Selecting the right career path for your future can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Yet, few decisions have a bigger impact on your life. Especially when choosing incorrectly could land you in a career that doesn’t fit your unique personality or future goals! And that – can ultimately leave you unfulfilled or downright unhappy.
It can be particularly difficult in industries that offer a wide range of career choices, like the healthcare profession. Educator and artist, Sister Mary Lauretta nailed it when she said, “to be successful, the first thing you must do is fall in love with your work.” That might seem obvious, but it really does start with having a passion for what you do.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to narrow down your options and make what could be a life-altering decision. But if you know that a career in healthcare is where you belong, maybe it’s time to explore some of the different career paths you might not be aware of. After all, the more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to make the right choice and put yourself on the path to a brighter, happier future. To help you get there, we’ve rounded up some info on a few healthcare careers you might not have considered. And who knows? There may be one that is the perfect fit!
Anesthesia Technology – Anesthesia Technologists provide direct support to the anesthesiologist and needless to say, this is a healthcare specialty that is critically important. If you like the idea of helping people in pain or, in many cases, helping them avoid pain, this is a great field to consider. If you’re an excellent communicator and have physical stamina, solid critical thinking and decision-making skills – this could be right up your alley. Most anesthesia technology programs can be completed within two years and technologists can seek certification which can lead to even more job opportunities. The average annual pay for certified anesthesia technologists in the U.S. is around $45,486. Even better for job security, there are approximately 78,132 active anesthesia technologists job openings in the U.S. as well.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography – Also referred to as general sonography or ultrasound technology, diagnostic medical sonography is the process of using high frequency sound waves to create real-time images of internal organs, tissue, blood flow, bones, and yes – babies, to help doctors to monitor fetal development or diagnose a broad range of medical conditions. Diagnostic medical sonographers literally help people from the inside out and play an instrumental part in helping doctors effectively diagnose and treat patients. And while the average wage for diagnostic medical sonographers was $77,740 in 2021, the top 10% earned nearly $102,000.
Cardiovascular Sonography – The heart of healthcare wouldn’t be the same without the talented professionals who help diagnose the #1 cause of death in the U.S. (Heart disease) Cardiovascular Sonographers create 3-D images of the walls, ventricles and chambers of a patient’s heart using some of the most advanced technology and equipment out there! It’s safe to say that cardiovascular sonographers will have job security as long as human hearts beat. So, if you like working with people from all walks of life, have strong communication and analysis skills and an eye for detail, think about a career that literally has you looking at people from the inside out. P.S. Jobs for cardiovascular sonographers are predicted to grow at a faster than average rate, adding almost 15,000 new jobs by 2031, and the average annual pay is more than $75,000!
Both diagnostic medical and cardiovascular sonographers typically need a minimum of an associate degree and specific training for the type of sonography they wish to practice. And many employers prefer to hire individuals with certification, which can be obtained through a variety of entities including – the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, Cardiovascular Credentialing International, and National Healthcareer Association.
Medical Office Administration – For those who want to work in the healthcare field but don’t necessarily relish the idea of working in an actual medical capacity, medical office administration is a great alternative. Medical office administrators manage the business and office aspects of a medical practice. Like most healthcare careers, having exceptional communication and interpersonal skills are important but some other traits that would be beneficial include – detail-oriented, critical thinking & analysis, organizational skills, and a strong ability to work under pressure. This important role in a medical practice has an average annual salary of $57, 311 in the U.S. and plenty of job opportunities. In addition, most programs can be completed in two years or less and include training that covers a variety of topics including: electronic health records (EHR) medical billing and coding, medical terminology, medical law and ethics, anatomy and physiology, HIPAA compliance, and more.
Medical Assisting – Medical Assistants are the backbone of a strong medical team because they perform both administrative and clinical tasks. If you love helping people and work well in a team-environment, a career in medical assisting is a good choice. You’ll be providing crucial support to physicians and nurses and more importantly, to patients. Being an organized, compassionate good listener with great communication skills are definitely a plus for a medical assistant.
A typical associate degree medical assisting program takes approximately 18-24 months to complete and prepares students to pass the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) exam. While certification is not a state or federal requirement, many employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants and it can also help with career advancement. of 2021, the median wage for medical assistants was $37,190 a year and projected job growth is strong.
Surgical Technology – If you were the kid in high school biology that didn’t get queasy on frog dissection day, (in fact, you were fascinated by it) you might be perfect for a career in surgical technology. Surgical Techs are the surgeon’s right hand – literally. As a surgical tech, you’ll be the one handing life-saving instruments to the surgeon and keeping the OR running like a well-oiled and sterile machine. So, you’ll need to be organized, have a knack for detail, the ability to keep your cool under extreme pressure and not miss a beat. If you’re looking for a career that will never be dull – this is definitely one of them. The demand for surgical techs in the healthcare industry is also growing and the average annual salary in 2021 was more than $48,000, making this career path one to consider.
Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) – Nurses dispense comfort, compassion, and caring without even needing a prescription. Talk about making a difference in people’s lives! Also known as Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN), these nursing professionals are an essential part of any healthcare organization and are always in high demand. LPNs provide critical support to doctors and RNs including – administering medication and IV drips, changing bandages, drawing blood, monitoring and recording vitals, recording patient information and a whole lot more. While the educational requirements to become an LPN vary by state, all states require that practical nurses be licensed in order to practice. This requires completing an accredited nursing program and passing the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination – Practical Nursing) exam. Considering the healthcare industry expects to add over 41,000 new jobs for LPNs by 2031, this is a career path with endless potential for the future.
There’s no shortage of career paths to choose from if you’re looking for a career in healthcare. And there is certainly always going to be a need for skilled healthcare professionals from now until – pretty much forever. The added benefit of a career in healthcare is that you can really take your skills just about anywhere people need healthcare – which is everywhere. And to all the healthcare heroes out there making a difference, one patient at a time – thank you for your service!