3 Steps to Jump-Start Your Health Care Career

Posted March 10, 2014 | By csponline


Healthcare administrator showing doctor patient x-rays.


Now is a better time than ever to pursue a career in the health care field. A variety of health care positions are in demand in today’s job market, and that demand is only expected to increase. Students choose health care careers for many reasons, from excellent benefits to job security to financially rewarding salaries. Most importantly, working in the health care field allows you to make a difference and help others by doing your job. Students who are dedicated, patient and compassionate are great candidates for working in the health care field. However, sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s where we come in. At Concordia University, St. Paul, we understand that starting out in a field like health care can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to beginning your health care career, as well some information about our online health care administration program.

Step One: Consider Your Options

You know you want to work in health care, but it’s time to get more specific. Doing some research about the job options available to you is the first step in starting your health care career. There are four main types of health career cares, and knowing the distinctions between them is a great way to better understand and narrow down your options.

  • Practitioner careers are technical and hands-on. They usually involve extensive schooling and a great deal of patient contact. These types of health care careers tend to be the most financially rewarding when it comes to salary. If you are looking for a career with direct interaction with patients and are ready to commit to 7–10 years of education, a practitioner career in health care could be right for you. Examples of practitioner careers include dentist, surgeon, therapist and internist.
  • Allied health careers involve assisting practitioners in the day-to-day workings of the health care industry, as well as involvement in patient care. A career in allied health involves less school than practitioner health careers, but comes with good job growth potential. Allied health careers include medical assistant, paramedics, EMTs, home health aide, and phlebotomist.
  • Supportive careers include aides and assistants who work alongside more experienced health care professionals. They spend a lot of time with patients, especially when it comes to the rehabilitation process. These types of professionals usually hold an associate’s degree. Some examples of supportive careers include pharmacy aide, medical transcriptionist, dental assistant and therapy aide.
  • Managerial careers are positions that do not require patient involvement but are still critical to the health care system. Hospitals, rehabilitation centers and other environments need health care administrators with bachelor’s degrees. If you are organized and responsible, a managerial health care career could be a great fit for you. You will likely work in office and administrative support, management, business or financial positions. Examples of managerial careers include medical services manager and health care administrator.

Step Two: Get Some Experience

The best way to get real-world experience, both before and while you pursue your health care degree, is to volunteer your time at a health care organization in your community. Not only will this experience be an asset for your resume and give you access to references, but it will also give insight into the type of career you may want to have in the future. To determine where you should volunteer, consider the following:

  1. What type of setting appeals to you (hospital, clinic, rehab facility)?
  2. What types of health care professionals would you like to work with (doctors, therapists, lab technicians)?
  3. Are you interested in working with a particular kind of patient (children, the elderly)?
  4. Is there one specific health issue that you are passionate about (prevention, women’s health, substance abuse therapy)?

Approach your volunteering experience the way you would a paid position. This ensures that you get the most out of the opportunity. Think of it this way: the more you put into it, the more valuable your experience will be for your future career. Use your volunteer opportunity as a chance to learn as much as you can.

Step Three: Earn Your Degree

By the time you have done your research and gained some real-world experience, you will likely be ready to enroll in the degree program you’ve chosen. A bachelor’s degree is a good start for you if you are considering a career like health care administration. It qualifies you for both entry-level and management jobs, as well as some senior positions. Earning your degree helps you gain the knowledge and skills you need to become a leader in the health care career of your choice.

If you choose Concordia’s health care administration program, you will be able to complete your education completely online. This means that you can reach your personal and professional goals on your own schedule. You will also develop practical experience and the confidence to succeed in the rapidly changing health care industry. Our courses explore current health trends and events while evaluating how business principles shape and affect these trends.

By doing your research, getting some real-world experience and enrolling in Concordia’s online health care administration program, you can get your health care career off to a great start. For more information, visit our program page.

Also published on Medium.