Is a Career in Healthcare for You?

See also: Transferable Skills

According to a 2018 census report, there are over 130.9 million people working in the healthcare industry in the United States and the industry is growing every year.

The same report mentions that the healthcare and social assistance sector tops every other sector in that regard, citing a projected 14% growth until 2028.


Number of employees by industry 2018 US census data.


Have you been imagining a career in healthcare? Many people do, and there are a lot of options and opportunities in the sector. 

From becoming a doctor or a nurse, to running the reception of a clinic, there are many options for a young adult looking to launch their career.

However, despite the varied opportunities, the healthcare field isn’t for everyone. You need to make sure that it is something that you are suited for, and something you would enjoy, before you start to pursue your career. Otherwise, you might end up in a career that you don’t enjoy, or in which you are not succeeding.

While it is a rewarding industry, it can also be draining. There are many upsides to working in healthcare, but it’s important you consider the downsides as well.

Here are some things to think about when you are trying to decide whether you should pursue a career in healthcare.

Why Do You Want to Go into Healthcare?

There are many reasons why people get into healthcare. Some people are attracted to the thought of caring for people. Other people simply enjoy the type of knowledge it takes to succeed, such as math, science, biology, anatomy, and others. You may also think that you could make a good living in healthcare, and you definitely can.

However, you will have to balance those needs with the reality that a career in healthcare is hard work. You will certainly have to get at least a bachelor's education, and you will most likely end up working in a fast-paced environment. Patients tend to get scheduled for every part of the day, and you will have to be on your toes at all times. To be in healthcare, you must be committed and prepared to work hard.

That said, a career in healthcare could be extremely rewarding. Whether you’re motivated by the financial or humanitarian aspects, it is a career path that checks all the boxes for most people.

What Are Your Talents and Weaknesses?

With so many possibilities, it’s a good idea to identify your strengths and weaknesses. The first careers you probably think of when you consider the healthcare industry are doctor and nurse. If those are the careers you are considering, you need certain talents to be successful. Are you good with people? Do you have a steady hand? Do you excel at math and science? Could you imagine yourself surrounded by people that need your help day-in and day-out? If you answered no to any of these, then being a doctor or a nurse might not be for you.

However, those aren't the only options when it comes to the healthcare field. Just because you might not have the strengths needed to be a doctor or a nurse, or you’re not willing to spend years in med school, it does not mean that you can’t help people. There are many careers on the administration side of things, or in management, or as a technician. Your talents might better line up with one of these, and you can find one that satisfies and challenges you.

How Can You Commit to Your Education?

Let’s face it, if you’ve seen any television shows set in a hospital, you know that the education required to be a doctor is significant. There are several years of full-time school, plus placements and interning. You need to be able to commit to that if you want to pursue that career. The same goes for nursing, although it’s to a lesser extent. If you are not able to go to school full-time, it will be hard for you to become a doctor or a nurse.

However, with other healthcare careers, there are many options available to you when it comes to your education. You may already be working full-time and need to go to school in the evenings and on weekends. Or distance might be more appropriate for you given your schedule and other commitments. Luckily, there are many online health degrees that you can take that will match your talents, your desires, and your schedule to help you achieve success.

Regardless of how much time you can commit to our goal, there could be a path for you to get into the industry depending on what position you have your eyes on.

What Skills Do You Need?

There are a variety of places where a healthcare professional might work, so there is hopefully one that would suit you. The question is - are your skills aligned with the job requirements?

There are small clinics, and even office spaces with no patients and then there are hospitals, and large clinics that work around the clock and are always full.

Working in a large medical facility, whether a hospital or a clinic, requires a special set of skills and may not be for everybody. If you don’t like the sight of blood, being on your feet for several hours in a row or not handling stress all that well, then this would not be a good career choice for you. On the other hand, if you are a people-person who likes interacting with others, and you genuinely care about people and their wellbeing, then this could be very rewarding.

Office or reception jobs in smaller clinics are less challenging, but you’d still need to be comfortable following strict protocols and generally doing well when dealing with stress.

When considering a career in healthcare, it’s important not to rush into it. It involves going through the right education, then working in a challenging field. That said, a career in healthcare can be very rewarding, and it might be more than worth it for you. Be patient and take your time.

Consider your strengths and weaknesses, weigh-in all the options and decide which path is right for you.

You can afford to put in the effort to figure out if healthcare is really the right place for you. If it is, then you can commit to your education and new career and find the success and satisfaction you’ve always wanted.

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.

About the Author

Amanda Witman is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about communicating ideas to improve readers’ lives. She has a background in government public relations but has experience writing for many sectors including the financial, tech, culinary, environmental and sports industries.