If you’re keen to move into a healthcare career path this year, you’re likely checking out job availabilities in your area, updating your resume, and perhaps looking at getting additional training.
However, before you get too far down the road of applying for roles, it’s important to consider a few key elements that can greatly impact your success as you go after a new position.
Understand the Training, Qualifications, and Experience Required for Different Roles
Before deciding on a healthcare career path, determine if you have the right training, qualifications, and experience for the roles you’re interested in. If not, you may need to go back to school. Different positions require very different levels of study or software training, for instance, so you must do your research.
You may need to complete a human services degree for one role or simply get some on-the-job training for another. Most medical-based positions require a significant amount of study time, though, so keep that in mind.
Consider Your Goals and Strengths
Of course, you also need to think very hard about your specific career goals over the coming years. Think short-term and long-term and see if the careers you’re considering will likely fit into these plans. For example, you might have a strong desire to serve people or be fascinated by the human body and continually learning about it.
Do you want to work directly with patients, or would you prefer a more hands-off role where you can aid people from afar? Some workers like a lot of patient interaction, while others aren’t interested in that at all, and some people like to work in groups, while others prefer to work alone.
Also, keep your strengths in mind. If you know you’re great at leading a team and seeing the bigger picture, a healthcare management role might be perfect. On the other hand, if you like working with data, you could get into information management. If you enjoy helping people to combat pain, you could become a physiotherapist, masseuse, or chiropractor, among other things. Depending on what you excel at, you might be the perfect fit for one role and a disaster (or at least very challenged!) in another.
Think About the Likely Hours and If They’ll Suit Your Plans
Another factor to consider closely is the likely hours involved in the jobs you’re considering. If you have young children that you still need to spend plenty of time with or whom you need to be able to drop off at school and pick up in the afternoon, you won’t be able to do a job that involves regularly changing shift work, for example. More set hours will be what you need.
On the other hand, if you’re young and don’t have any family commitments as yet, you might be completely fine with working in a role in a hospital, nursing home, healthcare clinic, or the like, where you often have to work nights or other less-than-typical hours. Some jobs are Monday to Friday only, too, while others involve working weekends, public holidays, and the like. Keep in mind your needs and preferences regarding hours for the coming year and the longer term.
Talk to People Who Already Do the Jobs You’re Interested In
Before getting a set idea about which healthcare career path to pursue, talk to multiple people who have had the types of jobs you’re considering. Chat to them about what they saw as the pros and cons of their work, what they wish they’d known before they began a role, how the job changed over the years, and more.
It also pays to find yourself a mentor if possible. If you can have someone on hand to discuss things with as you narrow down your choices and then enroll in courses or training, apply for jobs, prepare for interviews, etc., this can help you greatly in your career.
While you may be impatient to pick a job type ASAP and get working on landing a related role, you’ll give yourself the best chance of long-term career success if you consider multiple factors and take your time picking out a new vocation.