to mull everything over. If you think the healthcare field is right for you and you’ve decided on your career path, then your next step is applying for schools.

Before you know it, you’ll be working your dream job in the healthcare field.

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more career-related news and tips.

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