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How to Get Started on a Career in Healthcare: A Guide

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Working in healthcare is good for the world and good for you. Though there is such a thing as compassion fatigue, and you will need to be careful with your physical and mental health working in healthcare, done right it can be the smartest career change possible. Healthcare is constantly growing in demand because the population is growing. New technology, tools, and treatments also mean that more professionals are needed in the field.

While working as a nurse or doctor are two of the most direct ways you can work in healthcare, you don’t need to start from scratch to make the career change. You can use your existing degree and work experience to make a great change for your career. If you are interested in starting a new career path in health, use this guide to help you get started and make the best decisions for your future.

1. Know Your Passions and Interests

Photo: iStock

Healthcare is a massive industry. You could very well immediately start working in a healthcare setting just by transferring any existing work experience and credentials over. Marketing, management, finance – these are all fairly universal positions that can be translated into a healthcare setting, just by actively seeking out opportunities and applying for them.

With that in mind, it is important that you pursue your passion. Even artists can work in healthcare, and help design and update different areas of the hospital to make them more accessible, calming, and engaging. The children’s ward in particular often hires artists to bring more life to the area, so kids and their parents can feel more at ease.

The point is, you don’t have to trade off a great career for your passion. If you want to help others by working in healthcare, there are many ways you can do just that while doing what you love.

2. Leverage Your Existing Credentials

Even if you want to complete a degree to gain the qualifications you need to apply to a new role, do remember you can use your existing credentials. If you have completed a degree before, chances are that you can transfer credits over and speed up your degree so you can start your new career, faster.

3. Explore the Roles Available to You

Before you get excited about a new role, it’s good to do the due diligence and really explore the roles available. It’s okay if you cannot immediately qualify. If you have an end-game job that you really want, work your way up towards it bit by bit.

4. Know The Qualifications You’ll Need

Your next step will be to look at job postings and making a note of what qualifications are frequently asked for. Not every employer will require the same things, but if there is a consensus (for example, a degree, or certification after passing the state exam) then that is something concrete that you will need to achieve before you can start working in the role that you want.

5. Choose the Right Degree

Healthcare is straightforward in the sense that there are degrees to take and state exams to pass if you want to get into healthcare or work your way up the career ladder. For nurses there is a degree or certification needed for every step up they take, but it’s more flexible for those in non-medical roles. Healthcare administrators, for example, have much more flexibility, but at the same time getting a relevant degree can help you master every skill.

What do healthcare administrators do You’ll need to deliver healthcare services, improve organization and efficiency in your department, keep records up to date, ensure that your department is adhering to legal regulations, budget, monitor spending, recruit, promote employee engagement, and so much more.

In such a role you will be supporting all medical staff, so that they can provide fast, effective care to patients. It’s not a role you should take lightly, and the right degree can teach you everything you need to prepare you both as an entry-level worker, and give you the background to work your way up to a head administrator.

6. Network

Networking is important in every single industry. Healthcare is no exception. People want colleagues they can trust to work either with them, or for them. Thankfully there are many opportunities to network. Start during your degree, and aim to attend as many conferences and workshops as you can. You will meet people in your field during this time, and be able to network naturally while showing off your skill and dedication to your new career in healthcare.

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