As of 2021, the US healthcare industry was worth about $808 billion, making it one of the country’s largest and most profitable sectors. Why you would want to work in such an illustrious industry makes sense. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse to have a promising career in the healthcare sector. If you have a knack for research, writing, and investigating, there are plenty of positions available.
The medical industry is exceptionally patient-focused. You can play your part in it by actively partaking in treatments or doing it behind the scenes through journals and publications. Research involves collecting, extrapolating, and making sense of data to extract useful information. To help you kick-start your career, here’s a list of jobs you should look into:
- Public Health
Public health is the study of community health and welfare. Numerous factors impact the well-being of a community, such as their lifestyle, environment, and prevalence of infectious diseases around them. Since public health is a broad field, you can specialize in a particular area like epidemiology.
Unlike public health, epidemiology is a highly specific field concerned with disease patterns, collecting complex data, and investigating how infectious diseases spread. As an epidemiologist, you will need to analyze health information, figure out how certain diseases originated, and communicate your research to medical professionals, so they can work on containing the diseases. If you’re interested in becoming an epidemiologist, you’ll need to study extensively and develop the essential skills to enter this dynamic field.
Epidemiology is a research-intensive field; without clinical knowledge, expertise, and experience, you may struggle to work with large amounts of data. It would help if you got a bachelor’s degree that will give you valuable insight into biostatistics, health science, or public health. Your chosen coursework needs to cover social sciences, biology, and chemistry. From there, acquire some work experience that will allow you to apply for a master’s degree. An advanced degree like a master’s is required for most entry-level epidemiology careers, so unless you get a master of science (MSN) or master of public health (MPH), you won’t be able to live out your research dreams.
If you enjoy researching living organisms, then consider becoming a biologist. This field involves studying and researching organisms to classify them into viruses, bacteria, or other microbes, which allows you to study their behavior further. Categorizing microbes makes it easier to identify what is harmful to the community and what pathogens may seem harmful but are essentially weak. This information can help you conduct research and clinical trials on humans to determine how they react to certain medications. Furthermore, you can define how these organisms contribute to natural immunity and what dose is safe for consumption. This branch of biology is quite technical and requires you to understand the biotic and abiotic world around you.
To create a successful career as a biologist for yourself, earn a bachelor’s degree first. Then consider getting a specialization like microbiology or wildlife that allows you to further study organisms in their habitat and explore their behavior. Research-intensive careers require experience, which means you need to do an internship and work with other clinics, allowing you to gain exposure to how to collect samples and study them. It’ll significantly help your career if you consider going to graduate school, such as pursuing a doctorate or a master’s, which makes you an expert in your field.
Before any medication enters the mainstream market, it must undergo several rounds of quality control before it’s fit for human consumption. Medicines are manufactured according to specific chemistry. When you combine a compound, you need to know what reaction they undergo and what chemical residue they produce after successfully mixing. If you enjoy the chemistry of creating and making substances, look into pharmacology. From a research perspective, you’ll study how drugs work, what effect they produce, how patients respond to them, and what common side effects were observed. Once you collect your initial results, you may work on a drug to make it more effective. These are known as clinical phases.
Unlike other careers, the research and knowledge that goes into pharmacology is highly structured. So, you can only practice your career once you have an advanced degree like a Ph.D. or a Pharma D. Some pharmacologists obtain an MD before they get a Ph.D. However, going down the medical route to becoming a pharmacologist is longer, and you will need to do your residency before you can pursue research. On the other hand, specific pharmacology programs only take about four years, followed by two years of grad school.
- Crime Scene or Forensic Investigators
Crime scene investigation is also part of the healthcare sector. When a crime is investigated, it is essential to find out what happened to the body, such as the method of murder, wounds inflicted on the corpse, and what physical evidence can be obtained from the body. You may need to run blood tests, ask for a toxicology report, or examine the body by taking samples. While you are part of law enforcement, you’re also partially in the healthcare sector. To be a crime scene investigator, you must have a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and forensics.
A master’s is not essential. Still, work experience matters immensely in this field. Your work will mostly be limited to the lab. Familiarize yourself with tools like data logging since it can make examining and working on the crime scene easier. Also, attend workshops that allow you to become more used to common crime scene cases, making it easier to determine what examination you need to carry out.
The healthcare sector is brimming with possibilities and potential. If you’re eager to make a career in this industry, you can easily find a spot for yourself in research. Unlike conventional healthcare, research is vastly different. Instead of working with patients, you are using your skills and expertise to collect data, extract useful information and use it to generate reports that boost the public’s understanding of the healthcare sector.
Depending on your work, you can try your hand at public health, where you research infectious diseases, explore your strengths as a biologist or exert your knowledge as a pharmacologist. Furthermore, if you’re more into detective work but also wish to be a part of the healthcare sector, you can try working as a crime scene investigator.