Exploring Careers in Healthcare
written by: Lori Horhor
Have you ever doubted your desire to become a physician? Are you certain you want a career in healthcare but unsure about medicine? It’s completely normal and acceptable to want to explore all of your career options before truly committing to becoming a physician. The world of healthcare is massive, and it is important to familiarize yourself with the variety of professions available. In the following career options, you will be making a direct impact on the health of your patients and changing their lives for the better.
Are you particularly interested in medications and prescriptions? Pharmacy may be a good fit for you! In order to become a pharmacist, you must first obtain your Doctor of Pharmacy degree, for which you must go to four years of pharmacy school. As a pharmacist, you will ensure that patients receive the correct dose of their prescriptions and instruct them on how to take them safely.
If you would like to work closely with physicians without attending medical school or completing a residency, then you might enjoy working as a physician assistant! To become a physician assistant, you need to earn a master’s degree (usually a two-year program) after completing your undergraduate courses. Physician assistants help physicians diagnose and treat patients and can even order prescriptions!
Do you know whether you would like to work in primary healthcare or specialty healthcare? If you would like the opportunity to explore either, you might want to consider becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), which is an advanced subset of registered nursing. APRNs include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified nurse anesthetists. To become an APRN, you must first complete a minimum of a master’s degree in your specific role and pass a certification exam.
Are you interested in helping people regain their full physical potential and recover their range of motion after experiencing some form of loss of function? Physical therapy may be a great fit for you. As a physical therapist, you will establish treatment plans and assess patients during their journey of physical rehabilitation. In order to become a physical therapist, you must first obtain your Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, which takes three years to complete.
If you would like to help people improve their abilities to verbally communicate, then you should consider exploring speech pathology. A speech pathologist works with children and adults who suffer from speech and language disorders caused by brain injuries, autism, developmental issues, and more. To become a speech pathologist, you need to complete a master’s program in this field, which usually takes less than two years.
Are you interested in dentistry? There are a variety of careers in this field that are all vital to providing the best oral care possible to patients. To become a general dentist, you need to obtain a DDS, which takes four years of dental school. Dentists provide a wide array of services necessary to diagnose and treat patients through regular appointments. You could even specialize in careers such as orthodontics or maxillofacial surgery, after completing more school and training. Additionally, dental hygienists fill the important role of providing oral cleanings, examining for signs of disease, and providing advice on how to maintain good oral health; this profession requires an associate’s degree.
If vision and eyesight interest you, you may want to consider becoming an optometrist. After attending professional school for four years and receiving a Doctor of Optometry degree, optometrists spend their days performing eye exams and vision tests, as well as treating conditions and prescribing eyeglasses.
These are only a few of the hundreds of careers available in healthcare. If you know you want to work in healthcare but are unsure of your decision to become a physician, I highly recommend exploring all of these professions and more before pursuing medicine. Furthermore, if you do not feel swayed whatsoever by any other career in healthcare, then you can feel more confident about your path to medicine! Congratulations!