9 Reasons Why You Should Be in Healthcare

In a recent survey published by U.S. News, 80 percent of job hunters said they'd rather have a job that they love than a job that pays well. While it's heartening to know so many Americans prefer passion to monetary gain, the disappointing thing about that figure is that it implies that salaries and personal satisfaction are mutually exclusive.


Although that may be true in some fields, healthcare remains an exception to the rule. More so now than ever before, healthcare careers can provide the challenge, security, and salary you're looking for while also fulfilling your humanitarian side. Read on for the nine reasons why healthcare can offer you the career of your dreams.


Job Satisfaction

Doctor shaking hand with patient

Image via Flickr by hang_in_there


By and large, healthcare workers are satisfied with their jobs and don't regret their career choices. For example, a 2012 AMN Healthcare survey of registered nurses revealed that 90 percent are satisfied with their career. Physician assistants are equally happy -- the American Academy of Physician Assistants reports that 90 percent of PAs rate their jobs as excellent or good. Overall, recent surveys estimate that about 80 percent of health care professionals are satisfied with their careers.

Job Security


The landscape of healthcare in American continues to evolve, with the Affordable Care Act changing the field indelibly. This legislation expanded medical coverage to millions of Americans, which will likely result in unprecedented demand for healthcare. Likewise, as people age, they typically require more and more medical care, and America's Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age by the millions every year.


Positions for all Educational Goals


Gone are the days when you had to waste away in school for decades of your life to enter the medical profession. While doctors still spend many a year hitting the books, healthcare has many other careers that require far less education. In fact, you can find many positions that pay very well and don't even require a bachelor's degree. For instance, to become a nuclear medicine technologist or a radiation therapist, you need only an associate's degree. Those careers pay an average of $71,970 and $81,740 respectively according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


Explosive Growth

Man looking at computer screens

Image via Flickr by IntelFreePass


According to the BLS, healthcare occupations as a whole will grow by 28 percent by 2022. In fact, six of the ten fastest-growing jobs in America are in the health care sector. Here are the expected growth rates for a few of the fastest-growing medical professions: personal care aide (49 percent), home health aide (48 percent), diagnostic medical sonographer (46 percent), and physical therapist assistant (41 percent). Those rates are especially staggering when you consider that the average growth rate for all occupations is 11 percent.


Free Schooling


The healthcare industry abounds with programs that repay student loans in exchange for a certain number of years of service. For example, the National Health Service Corps asks medical residents to work for two or three years in an underserved area of the country in a primary care specialty. In exchange, the federal government will then repay as much as $120,000 of participants' student loans. For doctors who serve in the area longer, additional relief is available. Some government and employer programs may even pay for your tuition ahead of time through grants and/or scholarships.

As with the legal profession, medical professionals can also have their student loans forgiven through public service. This means that healthcare professionals who work in nonprofits, high-needs areas, and areas of the government can have their loans forgiven after ten years of repayment.



Generous Salaries


The burgeoning demand for healthcare has more benefits than just job security -- medical careers also pay handsomely. In 2013, physicians and surgeons made an average of $187,200, and specialists make even more. Orthopedic surgeons, for example, have a median salary of $333,000. Similarly, nurse practitioners make an average of $95,070 and need only a master's degree to practice.


As mentioned before, though, not all of these high-paying careers require advanced degrees. Several promising medical careers require only an associate's degree. For instance, medical sonographers make an average of $67,170 with a two-year degree. Likewise, dental hygienists need only an associate's degree and make an average salary of $71,530.


The Chance to Make a Difference


Although healthcare careers can be stressful because lives are often at stake, the profession is unquestionably rewarding. Healthcare professionals are desperately needed, and they use their education and training to better people's lives. At the end of the day, healthcare workers can say they actually made a difference by easing someone else's suffering. That's a privilege that most other professions can't offer. After all, when was the last time you heard an accountant come home and say, "I saved a life today!"?


Flexibility


The flexibility of healthcare careers is especially attractive to job seekers. Geographically, health care workers can go almost anywhere they want, provided they have the appropriate licensure. Some programs, like Doctors without Borders, send medical professionals abroad to deliver services where they are needed the most. Participating professionals see other parts of the world and face the challenges of epidemics, natural disasters, conflict zones, and more. Similarly, traveling nurses receive assignments all over the U.S. and receive benefits like relocation and housing allowances.


Diversity


The diversity of occupations and settings in healthcare is astounding and allows those in the field to change their scenery without necessarily changing careers. For instance, medical professionals typically work in doctor's offices or hospitals, but many also work in laboratories, public health agencies, insurance companies, universities, and other varied settings.


Additionally, even within a certain occupation in the field, there are typically myriad specialties from which to choose. Take the specialty of psychiatry, for example. Psychiatrists have the option to choose a subspecialty -- such as addiction psychiatry, child psychiatry, or forensic psychiatry -- to further tailor their practices to their interests.


With such a compelling list of reasons to work in healthcare, it's hard to come up with a reason not to enter such a dynamic, rewarding field. The practical reasons for a healthcare career -- including job security, excellent salaries, and tuition assistance -- are as abundant as the more exciting reasons -- including geographic mobility, challenging situations, and excellent job satisfaction. Just about anything you could want from a job you can find in healthcare.


Contributed to jobs.net by Courtney Rudd



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