You want to help people, you want to ensure they live long, healthy lives — but you don’t want to go to medical school. No one blames you; the process of applying to med school is long, expensive and ultimately uncertain: Only about 40 percent of med school applicants ever matriculate, and of these about 20 percent more drop out, failing to complete their programs and never becoming fully fledged doctors. The road to M.D. is paved with heartbreak, headache and thousands upon thousands of dollars in student debt.
There is a better way to enter the healthcare field, positively impact patients’ lives and earn a sky-high salary: pursuing one of the following healthcare careers. Each of the following careers promises to improve patient outcomes and provide you with the financial stability you crave — plus, you don’t have to worry about making big medical decisions like doctors do.
Becoming a nurse is leaps and bounds easier than becoming a doctor; in fact, you can function in a nursing role after earning just a two-year associate degree. From there, you can work toward a bachelor’s in nursing, a nursing master’s degree or even a Ph.D. in nursing, all of which will qualify you for higher-paid positions with greater authority. You can also specialize in coveted fields, like anesthesiology, to earn bigger bucks.
If the sight of blood makes your knees weak, you can contribute to health in a sterile environment by becoming a pharmacist. To practice, pharmacists must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy, which is a four-year program focusing on chemistry, pathology, statistics and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, pharmacists must maintain a license, which means passing the NAPLEX, or the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination. For this effort, you can earn a healthy six figures and work in a much lower-stress environment than most doctors do.
Physical therapists strive to return patients to a baseline of holistic health and strength, which might require a diverse range of therapies and treatments. Utilizing comprehensive knowledge of the human body, physical therapists devise plants to help patients overcome injuries, illnesses and disabilities. In an associate or a bachelor’s degree program, you will learn human anatomy and medical terminology, so you can find work in hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, long-term care facilities and other physical therapy locations.
Healthy eating is a difficult concept for many people, especially those suffering from illness. Nutritionists understand the importance of clean, nutritious food, and they strive to educate and facilitate heathy eating in patients. Nutritionists must claim a bachelor’s degree in nutrition sciences; then, to qualify as a registered dietitian, which is a higher-paying role with greater prestige, nutritionists must be appropriately trained and licensed with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
Health IT Professional
More than ever before, healthcare relies on technology, and health IT professionals ensure that other healthcare professionals have access to the tech they need. There is a variety of health IT careers to choose from, such as:
- Clinical informatics. Equipped with a master’s in health informatics, you can transition into the health IT field to organize and optimize health data for clinicians.
- Clinical applications. These professionals manage the needs and processes of patients, clinicians, social workers and others through technology.
- System development. Hospitals, private practices and other healthcare providers need comprehensive tech tools, and trained health IT professionals can build such bespoke software.
- Cybersecurity analysis. Recent events have proven that healthcare facilities are major targets of cybercrime. Cybersecurity professionals are desperately in-need in the healthcare industry.
If solving problems is one of your primary strengths, followed closely by a technical mind that excels in math and science, you might pursue a biomedical engineering career. Biomedical engineers build and improve the machinery doctors rely on to make diagnoses and perform treatments. Biomedical engineering is a rigorous field, but you need only complete a four- or five-year engineering program to qualify for employment. To boost your salary and position, you might also pursue advanced engineering management education.
Healthcare administrators are the business professionals behind the scenes of healthcare facilities. They are responsible for keeping institutions organized, to include managing staff, overseeing budgets, developing marketing strategies and more. Because hospitals and care facilities are so complex, healthcare administrators are paid handsomely for their monumental efforts — and you hardly need more than applicable business experience to find work.