If you are looking to start a new career path, the field of healthcare could be a great choice for you to consider. Over 18 million people in the US work in healthcare, and it is also the fastest-growing sector of the economy.

So, why do so many people choose a career in this field? There are plenty of reasons why the healthcare sector is such a popular vocation.

In this guide, we will examine the benefits of working in healthcare, the different job roles available in the field, and what you need to do to follow this career path.

What Are the Benefits of Working in Healthcare?

Healthcare is considered a largely recession-proof sector—whatever state the economy is in, people will always need to look after their health and will often require medical advice or assistance.

The fact that there is now an aging population, as well as the current global coronavirus pandemic, has also led to an increase in the demand for healthcare and the number of jobs available in the sector.

A job in healthcare is likely to be a job that is safe and secure, so you will not have to worry much about redundancy!

Salaries in the healthcare sector can vary hugely, and annual six-figure salaries are very common. The highest-paid individuals in certain advanced specialist roles can even reach the higher end of the six-figure salary role, with salaries of over $300,000 a year!

There is a huge number of jobs in the healthcare sector, with a role to suit pretty much anyone.

Whatever your skills and specialties, there is likely to be a healthcare role that you would enjoy and excel at if you have a passion for helping people.

From clinical jobs such as nurses, doctors, and surgeons to administrative positions like directors and administrative assistants, the possibilities are almost countless.

If you are more of a technically minded person, jobs in radiology or phlebotomy can be lucrative, and if you are simply interested in helping people but do not have much technical expertise, there are plenty of support roles available.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Work in Healthcare?

Because the number of different job roles in healthcare is so high and the job descriptions are so varied, there is not a simple answer to the question of what specific qualifications are needed.

If you are interested in a particular job role, it is best to research the qualifications needed for that specific job role.

Generally speaking, the level of education needed to get into the healthcare sector ranges from less than a year in college to over a decade of study!

However, most of the time, a large amount of the education needed will be acquired through placements and on-the-job training, and an income can be earned while carrying this out.

There may also be the opportunity to earn qualifications, such as a post-masters DNP, via online courses.

If you are interested in learning more about the different job roles in the healthcare field that are available, keep reading.

What Are the Different Clinical/Medical Job Roles in Healthcare?

Job roles in healthcare that are known as ‘clinical roles’ differ from other types of roles for two main reasons.

The first is that clinical roles usually involve direct contact with patients to provide treatment, care, and to diagnose health conditions.

However, some roles that are considered clinical roles do not feature direct contact with patients, such as workers who work in laboratories to assist with diagnoses and treatments.

The second thing that separates clinicians from other healthcare roles is that clinical roles almost always require certifications such as degrees from a nursing or medical school.

The most common clinical roles include physicians (often simply referred to as ‘doctors’), registered nurses (or RNs), or nurse practitioners (RNs with advanced certification earned through a master’s degree).

There are many different subcategories within nursing, and these are some of the roles:

  • Ambulatory Nurse
  • Behavioral Health Charge Nurse
  • Cardiac Catheterization Lab Nurse
  • Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse
  • Charge Nurse
  • Dermatology Nurse
  • Dialysis Nurse
  • Emergency Room (ER) Nurse
  • Endoscopy Nurse
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Flight Nurse
  • Forensic Nurse
  • Home Health Nurse
  • Hospice Nurse
  • House Supervisor Nurse
  • Intensive Care Nurse
  • Interventional Radiology Nurse
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse
  • Lead Registered Nurse
  • Legal Nurse Consultant
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse
  • Medical Surgery Nurse
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Occupational Health Nurse
  • Office Nurse
  •  Oncology Nurse
  • Operating Room Nurse
  • Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Perioperative Nurse
  • Post-Anesthesia Nurse
  • Postpartum Nurse
  • Progressive Care Nurse
  • Psychiatric Nurse
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Public Health Nurse
  • Restorative Nurse
  • School Nurse
  • Telemetry Nurse
  • Wellness Nurse

