Which Medical Career is the Right One for You?

Are you considering a career in healthcare? Healthcare-related occupations are among the fastest growing careers in the United States. In fact, according to a report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 20 of the fastest growing occupations are related to healthcare.

In 2008, an estimated 14.3 million workers were employed in healthcare-related jobs.

Medicine offers a long-term, stable career and regular opportunities for career growth and salary increases. In many cases, you can build a career in this fast-growing field with less than four years of training.

As the baby boomer generation begins to age, the increased demand for healthcare workers means job security for those who choose a career in the medical field. In fact, 78 million baby boomers began to turn 65 in 2011, according to a report from the American Medical Association (AMA).

Besides being given the opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives, a career in the healthcare industry can offer excellent health benefits and flexible hours.

According to the AMA report, geriatricians are especially needed, thanks in part to the aging baby boomer generation. For example, in 2011, there were approximately 7,100 geriatricians in the United States—a decline of 22 percent since 2000. And by 2030, the AMA estimates that there will be 8,000 geriatricians, but 36,000 will be needed.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to spend 8 to 10 years on your education, registered nurses and occupational therapists are in high demand and only require only a couple years of training.

Other healthcare professions that require little training and are vastly needed include medical assistants, registered nurses and nursing aids. These positions also have a relatively high growth replacement rate. Because these positions are in such high demand, the competition level for employment is minimal, meaning it’s possible to obtain a position in nearly any medical facility.

High Paying Careers in Medicine

Since physicians and other high-paid medical professionals will always be needed, medicine is one of few nearly recession-proof career choices.

While the education required to attain these high-paying careers is costly and time-consuming, the salaries they provide make them a worthy investment. To start a career of this magnitude, you’ll need a high school diploma (or GED), as well as two degrees and a clinical residency. And depending on your particular career path and where you plan to practice, you’ll need to fulfill certain licensing requirements. Though the minimum requirements can help you get a high-paying medical career, additional training will help to increase your salary potential and career prospects.

Careers in Medicine with Short Training Programs

You can also choose a healthcare profession that requires little training, but offers a stable, nearly recession-proof career option. In most cases, you can get the training you need for these types of careers at vocational schools and community colleges; however, there are a few select medical professions that don't require the completion of general education courses. As with higher-paying healthcare jobs, additional training can increase your career prospects and potentially increase your salary. You might work in a variety of settings, such as physicians’ offices, hospitals and nursing homes.

Specialized Careers in Medicine

There is always a need for medical professionals with specific training, such as those specially trained to deal with conditions of the heart and the immune system. If you’re considering a career in a particular healthcare specialty, you should know that specialized careers require additional training and certifications— but as with other medical careers, additional training means more career prospects and a potentially higher salary.

Take a career in cardiology, for example. If you choose to become a cardiologist, you’ll complete the same training any physician would. But you’ll also need to complete a cardiology fellowship once you’ve completed a three-year residency for internal medicine. Plus, you’ll need to obtain additional licenses and certifications.

References:

“Career Guide to Industries” http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs035.htm

“Healthcare Jobs” http://www.healthcarejobs.org/

“Medical Careers” http://www.healthcarejobs411.com/medical-careers.html

Croasdale, Myrtle, “Baby boomer time bomb: Too many aging patients, too few geriatricians” http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2008/05/05/prl10505.htm