Which Healthcare Career Should I Choose?

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to decide on a specific career in healthcare. There are literally hundreds of health fields, so how do you choose the one that will be the right fit for you?

In general, we can separate health careers in seven basic categories. Don’t think of these careers as hierarchies. Different professions simply require different skills, so it’s likely that not all of these professions would be a good fit for you. Instead, try to concentrate on the careers in the category that you feel fits your strengths, interests and goals the best.

1. Diagnosis or Treatment

This career path allows you to offer direct patient care. To do so, you will have to become a well-educated professional with a genuine concern for people, strong problem-solving skills and attention to detail. These careers are usually highly selective and competitive, and require a good aptitude for science and mathematics. Examples of careers in this field include:

  • Dentists
  • Optometrists
  • Physicians
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Podiatrists

2. Allied or Associated

Professionals in this type of career field often work hand-in-hand with professionals from the Diagnosis or Treatment section, helping patients by carrying out prescribed treatments. This field can require training from pharmacy technician colleges or involve more hands-on work than diagnosing or treating, requiring strong interpersonal skills. Examples of careers in this field include:

  • Nurses
  • Dieticians
  • Pharmacists
  • Genetic counselors

3. Rehabilitation

This career path will get you to work with patients who are facing strong challenges for many different reasons. With your help, they can achieve what they once thought would be impossible. These types of positions can demand good physical fitness, strong interpersonal skills and empathy for others. Examples of careers in this field include:

  • Audiologists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Recreational therapists

4. Support

Professionals in this type of career field support other health professionals as part of a patient’s healthcare team. These types of positions can involve direct patient care, hands-on applications or running specialized tests and then communicating the results. Candidates should be meticulous and attentive to details. Examples of careers in this field include:

  • Technologists
  • Lab Technicians
  • Assistants
  • Aides

5. Education

In this type of career field, you assist patients with their health or with the healthcare system. Strong interpersonal skills are usually essential, and being relatively well organized and able to counsel or educate others is definitely advantageous. These types of position can require a fair bit of research as well, to provide your patients with individual care adjusted to their situation. Examples of careers in this field include:

  • Dietary managers
  • Biomedical writers
  • Mental health workers
  • Health educators
  • Health science librarians

6. Administration

The work in this type of career field involves assisting, supervising and managing health organizations, instead of individual patients. In other words, your role is to ensure that the system works smoothly and efficiently, which in turns provides the best possible care to individual patients. Candidates should be extremely well-organized, know how to juggle priorities and possess strong leadership skills. Examples of careers in this field include:

  • Nursing home directors
  • Geriatric care managers
  • Health wellness coordinators
  • Hospital public relations officers
  • Quality assurance directors
  • Medical secretaries with training from medical office assistant colleges
  • Admitting officers

7. Affiliated Roles

These types of position are technically independent of, but related to healthcare. The roles in this field can vary widely. Some involve direct patient care, while others are more science-based. They can be a great way to gain experience in the healthcare system and understand what you like and dislike about it, giving you a better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. Examples of careers in this field include:

  • Biomedical engineers
  • Biostatisticians
  • Social workers, with training from community services worker schools
  • Epidemiologists
  • Athletic trainers
  • Environmental health scientists