The health sector is the largest and most diverse job sector and is also one of the fastest growing sectors. In America there are over 18 million people employed in health, and of these around 80 percent are women. This represents approximately 11.5 percent of the entire workforce.
The health care industry includes everything from complementary therapies, sports science, and administrators to surgeons and psychiatrists. With the exception of some administration roles almost all health care workers require qualifications and specific training.
To become a doctor or dentist takes around eight years in college. After graduating with a degree in biological or other natural sciences, which takes four years, students then go on to medical school for another four years. This earns them a doctor of medicine degree (MD).
Once you become an MD you start a residency program, also called graduate medical education. This lasts for between three and seven years. Family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics take three years; general surgery takes five years. So to become a surgeon you need to study for a total of 15 years. Surgeons are without doubt among the most highly skilled, and highly paid, medical professionals.
There are many other professions to choose from, such as physical therapy, pharmacy, phlebotomy, radiology, dietetics, dental hygiene, veterinary surgery and epidemiology to name but a few. Each of these roles requires specific training, sometimes in addition to medical school. Some roles require shorter study times. A dental hygienist for example requires an associate’s degree in dental hygiene, which takes two to three years to complete.
A nurse can become qualified to practice within two to three years by obtaining an Associate of Science in Nursing. A more advanced nurse requires four to five years of education to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. For those who hold undergraduate degrees in other disciplines there is the option to an accelerated baccalaureate nursing program that takes between 18 months and two years.
For those with an interest in working closely with patients in a more commercial environment, such as working in a pharmacy, Northwestpharmacy, is a good option. A pharmacist requires a Phar.D. qualification; but pharmacy assistants generally only require a high school diploma and a certificate from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Rules for pharmacy assistants vary in different states.
Another option, which requires less study, is to work as a personal and home care aide. These are individuals who are hired to provide basic care for those who are unable to fully look after themselves. Care can include helping people into and out of bed, bathing, washing clothes, cooking meals and providing conversation too. Home carers do not require any specific qualification, usually on-the-job training and a passion for health care is all that is required. Some companies will expect their carers to study for certificates or even a college degree. Becoming a home care aide is a good way to get into the health care industry without first being qualified.
Finally, administration should not be overlooked. As the health care market continues in increase more administrators will be required. There are now degree programs in Health Care Administration; these provide candidates with a huge advantage when entering into the field. Many people in administration move on to more managerial positions within the health industry.
To be successful in the health care sector you require a combination of good qualifications, a passion for caring and medicine and the desire to work hard. Health care is a very rewarding sector to work in and once qualified your skills will always be in high demand.
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