Many people want to make a career change into the medical field, and with the high rates of pay, and the chance to make a real difference in people’s lives it’s not hard to see why. However, deciding on the right medical career role can be something of a challenge, especially when there are so many to choose from. Luckily, you can read all about the myriad of different roles on offer below, something that should help making the right choice a great deal easier.
The first medical career option to consider is that of a nurse. Nurses carry out a varied role in the medical world, and the day to day duties often depend on the situation in which they are working. However, as a whole, a nurse may expect to perform tasks such as drawing blood, administering medication, and keeping up with notes for patient records.
Traditionally, the role of a nurse has been one that works alongside doctors, supporting them in their work. Although, at the higher levels nurses are also highly qualified and require a great deal of both practical experience and medical training.
In the US, there are two main levels of nurse qualification to consider. The first of these is an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse, which requires a diploma level qualification. Then there is the registered nurse position which requires four years of university and a bachelor’s degree.
An RN can expect to earn more than an LPN at around $35 per hour compared to the LNs $24. There is usually a high level of demand for both positions, although candidates may have to travel to secure one that is right for them.
The next medical career position that you may wish to consider is that of a doctor or physician. While working closely with nurses of all levels, a doctor’s role is different because it focuses on the diagnosis and selecting treatment, rather than overall care. Being a physician is a very specialized role and as such it requires extensive education and training, as well as specialization in an area of practice.
Education for a doctor begins in college, and once they have achieved their undergrad and MD, they will be required to serve as residents in several medical settings before moving on to their chosen specialism.
Another important and rewarding role in the medical field to consider is that of a pharmacist. Pharmacists can work in a variety of settings from hospitals, to supermarkets where they dispense medications. The responsibilities of a pharmacist include checking patients’ prescriptions to ensure they are safe, and that they do not negatively interact with any other condition or medication that their patient is on. To be able to perform such a task, pharmacists must understand biology, chemistry, and anatomy, and must complete a relevant doctor of pharmacy degree before practicing.
You probably already had a good idea of what a doctor and nurse do on a day-to-day basis. However, when hearing the term above, many people ask just What is a Medical Assistant exactly? Well, the answer to this question is they are the people that do the paperwork and admin tasks that allow nurses and doctors to focus on their patient-facing work. Indeed, because there is so much administrative work in medicine, that makes good medical assistants a valuable and in-demand asset. Something that means they can command salaries of around $15-18 an hour.
Emergency Medical Technician
Emergency medical technicians are most often known as EMTs and have been made famous by shows such as ER. EMTs are focused on an area of medicine known as triage, which is providing immediate care in a life-threatening crisis. Indeed, this is why you will find EMTs working in high-stakes situations such as ambulances or emergency rooms, where providing the right treatment as fast as possible is vital for the long-term prognosis of the patient.
The average salary for an EMT is around $16ph, and probably a little less than you might expect for such a vital role. However, unlike positions such as doctor, nurse, or pharmacist an EMT can practice with only the relevant trade school training. On the plus side, demand for EMTs is often very high, and that makes them one of the most employable medical roles there is.
Being an OT or Occupational Therapist is all about supporting patients as they heal from injuries, or helping people to maximize their functioning when they suffer from a disability.
With that in mind, it is important that you both have the medical knowledge and a patient and encouraging disposition if you choose to pursue this career. OTs can enter the field with either a master’s or a doctorate in occupational therapy, and once again, the number of available roles is only on the increase in this sector.
A dietician, often known as a nutritionist, is someone that helps people come up with a personalized eating plan. Often this is to help them lose weight but it can also be for many other conditions such as seizures, ADHD, and even allergies.
To become a dietician, a candidate must have a good grasp of nutrition, and how it impacts the body. Nutritionists can work privately, or they can find a role in hospitals and clinics where they may come up with diet plans that support recovery, or ensure patients are healthy enough to withstand surgery.
Medical equipment technician
Another sort of medical technician role that you may like to consider is one focused on the preparation of medical equipment. These technicians mostly spend their time setting up and educating patients on how to use the equipment needed for their treatment. This means they can be found in hospitals, and other medical clinics, but also will need to visit patients’ homes and sometimes even their places of work.
In particular, being well versed in the safety issues around each item of equipment they are setting up is vital for a Medical Equipment technician.
An optometrist or eye doctor is a physician that specializes in vision and optical health. The majority of their time is spent performing eye tests on patients and prescribing visual aids such as contact lenses, and glasses.
To qualify as an optometrist, you must gain a doctor of optometry degree. Salaries often exceed $100, 000 a year, although currently there is not as much demand for eye doctors as some of the other medical specialisms.
Being an Obstetrician is all about looking after the health of pregnant women, and helping them to deliver their babies. Indeed, if a woman gets into difficulty during labor, it is usually an Obstetrician that will be called to assist.
Some Obstetricians also work in the gynecologist field, which is focused more generally on women’s reproductive health, and not solely on pregnancy, and birth. As a physician specializing, gynecology is a well-paid post with many earning over $200,00 a year. It also requires a full Doctor of Medicine qualification, and significant experience, and further learning to stay up to date with the latest research.
As you can see there are many positions within the medical profession, that would be perfect for career changers. Of course, it is worth noting that the ones that require a college degree plus education may be more of a challenge for those switching careers, especially if they choose to make a change in later life. Although, with enough motivation anything is possible.