By Cooper Nelson
Changing careers can be challenging. Simply getting started involves a lot of research and consideration. It’s more complicated than simply deciding what you want to do. It’s about finding a good fit for your talents, interests and abilities.
For many people, healthcare answers all those categories. It’s also an industry that’s growing rapidly and changing daily. Between 2021 and 2031, in fact, the healthcare industry is expected to create 2 million new jobs.
If you’re considering moving from your current profession to healthcare, here are a few things to consider.
The healthcare industry is a great career choice because it can offer opportunities for growth and advancement as well as the ability to contribute to society in a meaningful way.
Some healthcare professionals have flexibility in their careers too. They can work in hospitals or doctor’s offices, or they can choose to pursue positions in research labs or pharmaceutical companies. The healthcare industry is extremely diverse, so there are many types of jobs available for motivated professionals who want to impact the world.
In addition to a stable salary and potential flexibility, individuals working within the healthcare sector can contribute to improving people’s lives. This might mean helping patients recover after an injury or illness and providing them with vital medical assistance. It could also mean working with researchers conducting clinical trials, helping hospitals and health systems run more effectively and preventing disease. Many find this aspect of working in healthcare rewarding.
Job satisfaction is a major factor to consider when changing careers. Many people choose a career in healthcare because they want to help others. They like knowing their work will make a difference in someone’s life.
This, coupled with healthcare’s wide range of available specializations, makes it a satisfying career choice for many people, which is important because job satisfaction makes the day-to-day work more enjoyable and rewarding.
Depending on which healthcare position you’re interested in, salary expectations will vary.
Take health management nursing, for example. Health management nurses are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities. They oversee patient intake, monitor patients’ treatment plans and ensure patients receive quality care.
Health management nurses can also impact an organization’s bottom line: They might help reduce costs by identifying ways to cut unnecessary procedures or measures that don’t benefit patients.
These nurses work in various settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers and physicians’ offices. They may also work in corporate environments where they oversee employee benefits programs such as wellness or disease management programs.
As of May 2021, the salary for medical and health services managers ranged from $60,780 to $205,620, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
This is just one option of many, but it underscores how the field of healthcare encompasses patient care, administrative duties and opportunity.
Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.
As mentioned, healthcare is a growing industry. Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, according to BLS, with an estimated 203,200 job openings for registered nurses each year.
But healthcare encompasses more than nursing. Job growth for health information technologists and medical registrars, for example, is projected to be much faster than average at 17% between 2021 and 2031. Job growth for home health and personal care aides is expected to be even more robust during the same time frame, with BLS projecting 25% growth.
The first step is assessing what kind of education or training you’ll need for your new career path — and how much time it will take. You’ll also want to consider whether you have transferable skills that might make up for any gaps in your resumé. If not, consider taking classes or online courses to help you fill in those gaps as you prepare for a new career path.
Once you’ve figured out which path makes sense for your goals, start applying for entry-level positions to gain as much experience as possible. Hospitals, for example, may offer on-the-job training that allows new hires to learn much of what they need to know before fully integrating into their departments.
Consider looking at direct hire opportunities too. That means you apply directly to a company. It can be a good option if you have experience in a healthcare-related field and want to jump in immediately. You can also look at contract positions, which are usually offered through staffing agencies. These positions often offer more flexibility than direct hire positions because they’re not permanent, but they also don’t come with benefits and can be harder to find.
It’s important to research the healthcare industry before you decide to pursue a career in it. You want to ensure that the field is right for you and that you’re prepared for what lies ahead.
When researching the healthcare industry, look at wage prospects and projected job outlook. But don’t forget about the workload. It’s important to consider how much time you might have to dedicate to this line of work each week or month. Additionally, consider the essential duties and determine whether they’re something of significant interest to you. While helping others is a main goal for many, it’s important to have all information needed before deciding to start your path to becoming a healthcare professional.
Since most healthcare positions require a certain level of education, examine your preferred field to understand how much time it will take you to acquire the necessary qualifications. You should also consider what training you’ll need to enter this field, whether it’s formal education or on-the-job training.
Taking stock of your existing skills and experiences is important when contemplating a career change. You may be surprised by how prepared you are for a new healthcare career.
For example, if you’ve been working in IT support at a hospital but are ready to switch to a registered nurse role, your existing skills and experience will help you understand if this is the right path. Or, if you have some computer science or coding experience, that could give you an edge over other candidates when applying for jobs in IT support at a hospital.
Similarly, suppose you’re working as an RN but are interested in moving into management or administration. In that case, it can help to look at past projects or tasks that require similar skills. You may find areas where your experience will help prepare you for managing employees or overseeing operations at a hospital or clinic.
Healthcare organizations are always looking for job candidates with the right skills, education and experience. While your resumé is an important tool in your job search, you must take the time to ensure that it’s aligned with the position you want and relevant to the healthcare industry.
When creating your healthcare resumé, it’s important to include skills and information to help you target your specific career goals. If you’re applying for a healthcare administrative position, don’t just list your previous jobs — highlight any clinical or healthcare-related experience that lines up to what they’re looking for.
If you’re looking to get into the health administration field, for example, you’ll benefit from the skills and knowledge a bachelor’s degree program offers.
Many different degrees can help prepare you for careers in healthcare. A Bachelor of Science in Health Management or administration will provide skills and training needed to work as an office manager, program manager or other role. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing will teach you how diseases affect people and how they can be treated.
Once you’ve determined your end goal, your education path will become clear.
University of Phoenix offers degrees in both healthcare and nursing. Explore the following options:
Bachelor of Science in Health Administration: With four elective tracks, this degree program covers business management, compliance, finance, information management and more.
Bachelor of Science in Health Management: Interested in the business and regulatory needs of a healthcare organization? This degree program focuses on management, technology, compliance and related subjects.
Master of Health Information/Master of Business Administration: Position yourself to become a leader in healthcare with this dual degree focusing on healthcare administration, accounting and marketing.
Master of Health Administration: Make an impact on the business side of patient care — and help shape your healthcare facility from the top down. With our Master of Health Administration (MHA), you’ll gain a wide range of skills and knowledge — from marketing and IT to policy and economics.
Master of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Leadership: Develop skills to lead programs and initiatives that positively affect people’s health and reduce community health disparities. You will learn various skills, including accessing and advocating for the health needs of communities and mobilizing and engaging community stakeholders.
RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing: This program is designed to enhance the nursing careers of registered nurses. A BSN can help prepare you for careers such as a charge nurse, public health nurse or director of nursing.
Healthcare certificates: Speed and skills unite in a collection of certificate options ranging in subjects from compliance to informatics.
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