A career in health care can be the ideal choice for anyone who likes to interact with the public, and has an interest in medicine, science or research. The work can be challenging, exciting and well paid; the average industry salary is around $56,000 although many specialists make much more. It’s also an industry that is constantly evolving and in which qualified professionals are always in demand, and offers more job security than most other fields; in fact, healthcare is the largest industry in the US.
However, there are so many different areas of health care that it can be difficult deciding what to focus on. A career in this industry can range from an administrative or billing job in a surgery or hospital, to a specialist surgical position, and the opportunities to specialize are enormous. One way to narrow down the field is to look at your skills and interests; you may prefer working with people more than research work, or you may have an aptitude for numbers or statistics. Specializing can mean anything from working with kids or seniors, to working as a therapist.
Although the industry enjoys high salaries, these can vary widely, and a surgeon will earn a lot more than a nursing assistant or medical practice receptionist. The industry pays more in those areas of the country that have a higher cost of living – New York, California and Hawaii, for example, and some parts of the country also have a higher demand for doctors, nurses and other professionals than other areas. And depending on which field of medicine or health that you want to pursue, you may find that your options are limited when it comes to which areas of the country offer those options.
Another consideration when deciding on your choice of career in the health industry is the education and qualifications needed. Training to be a doctor can take up to eight long years, whereas training to be a certified nursing assistant can be accomplished in just several months. A career as a nursing assistant is a realistic possibility for anyone, even with no medical training. If you like the idea of working in the health industry, but prefer to not have the stress of dealing with the sick or elderly, there are plenty of administrative and supportive jobs. Hospital jobs also include those in marketing, security, food service, cleaning and supplies and many other areas.