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Ripe for Picking: Selecting a Career in the Medical Industry

gotjobsSelecting a career can be a daunting task, whether you’re fresh out of high school and listening to your family urge you to seek one direction or another, or you’re an adult reconsidering your path. In today’s economy, it’s important to choose a career that will weather the possible storms and provide you and your family with security.

Medical careers are a great choice, whether you are just beginning your professional life or making a change later in the game. Many people erroneously believe that in order to excel at a medical profession, they must possess a specific skill set. But the truth is that the medical industry, as other industries, requires all kinds of people with all sorts of talents.

Physician Assistant

Physician assistants (or PAs) accompany physicians on medical tasks and work closely with the physicians on most forms of treatment. In all 50 states, PAs are able to prescribe medications to patients and provide primary care for patients. A PA’s role might also include education, research and administrative duties.

Educational requirements:
The core difference between a PA and a Physician is the amount of formal schooling and the requirement of internships and residencies that physicians are required to have. Nevertheless, PAs, like physicians, do take most of the same courses in medical school and are required by law to pass a national exam.

Nurse Practitioner

If you want to advance your nursing career and interact more intimately with patients, think about becoming a nurse practitioner. These advanced nurses obtain certification and education beyond what is required of an RN (registered nurse) and are able to treat patients themselves for a variety of maladies within the scope of their practice — without the long hours or the cost of malpractice insurance, in most cases.

Educational Requirements:
The educational requirements for a NP include more coursework and clinical trials than what is required of a Registered Nurse. NPs are required to have a Master’s degree in Nursing and, in some cases, a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP) as well.

Physical Therapist

Imagine helping someone take those first few steps after a car accident or other severe injury. Physical Therapists are the folks who help patients manage their movement and deal with physical pain either as the result of an accident or illness. If you consider yourself a “hands on” person who wants to help others, this is a rewarding career choice.

Educational Requirements:
You’ll need a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) as well as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) in order to practice. PTs also have the option to become board certified in a certain area (such as Geriatrics or Pediatrics) but this is not required.

Occupational Therapist

For the chance to enhance a patient’s everyday life, become an Occupational Therapist. Occupational Therapy’s history can be traced to 1910 when a group of OTs argued that a patient’s wellbeing is connected to social and economic factors in addition to physiological factors. Today, OTs help patients recover and maintain daily living and working skills after illness and injury.

Educational Requirements:
You will need a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. OTs also have to pass the exam administered by the Board of Occupational Therapy.

Speech Language Pathologist

If you love to communicate and would enjoy a career in which you help patients communicate effectively, consider Speech Language Pathology. SLPs help patients with speaking difficulties pertaining speech, language and voice. They also work with cognitive components such as attention and memory. SLPs can work with either individual patients (which is most common) or with groups or families.

Educational Requirements:
Requirements include a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology, passing the Speech Language Pathology Praxis exam as well as supervised clinical hours.

Clinical Pharmacists

More and more pharmacists these days are working directly with the patient, not just doling out prescriptions. A clinical pharmacist works with physicians, nurses and other medical staff to supervise medicine therapy and make recommendations. As you might guess, the CP works in a medical setting, such as a hospital, where he or she can interact with medical staff and patients more easily.

Educational Requirements:
A Doctor of Pharmacy (D.Pharm) degree is required of Clinical Pharmacists. CPs also experience rotations in hospitals as part of the D.Pharm degree, and learn from other licensed pharmacists.

Keep in mind that these careers are far from being your only choices in the booming healthcare industry; there are many others. You can check the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook website by visiting and read up on the growth of the industry. A career in healthcare can be both emotionally fulfilling and financially rewarding, and, with a bit of research, you’ll no doubt find the one that suits your skill set.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Steve Gingrich. He is a brand manager for CompHealth, supporting their 3 Allied Staffing and Placement divisions and the¬†occupational therapy jobs¬†division. He loves contributing to the blog and social media outlets as his side gig, and has worked for CHG Healthcare since 2010.

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One Response to “Ripe for Picking: Selecting a Career in the Medical Industry”

  1. andrew says:

    The medical industry seems to be one of the few that are always offering jobs. I don’t think that will change very much in the near future and that’s a good thing for me and many others.