Did you know that there are more than 200 different healthcare occupations? If you’re looking for a job in the healthcare industry, you need to think long and hard about which of these career paths will fit you best. You certainly want a career that fits your skills, ideal work environment goals and income, but also the one that sparks your interest and brings you satisfaction every day.
However, as in every decision you have to make, your future medical career path decision requires a lot of the right information and plenty of pros and cons weighing. This decision determines what your future will look like, but it also affects many other people (your potential future patients), so choose wisely. To help you with your choice, here are a few simple steps you can rely on.
Start with a bunch of questions
Every smart decision starts with a bunch of different questions you need to ask yourself and figure out the answers to. What do you really want to dedicate your life to? What skills do you have to use? What do you expect from your starting salary? Can you accomplish your five-year plan with this career? Can you spend 8+ hours a day working this job and stay interested? These are all important questions that will give you an idea about the career that’s right for you, your goals, wishes, skills, and interests. You know that every career, not just in the medical field, requires different skill sets and personality types. Your goal is to find the one that matches yours.
Narrow it down
Once you find what you want to do, it’s time to narrow it down. For instance, go with these questions: Would you like to work in a hospital or a clinic? Do you prefer a doctor’s office or urgent care? Do you want to work with kids, adults, the elderly, or expecting women? These questions will help you determine your ideal work environment so you can start searching for positions that satisfy them. Additionally, examine your role within your work environment. Do you prefer to be the boss or are you satisfied with being a team member or an assistant? And don’t forget to consider your temperament as well. If stress makes you freeze, don’t pursue a trauma surgeon career. On the other hand, if you can’t handle repetitive tasks, stay away from desk jobs in health records.
Work on your skills
Once you have an idea of the field, work environment, and role you see yourself in, it’s time to examine your skills and experience. If you don’t have any of the aforementioned, start working on your education ASAP. On the other hand, if you notice there are a few holes in your CV, sign up for courses, and pursue certification. You can even get your ACLS certification online, which is especially practical for busy students because it leaves you more time to work on your skills. You will get all the necessary study materials, and receive your provider card if you manage to qualify for it. Working on your qualifications will bring you one step forward to your perfect medical career.
Do your homework on the healthcare industry
It’s important to look at the big picture when choosing your career path, so check what’s in demand. Get to know the healthcare trends, events, and key players. Subscribe to specialized publications like Business Week or Wall Street Journal to get an idea of the general situation in the sector. Websites like FierceHealthcare.com and HIN.com provide users with the latest news and developments in specific medical industry fields. You can also check out news sources dedicated specifically to healthcare career development (HealtheCareers.com and About.com’s Health Career site).
Seek professional advice
It’s always best to consult professionals in the field, especially if you’re hoping to follow their footsteps. Seek advice from experts and industry insiders you know are willing to share their experiences and offer tips. Students can always turn to their Career Services Office or other departments that handle student affairs. The Career Services Office will never turn you down — it’s their job to offer advice and tips and point you in the right direction. Professionals usually turn out to be the best and most objective source of help on your search for a perfect career, since they have first-hand knowledge of the job and might even provide you with some connections with the companies looking for employees.
Dealing with these aforementioned questions will certainly help you with your medical career choice. If you know which profession you want to dedicate your professional life too, also consider the time and money it will require to pursue it. Can you and your family make the necessary financial and personal investment? Medical training often requires a lot of energy, time, and money, so make sure to plan well. However, even though becoming a medical worker is challenging, all your sacrifices will be worth it in the end.