Resources for Researching a Healthcare Career
- Think outside the box: While most people think of doctors and nurses when thinking of the healthcare industry, there are actually many more occupations within the sector. What types of professions and skills does a hospital, health center, doctor’s office need to keep their operations running? They need facilities managers, clerks, accountants, social workers, and many other non-clinical staff. Of course, people with clinical skills, like laboratory technologists and medical assistants, are also important to the industry. To learn more about healthcare occupations, look at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- Talk to experts: Find people who are working in the occupations that you are interested in and ask those people questions about their work and field. Those experts can provide you information about what it means to work in the occupation on the day-to-day basis. Search the internet for local chapters of professional organizations for the occupation that you are interested in and reach out to them for advice.
- Learn more about licensure, certification, or registration for your selected occupation: Once you find the right occupation for you, look into licensure and credentialing. One excellent resource is the New York State Education Department Office of the Professions. Also, look at the New York State Department of Health website for the occupations that it credentials, i.e., Emergency Medical Technicians. Be sure that you understand all of the requirements for licensure and credentialing so that you have the correct documentation when it comes time to file for your license. Is there a standardized test that you have to take? Are there additional clinical internships required for your field? What type of documentation do you need from your education or training program? Getting the answer to these questions will prepare you when you need to apply for your license or credentials.
- Identify accredited programs of study: There are many educational organizations. Be sure that the one you ultimately attend is accredited for your field of study. If not, when it comes time to take a standardized test or apply for a licensure or credentials, you might not satisfy eligibility requirements. Take a look at the Know Before You Enroll website for additional helpful information.
- Learn more about the larger industry: The healthcare industry is undergoing many changes as the result of reform efforts. Those changes might affect your job responsibilities. Learn more about healthcare reform efforts at http://www.healthcare.gov/
Unlike other industries where the work hours are between 9AM and 5PM, the healthcare industry is open 24-hours each day, 7-days per week. As a healthcare worker, you might have to work on a day, evening, or night shift. The work is not always easy or without stress. There is often little glamour. But, the opportunity to work on a team that helps patients get healthy or recover from an acute illness can be a really rewarding one. Good luck in your search!
Jenny Tsang-Quinn M.D. is the Executive Director for the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH). At NYACH, Jenny is overseeing a project that engages healthcare employers in the analysis of current and future labor force needs and partners with workforce training organizations to meet those needs.
On the 2nd Friday of each month, Jenny will share advice and insight on jobs in the healthcare industry. If you have a question or comment for Jenny, drop her a note below. And, don’t forget to share this with your friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.