Whether you’re in your final year of college or have just decided to kick off the new year with a career change, you may have noticed that professions in the medical field are deemed some of the most attractive, lucrative, and rewarding.
Nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physicians, physician assistants, and medical and health services managers all rank among the “best” jobs in the United States.
For a solid reason, too: In addition to answering the need for consistent, quality medical care, individuals employed in the health care sector typically enjoy handsome salaries, exceptional room for personal and professional growth, job stability, and incredible job prospects.
But is health care a good career path for you? Let’s dive into the expectations of health care workers and find out.
Pros and Cons of the Health Care Profession
The world of health care has long held tremendous allure—and garnered enormous respect. Some (in fact, most) may argue that no industry is more vital to the health and longevity of the human species than the medical field. And who can, really, argue with its utter importance?
As with all professions, health care has its advantages and its downsides. Let’s take a look.
Gratifying, exciting, relevant, timeless, essential—plenty of words are bandied about to describe what it’s like to work in the healthcare industry.
The “pros” of any job are somewhat subjective; however, these are just a couple of the perks of working in the medical profession (and part of what renders healthcare a good career path).
1. Excellent Job Growth
Unlike industries that may be subjected to economic trends (and trends in general), there will always be a demand for healthcare professionals.
Data on the subject underscores this:
- The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that occupations in the healthcare industry will continue to grow at a rate of 13% until 2031. This is almost double the projected overall job growth rate of 5.3%.
- Approximately 2 million healthcare jobs are predicted to open up in the next 8 years; presently, roughly 1.9 million jobs open per year, largely due to professionals who permanently leave their posts. The more openings available, the higher your chances may be of securing the facility, position, and location that appeals the most to you.
In sum, whether you chose to become a medical assistant or healthcare administrator, the need for healthcare workers won’t just perpetuate—it’ll persist growing as time moves forward. The future of travel nursing looks promising for health care workers who are adventurous and dedicated to patient care. Discover available travel nursing jobs that offer competitive pay and benefits to keep you satisfied throughout your health care career.
2. Superb Earning Potential
On average, healthcare workers are amply awarded for their diligence, commitment, and training. Indeed, Investopedia reports that 22 of the 25 best-paying jobs are in healthcare.
Meanwhile, traveling nurses earn more than double the average income.
Income isn’t the only factor when selecting a career path, of course. And yet, the robust salary you may have the power to generate bodes well for designing—and living—the life you would like.
When asking is health care a good career path?, it’s just as critical to weigh the potential drawbacks before making a decision.
1. Education and Training
Depending on the specific niche of healthcare you choose—whether it’s in health care administration or gerontology—professionals in the medical field require a considerable amount of education and training (and, for physicians and other clinical positions, a residency).
- Becoming a CNA typically takes between 6 to 12 weeks. However, you must also complete at least 100 hours of supervised clinical training in order to qualify for certification.
- If you choose to pursue the highest paying position in health care—cardiology—you may spend 14 years in school and training.
This may sound significant, but these positions are significant. Moreover, you’ll gain highly-specialized, extraordinary knowledge, the opportunity to make a terrific living, and the chance to make a life-altering (even life-saving) difference.
2. Risk of Burnout
In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized professional burnout as an occupational phenomenon. While it’s not a medical condition, it can deplete you.
Research demonstrates that healthcare professionals have an increased vulnerability to professional burnout. This may be precluded by or lead to:
- Chronic stress
- Difficulty performing work tasks
- Compassion fatigue
All that being said, because of the demand for healthcare professionals, they also have a fair amount of autonomy. Additionally, there are dozens of ways to protect yourself against professional burnout, from ensuring that you practice a strong work/life balance to eating a balanced, nutritious diet.
What Is the Best Health Care Career?
Intrigued by the possibilities of working in health care? Your options are as vast as the number of biological systems at play in the human body. Here’s a small handful of the highest-ranking healthcare professions:
- Nurse Practitioner – Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are ranked the #1 health care profession by U.S. News & World Report and the 18th best healthcare profession by Indeed., NPs share many of the same responsibilities as a physician, including diagnosing patients and prescribing medications, but they require less education and formal training. They also earn nearly three times more than the average employee. Furthermore, NPs are one of several traveling healthcare jobs available—positions that allow healthcare professionals to see the world while fulfilling their passion and purpose.