Clinical roles outside of nursing include:

  • Anesthesiologist
  • Audiologist
  • Bereavement Counselor
  • Cardiovascular Technologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Genetic Counselor
  • Microbiologist
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Optician
  • Optometrist
  • Orthodontist
  • Orthotist
  • Paramedic
  • Pediatrician
  • Pharmacist
  • Prosthetist
  • Physician
  • Podiatrist
  • Registered Medical Assistant
  • Respiration Therapist
  • Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Surgeon
  • Therapist

There are also clinical veterinary roles, such as a Veterinarian, Veterinary Assistant, and Veterinary Technologist.

What Are the Different Support Job Roles in Healthcare?

Support roles are also essential in healthcare, and clinicians would be unable to provide patients with medical care if it were not for the work of staff in various different healthcare support roles.

Although these roles are classed as ‘support’ or ‘assistant’ roles, this does not necessarily mean that they are lower-ranking or even lower-paid than clinical roles.

For example, a Nurse Manager or Clinical Nurse Manager takes a management role over other nurses.

Other support job roles in healthcare include:

  • Athletic Trainer
  • Certified Medical Assistant
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Clinical Liaison
  • Clinical Research Associate
  • Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Clinical Reviewer
  • Clinical Specialist
  • Dental Assistant
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dietician
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Home Health Aide
  • Hospice Aide
  • Massage Therapist
  • Nurse Aide
  • Nurse Clinical Educator
  • Nurse Consultant
  • Nurse Informatics Analyst
  • Nurse Manager
  • Nurse Paralegal
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Orderly Attendant
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Physician Aide
  • Physician Assistant
  • Psychiatric Aide
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Recreational Therapist

What Are the Different Administrative Job Roles in Healthcare?

Young female receptionist holding tablet computer in hospital

Every business requires efficient and effective administration in order to run properly, and healthcare providers (hospitals, surgeries, and so on) are no exception.

If it were not for administrative roles, clinicians and other medical professionals would be significantly limited in their ability to provide services to patients.

If you have experience in any kind of administration, you may be able to transfer this experience to the healthcare sector and help with the scheduling of appointments, the keeping of medical records, and other tasks related to the general operations of a healthcare facility.

There are many different administrative job roles in healthcare, such as:

  • Account Executive
  • Account Manager
  • Accountant
  • Accounting Manager
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Administrative Medical Assistant
  • Administrator
  • Admissions Clerk
  • Admissions Director
  • Assistant Administrator
  • Assistant Admissions Director
  • Assistant Director of Nursing
  • Bereavement Coordinator
  • Billing Manager
  • Billing Specialist
  • Business Analyst
  • Case Manager
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Claims Examiner
  • Claims Specialist
  • Clinical Coordinator, Recovery Services
  • Coordinator
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Director of Nursing
  • Director of Operations
  • Director of Rehabilitation
  • Executive Assistant
  • Executive Director
  • Financial Analyst
  • Front Office Clerk
  • Health Facilities Surveyor
  • Health Services Manager
  • Healthcare Administrator
  • Healthcare Management
  • Healthcare Specialist
  • Hospice Administrator
  • Hospital Administrator
  • Medical Administrative
  • Medical Assistant or Receptionist
  • Medical Associate
  • Medical Billing Specialist
  • Medical Claims and Billing Specialist
  • Medical Manager
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Medical Office Manager
  • Medical Office Specialist
  • Medical or Health Services Manager
  • Medical Receptionist
  • Medical Records Clerk
  • Medical Records Director
  • Medical Sales
  • Medical Secretary
  • Medical Transcriptionist
  • Mobile Director of Nursing Services
  • Nursing Home Administrator
  • Office Assistant
  • Office Clerk
  • Office Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Patient Access Supervisor
  • Patient Care Associate
  • Patient Services Representative
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Program Director
  • Program Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Quality Coordinator
  • Medical Receptionist
  • Regional Sales Manager
  • Safety Surveillance Associate
  • Sales Associate
  • Sales Manager
  • Sales Representative
  • Secretary
  • Staffing Coordinator

What Are the Different Technical Job Roles in Healthcare?

