If you love science and helping people is one of the things that makes you happy, there are more than 250 different careers in the medical field. Qualifications vary, but there are jobs available at nearly every education level.
With vocational training, you can become an emergency or laboratory medical technician, among others. To be a registered nurse, medical assistant or dental hygienist, you’ll need an associate’s degree.
With the appropriate bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can be an occupational therapist, nurse practitioner or physician assistant and with a medical doctorate, you can be a doctor, dentist or pharmacist.
Here are five careers that offer a glimpse into the wide range of rewarding careers:
Cardiologists earn a sub-specialty in the field of internal medicine, focusing on the heart, how it works and related diseases. Becoming a physician of any kind is no easy feat. You’ll have four years of education beyond a bachelor’s degree to earn a medical degree, then take on a fellowship of three to eight years at a university hospital to obtain the specialty in cardiology.
Cardiologists are also expected to keep current through continuing education credits. But the rewards, beyond an excellent salary and benefits, come through saving lives.
Neonatal nurses care for infants at one of three levels. At some hospitals, they switch between levels. Level I neonatal nurses care for healthy newborns and help their mothers adjust. At Level II, they care for premature babies and those born with an illness. Level II neonatal nurses care for infants in the critical care unit.
They frequently work long hours, in a high-stress setting. But neonatal nurses also form bonds with the families of babies in their care, some lasting a lifetime.
You’ll first become a registered nurse, then earn a master’s degree as a neonatal nurse practitioner. Classwork is demanding and clinical practice is also required. But sending a baby home with her parents after a stay in critical care is its own reward; salaries are nice, too.
An occupational therapist (OT) helps patients with disabilities, injuries or illnesses recover and prepare to return to home and work. To help you decide what setting you’d prefer, job shadowing is recommended. You’ll observe OTs in hospital, clinic, nursing care facility and home health settings to get a feel for the job.
You’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in biology, psychology or sociology before being admitted to a master’s level OT program. You may even earn a doctorate. An internship is required before taking the certification exam and applying for a state license.
Helping a patient regain the skills they need for independent living and work is intensely satisfying to most OTs.
Biomedical engineers apply their knowledge of biology, engineering and biomechanical principles to design, develop and evaluate biological health systems and products including prostheses, artificial organs, medical information and health care delivery systems.
You’ll earn a bachelor’s level engineering degree with a specialty in biomedical engineering. Many further their careers with an advanced degree in medicine or dentistry. Salaries depend on education, experience, responsibilities for the specific job and location.
Medical laboratory technicians do the prep work for standard medical lab tests under the supervision of medical laboratory technologists. This means taking blood, tissue or other samples from patients and preparing them; even performing some tests. A lot of time is spent interacting with patients and working with specimens.
You’ll complete a one to two year program at a college or technical school, then an internship. After graduation, you can become certified to earn more money and qualify for better jobs. Salaries depend on education, certification and experience as well as the location.