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The medical field is extremely broad and has hundreds of different jobs. From administration to brain surgery and everything in between, the options for a career in the medical field are abundant. There are many aspects to a career to consider in order to find a medical career you’ll love. Knowing what’s important, finding your passion, having realistic expectations, and doing your research are all ways to find a medical career you’ll love. Whether it’s location, salary, education, patient interaction, management, science, or changing the world that motivates you to do your job, there is a medical career to fit your passions.

Know what’s Important
When deciding on which medical career is right for you, you’ll need to prioritize what’s important. If salary is important, research the medical careers available in the salary range you desire. If your degree is important, research the educational requirements of some fields that seem interesting to you. Since the medical field is so broad, there are options in education from a certification to a doctorate degree. If travel is important to you, research the options for travel nursing and what is required to work in that field. The opportunities are limitless as long as you do your research and prioritize what’s important.

Since having a job with every perk we dream about is pretty much impossible, prioritizing in a realistic way is important. Chances are we might have to sacrifice a few more years than we’d like to schooling, or work shifts we’d rather be home for, or make a little less money than we’d prefer, but as long as you know what is important, you can prioritize certain things and discover the non-negotiables while finding your perfect job.

Find Your Passion
Whether animals, patient care, diagnostics, or another area of medicine, you have to discover what your passion is in order to find the job that’s meant for you in the medical field. Any career in the medical field is difficult, filled with late nights, life or death decisions, and physical and emotional stresses. Without a passion to do the work, it’ll be a taxing career choice. So before deciding on salary, location, or educational requirements of each option, decide what aspect of healthcare you are passionate about and seek options in that category. Those in administration, for instance, may not have to work the more difficult shifts, but they do lose out on patient interaction. If your passion is dealing with patients, it might be better to look into the hands-on careers.

You have the ability to work with children, infants, the elderly, emergencies, cancer patients, injured animals, department organization, hospital finances, or a regular clinic. There is a place for your passion as long as you are able to find it. Hospitals need nurses, medical assistants, paramedics, doctors, and hundreds of other positions. The world needs medical professionals passionate about their patients and it’s important to find your passion in order to find the career that coincides with it.

Having Realistic Expectations
Discovering what’s important and what your passion is the first step in finding a medical career you will love. The next step is to make sure your expectations of each career choice is realistic. Research is your friend and it’s important to know the ins and outs of each career option that may satisfy your passion. Medical assisting, for instance, not only requires minimal schooling, but also offers growth for the future as well as a variety of medical settings to work in. Veterinary medicine is not just cuddling kittens and puppies all day, but also involves some less than glamorous procedures as well. Working in pediatrics is a great way to be involved in the treatment of children, but it also involves some heartbreaking decisions to make. Nursing is a great way to experience many different aspects of medicine, but it also involves less than ideal working conditions. The better you manage your expectations, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your job.

Finding a medical career you love is all about discovering what’s important to you in a career, what you are passionate about in the medical world, and managing your expectations for each career choice. The medical field is not a career path for the faint of heart, and those that find their passions within the medical world have to be dedicated and strong individuals. The options can be overwhelming, but it’s a blessing in disguise in order to find the perfect career path for you.

This article was contributed by guest author Chelsy Ranard.

Image by Ilmicrofono Oggiono, Flickr

Image by Ilmicrofono Oggiono, Flickr

As a freshman entering college, it seems as though a large percentage of students are just starting on their career path towards becoming a doctor. It can feel like nearly every declared biology and/or chemistry major has goals set on a luxurious specialized practice after ten plus years of hard studying.

Needless to say, not many actually achieve this goal. Aside from an average minimum GPA of 3.5 and a MCAT score somewhere in the 70th or 80th percentile, students are also strongly encouraged to spend a lot of time volunteering in a hospital setting, completing research, and building a strong resume. For many students that must work part-time just to afford school, this can be an insurmountable task.

There is good news though. Nearly every aspect of the healthcare industry is expected to grow over the next ten years. More than that, in the United States with baby boomers reaching retirement age and the implementation of The Affordable Healthcare Act, there couldn’t be a better time to become a healthcare professional without attending medical school.

Here are a few different positions where those interested in healthcare can expect the market to continue to grow over the next decade.

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists are medical professionals that help individuals to maintain or recover movement and manage pain. Typically, physical therapists treat a variety of patients from a number of different scenarios ranging from car accidents to old age. With baby boomers reaching the age in which movement starts to become difficult a 39% increase in physical therapists is projected, especially in rural areas.

In most states the typical physical therapist needs three years of coursework after undergraduate education to become a licensed physical therapist. They can work in nearly every hospital setting including private offices, clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. The average physical therapist makes approximately $76,000 annually.

Nurse Midwife

The idea of becoming a nurse midwife might sound somewhat ancient to some people. However, nurse midwives are a playing a major role in the healthcare industry. With an advanced degree in female health issues, nurse midwives are helping women with adolescent issues, maternity and childbirth, and menopause. The job market is projected to increase by 26% in the next ten years.

To become a nurse midwife, it is necessary to first become a registered nurse. After a few years of experience it is possible to go back to school and complete a certification program. The extra education tends to be well worth it as the average nurse midwife makes $114,000 annually.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are probably one of the most versatile positions within the healthcare industry. These medical professionals typically work in various doctor’s offices and occasionally hospitals to provide assistance to the leading health care physician in the form of both administrative and medical tasks. Often times this position requires individuals to check patients in, taking vital signs, and updating medical records.

This profession requires a bit less schooling, usually just a two-year associates degree followed by a certification examination. Salaries can range pretty widely based upon the setting in which you are working. However, it will typically range between $22,000 and $32,000 annually.

Healthcare Informatics

For those people that like the idea of working to improve the lives of people, but do not handle sick and in pain patients well, perhaps a career in healthcare informatics is more ideal. Healthcare informatics professionals generally deal more with the technical and organizational side of hospitals. The day-to-day work of the career can vary widely, ranging from managing patient records to maintain confidentiality all the way to researching health care costs and trends.

The healthcare informatics field is expected to increase by 21% between 2010 and 2020. Typically these specialists need some form of technical work experience and often a degree beyond undergraduate education to manage. The average healthcare informatics tech earns around $70,000 annually.

This article was submitted by guest author Brittni Brown.