Of course, many medical procedures, from diagnoses to operations, are reliant on advanced technology.

For every machine in a hospital, there is an expert needed to make sure that it is functioning properly.

In addition to the technological side of things, experts on various aspects of medical research are needed.

Some of the technical job roles in healthcare include:

  • Coder
  • Coding Educator
  • Computer Analyst
  • Computer Programmer
  • Information Technology Specialist
  • Medical Coder
  • Medical Records Technician
  • Medical Technologist
  • Patient Services Technician
  • Programmer
  • Programmer Analyst
  • Senior Programmer Analyst
  • Software Developer
  • Software Engineer

What are the Highest-Earning Job Roles in Healthcare?

There are many different healthcare job roles that pay incredibly high salaries.

However, these are almost always the roles that require the most time studying and training and are often the most difficult and demanding!

Physicians are usually incredibly well-paid. In return for treating and diagnosing patients in areas from pediatrics to oncology to intensive care, physicians in the US earn an average annual salary of around $210,000, or over $100 an hour!

Physicians work hard to reach this point, with the majority spending over a decade studying for a Doctorate of Medicine and then undertaking several more years of further training, including residency programs at local hospitals.

It is not just physical healthcare that can pay very well—mental health can also be a highly lucrative field. Psychiatrists—or doctors who specialize in assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental illnesses and disorders—earn an average annual salary of over $220,000, or over $105 an hour.

However, becoming a Doctor of Psychiatry or a Doctor of Psychology is no easy or quick feat, and there are only around 25,000 registered psychiatrists in the US.

Obstetricians (also known as gynecologists or OB-GYN) are another very highly paid role within healthcare. Obstetricians help pregnant women in a variety of ways, such as monitoring the progress of the pregnancy, performing scans to determine the sex of a fetus, prescribing medication, and helping with the birthing process.

OB-GYNs can also advise couples on fertility issues. The average annual salary for this role is around $240,000, or around $115 an hour. There are fewer than 20,000 OB-GYN jobs in the US, which is part of the reason they are paid so well.

Surgeons, or professionals tasked with performing surgical procedures on patients, are also some of the most highly paid members of the healthcare sector. Surgery encompasses a range of fields from reconstructive surgery to plastic surgery (which can be either medical or purely cosmetic).

Surgeons earn an average annual salary of almost $260,000, or almost $125 an hour.

At the time of writing, the highest-earning job role in the healthcare sector is that of an anesthesiologist. An anesthesiologist is responsible for the prescription and administration of anesthetic treatments to patients before and/or during operations and surgeries.

The application of anesthesia is a highly complex science, and it is extremely important for the welfare of the patient to administer the exact correct amount of anesthetic.

The high level of expertise required to carry out this role means that anesthesiologists earn an average annual salary of around $270,000, or around $130 an hour!

Is a Job in Healthcare Right for You?

Ultimately, whether or not a job in the healthcare sector is right for you depends on much more than the pay!

Working in healthcare takes a lot of work and effort at almost any level and in almost any job role. Even the least-specialist roles that require the least study to carry out can still be emotionally, physically, and intellectually demanding.

The most important thing to consider if you are trying to make a decision on whether or not healthcare is the right field for you is if you feel the drive to help others. The healthcare sector is dependent on workers who are helpful, co-operative, and conscientious.

If you have the desire to help people and make a difference to others, this is the most important foundation to a successful and rewarding career in healthcare.

Which specific job role best suits you is down to what your areas of expertise are and how much studying you want to do!

About the author

Guest Contributor

This article was written by a Healthgist contributor. Please note, this content may include links to products or services for which we are compensated. Want to be a Healthgist contributor? Send your pitch to us at info@healthgist.com

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