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How to Choose the Right Medical Career Path

Selecting a lifelong career path is a journey few people embark on while they’re still in the early stages of education. That’s why we see so many adults switching careers and choosing brand-new professional roles, trying to find their own purpose and the most rewarding and lucrative way to earn a living. Medicine, however, is rarely a career path people choose on a whim or midway through their last year in college. Most medical careers require advanced degrees and over a decade of schooling, practical skills, and ongoing specialization.

However, since the medical field is as vast as it is, there are many options available to people who don’t have a degree in medicine just yet, or those who are still deciding the right route in medicine. Until then, here are a few ways you can find the most reasonable, yet rewarding medical career for you.

Imagine the setting you work in

Chances are, no matter where your career path takes you, you will need to deal with some level of frustration and angst. You might have the most wonderful job in the world, but if your immediate superior is not really the best person to work with, you’ll feel stuck at times. 

That is why it’s wise to imagine different environments where you can see yourself not just fitting in, but thriving. Would you like to work in the public sector, a private hospital, open up your own private practice? Are you good under pressure and can see yourself in the ER, or would you prefer something less chaotic such as physical therapy? Choices abound, but you need to consider the circumstances in which you can grow.

Invest in the right certification

Although there are so many opportunities and the need for medical experts is growing everywhere, competition remains fierce. So, qualifications and education prevail as some of the most vital factors for getting that dream job you want in medicine. 

Perhaps the position you want requires candidates to obtain advanced medical certification to help you reach the top of the list of the most qualified applicants. However, since medicine is such a fast-evolving field, the desire to learn and advance should certainly be there, as you’ll constantly need to educate yourself well after your academic years end. Plus, if you want the competitive advantage, added certifications are recommended. 

Consider work-life balance

Some medical careers are easier to mold to your own needs and family aspirations. That said, you should do plenty of research on various medical roles depending on their ability to ensure that work-life balance most parents need, if you wish to start a family yourself. 

Between ongoing specialization and fulltime work, combined with your personal relationships and investing in self-care, being in medicine means you will need to push your limits on a regular basis. Some career paths, such as owning your own clinic, might leave more wiggle room, but getting there takes time. 

Look into different medical roles

There are so many options to consider, some of which will help you lead a life with less stress, while others might be more stressful, but also proportionately more rewarding and fulfilling. There are strictly medical practitioner jobs such as being a physician, but there’s also nursing, allied health positions such as being a lab technician, and the like. 

You can also research non-medical jobs that involve caring for the elderly and working with paperwork, but still in healthcare. Depending on your skills, education, qualifications, but also your other personal strengths and preferences, some roles will come naturally to you, while others might take extra work. 

Talk to medical experts

It’s one thing to read tons of medical volumes about the profession you choose, but completely another to talk to someone who is currently occupying that position. First-hand experiences can be essential for determining the right career path in healthcare, because they provide a unique glimpse into the reality of the industry.

While many will accurately expect the loss of human life will be the most traumatic for most medical professions, there are other downsides to consider, such as tremendous amounts of paperwork, insurance struggles, and authorization issues within the hospital hierarchy, among many others. The perks, as well, might surprise you, so talking to a medical professional in your chosen field would be ideal.

The healthcare industry will always be a vital component of modern society, and your role as a medical professional, no matter which one you select, will still be relevant. However, what you choose will impact your family life, work-life balance, and your sense of personal growth. Take the time to choose a career that suits you best and that will allow you to develop your skills and be happy in your field of work.

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