- Physician Assistant – The obligations of a Physician Assistant (PA) overlap with those of an NP and a physician. From authorizing a course of treatment for patients to giving vaccinations, PAs are frequently called upon to “fill in gaps” in the medical profession. With the capacity for career advancement and unique specialties, PAs are a first-rate choice for those who would like to practice medicine but at an accelerated pace; becoming a PA requires less time in school and training than a physician.
- Registered Nurse – One of the many beauties of becoming a registered nurse is that it allows professionals to choose between a variety of settings and specialties: An RN can elect to work in Urgent Care or as a pediatric or public health nurse. Another boon? Unlike other clinical positions in health care, RNs only need a Bachelor’s degree. (Some, however, pursue their Master’s or a doctorate.) If you choose this health care career path, you may have the ability to enter the workforce much faster than your contemporaries.
- Nurse Anesthetist – A Nurse Anesthetist is ranked within the top 10 healthcare professions in the United States. The role entails administering anesthesia to patients prior to surgeries and other operations and requires a Master’s degree in nursing, as well as one year of training in critical care. An estimated 5,600 nurse anesthetist jobs are also expected to open in the next seven years.
Keep in mind that the healthcare industry is immense—and not every position in the field requires working one-on-one with patients or a physician’s responsibilities. There are an abundance of non-clinical options in health care, including:
- Biomedical engineer
- Health services manager
- Health insurance
- Medical writing and communications
- Medical transcriptionist
- Public health
- Health care administrator
- Health educator
Why Should I Pursue a Career in Healthcare?
Is health care a good career path? Objectively, yes—but only you can decide if it’s the right fit for you, your dreams, and the lifestyle you currently have or want to obtain.
If you’re curious about why and if you should go after a role in health care, consider your personality and the traits that tend to shine in the industry, such as:
- Strong communication skills
- Naturally curious
- Kindness and empathy
- A conscientious and collaborative nature
Do these characteristics sound like you? Or like traits that you could hone? Then working in health care may indeed work beautifully in your favor—and, importantly, benefit others.
Launch Your Health Care Journey with MAS Medical Staffing
Individuals who work in the healthcare industry aren’t just admired far and wide: they can also transform, uplift, and even save other lives. Whether you choose a job in health care science (or academia) or decide to become a traveling nurse, you can expect to garner an impressive income, enjoy stellar job growth, and have a number of positions from which to choose.
MAS Medical Staffing takes the healthcare profession to new heights. As one of the leading travel nursing agencies in the nation, we use our assortment of key resources to pair professionals with the places they’d like to roam. We offer above-par benefits and competitive pay, assisting with everything from housing to advancing your career.
Schedule a consultation with us today to explore the world of opportunities that could be at your fingertips.
U.S. News & World Report. 2022’s 100 best jobs in America.
Investopedia. 25 highest paid jobs and occupations in the US.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Healthcare occupations: occupational outlook handbook.
Traveling Nurses.org. How much do travel nurses make in a year?
Clipboard Health. How to Become a CNA in California
LinkedIn. What does it take to become a cardiologist?
World Health Organization. Burn-out an “occupational phenomenon”: international classification of diseases.
National Library of Medicine. Burnout among healthcare professionals.
Healthline. How to identify and prevent burnout.
US News & World Report. Best Health Care Jobs.
Indeed. 25 best health care jobs.
US News & World Report. Physician assistant–career rankings, salary, reviews and advice.
US News & World Report. Nurse anesthetist–career rankings, salary, review and advice.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cardiologists. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291212.htm
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dermatologists. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291213.htm
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Radiologists. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291224.htm
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Psychiatrists. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291223.htm
USA Facts. Median Annual Wage. https://usafacts.org/data/topics/economy/jobs-and-income/jobs-and-wages/median-annual-wage/