Ready to Switch to a Medical Career? Here’s What to Consider

If you’re ready to switch to a career in the medical field there are certain things that you need to do before you jump in. Changing careers can be overwhelming no matter what period of your life you are in. 

The best thing you can do is to make sure that you are as prepared as possible so that the switch does not become overwhelming. The medical field is a rewarding career and it can fill you with a sense of purpose.

Making sure that it goes as smoothly as possible is a must. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to do this the right way.


Assess Your Interests and Skills

It’s important that you assess your interests and skills before you make such a big career switch. Take some time to evaluate your interests and your skills. 

There are a wide range of roles in the medical field. Some of it involves direct patient care and administrative and technical positions. With such a wide range to work with you have to decide what is right for you by looking at your lifestyle as well as your interests. This is the only way to make the right decision.

Some key things that need to be answered are whether or not you enjoy working directly with patients or if you would prefer to hide out behind the scenes. Consider whether you are interested in clinical, technical positions, or administrative work. 

Look at any transferable skills you may have from your current career that you can latch on to your healthcare career to make it easier for you to transition into it.

Research Medical Careers

You’re going to need to do some research before you make any changes. There are numerous paths you can take on this journey. Each has different requirements when it comes to education, job responsibilities and the work environment in which you will find yourself thrown. Some of the more popular options are as follows.

Clinical Roles

There are many clinical roles available. You can become a registered nurse who provides direct patient care, administers medication, and collaborates with the medical teams in a hospital or in a clinic. 

There’s also the physician’s assistant (PA) where you can treat illnesses and diagnose ailments under the supervision of a physician. PAs get a lot of training in therapeutic techniques. They often learn some of these skills from an online PALS class.

Also, a career in physical therapy should be considered as it can help patients improve their mobility and manage pain. Of course, there are other career paths that you can take but these are a few of the most popular ones.

Administrative Roles

There are also administrative roles available where you can oversee the daily operations of a medical practice. 

The job of a health information technician is one that is available to you. You can manage patient records and ensure compliance with healthcare regulations. Consider too that you can become a medical billing and coding specialist. You will have to process insurance claims and ensure that billing for all patients is accurate at all times. 

Technical roles in this field will see you becoming a medical laboratory technician where you can help diagnose and treat several different types of diseases. Radiologic technicians perform X-rays and MRIS. Pharmacy technicians dispense medicine and they manage inventory as well.

Educational and Certification requirements

Each medical career out there has a specific educational certificate that you’re going to have to put in some toil and hard work to achieve. Even though at times when you are studying it may feel like backbreaking work, it is well worth it in the long run. 

You can get your certificate or diploma and be ready to launch yourself off in your career in no time if you are diligent.

Some programs are short-term while others will require you to put in a little bit more of your time. Short-term programs include a medical billing and coding specialist or a pharmacy technician. 

You will usually get a certificate and be ready to hit the medical scene in a few months or up to a year.

Associate degrees will take a little bit more time. These are required in some cases for practical nurses and radiologists to name a few. For other more advanced roles, you’re going to have to get a bachelor’s degree and beyond. These are usually required to be a physical therapist, doctor, or surgeon.

Additionally licensing most often requires you to pass an exam once you have completed your training.

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Financial Considerations 

You don’t want to break the bank or drill holes into your pocket when you are trying to switch your career. However, depending on what you want to do you may have to fork over a smaller or a bigger amount of cash.

You can get financial aid, scholarships and grants for students but normally you need to apply early. 

An employer assistant program is the best of both worlds if you are already in the field but want to switch to another role. You will be able to grab a hold of your dreams while getting somebody else to pay for it. Usually, there’s a catch where you have to commit yourself to the employer for a while but even if this works for you, then why not?

You need to make sure that you’re planning your tuition you don’t want to start and then find that you cannot complete it because your bank account and finances have been drained dry. Consider that aside from the actual tuition you may have to spend money on study materials and depending on where the program is you may have to relocate.


Gain Experience 

You don’t want to wait until you have dived into studying before you start trying to gain some form of experience in the field you’re interested in. You may wonder how you can do this when you do not have qualifications. 

One thing you can consider doing is volunteering at nursing homes, clinics and hospitals. These institutions are always looking for people who will volunteer in a wide variety of capacities. It can give you some much-needed experience being around people in these environments especially if this is the route you want to take. 

Another thing you can do is shadow professionals in the field that you want to be a part of. This way you’ll be able to see all the responsibilities that they have and you can decide whether or not it might be too overwhelming for you or if it is just right.

Part-time work is another way in which you can get your feet in the door of the profession that you seek. There are several entry-level positions in the healthcare setting that you can try out while you are studying.

All of this will help you to gain the experience that you need. This can make it easier for you to get a job when you finally do obtain the qualification that you desire.

Taking positions like this will help you gain the network that you need in order to dive into the career path that you choose. By doing volunteer work, shadowing, and part-time work you will be getting to know people in the field personally. 

This makes it easier for you to get recommendations and even land a job once you have finished your studies. You will also make friends that can help to support you once you put on whatever professional cap you have been trained to wear on.


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