The healthcare industry has become more lucrative with an increase in the demand for healthcare. Since the pandemic ravaged the world, more people have been encouraged to go into healthcare. The industry requires professionals who are empathic and compassionate, have a desire to make a positive impact in the lives of people, and can pay keen attention to details. If this sounds like you, here are 24 career opportunities you could consider to make your debut in the healthcare industry.
1. General Medical Practitioner
Most medical doctors in Nigeria are general practitioners. That means that they do not specialize in a particular discipline of medicine, and may be able to offer diagnostic advice for a wide range of illnesses at surface value. To become a medical doctor, you need to get an MBBS degree and will need to obtain a license to practice. The entire training to become a doctor requires up to 8 years of post-secondary school learning. For a doctor, learning never stops – he must consistently study to stay abreast of new improved cures and vaccines formulated for existing illnesses. All healthcare practitioners are expected to stay up-to-date on information concerning new and existing diseases, and potential epidemics and pandemics. Medical doctors are often paid an enviable salary and are well compensated for their efforts with attractive benefits.
Nurses provide post-diagnosis care to in-patients in a health facility. They dress wounds, give injections and vaccines, monitor patient recovery, and often assist in childbirth delivery and surgeries.
A career as a surgeon requires at least 12 years of intensive training. Surgeons often specialize in a specific discipline. However, some general surgeons can perform operations in a wide range of uncomplicated cases. Specializations in surgery include neurosurgery, cardiovascular surgery, pulmonary surgery, and so on. A career path in surgical healthcare, apart from relevant training, requires precision and attention to details.
4. Physical Therapist
A physiotherapist is often employed as a consultant in a health facility. He helps patients in recovery accelerate their progress by performing physical therapy on them. The services of a physiotherapist are often required after a life-altering injury or illness.
5. Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists help people who have to live with chronic health conditions to get back on track with regular everyday activities. They come up with and implement a treatment plan for these patients, and show them how to use relevant equipment.
A pharmacist is a healthcare professional well versed in the knowledge of the different kinds of drugs that exist, and how they can be used to treat illnesses. He dispenses medications to patients as prescribed by a doctor, and offers expert advice on the usage. Pharmacists are also licensed to prescribe drugs for the treatment of simple illnesses like malaria, pneumonia, and so on. To become a pharmacist, you need to acquire a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree (B.Pharm) or a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D), and a license to practice.
Dentists are doctors who specialize in oral healthcare. They are responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of mouth infections and diseases. They may also perform tooth surgeries when necessary. A dental hygienist is a dentist who specializes in professional cleaning the teeth to get rid of plaque and scum and offers expert advice to patients on how to maintain oral hygiene.
8. Laboratory Technician
Lab technicians are often graduates of medical laboratory, microbiology, and biomedical technology. They operate medical equipment used for performing tests in the laboratory to aid diagnosis and interpret the results.
9. Radiologic Technologist
Radiologic technologists are the healthcare professionals in charge of employing imaging techniques in diagnosis. They perform x-rays, ECG tests, and so on, and interpret the results, to aid doctors in the diagnosis of tumors, cancers, and other underlying diseases.
10. Medical Representative
A med rep’s job is to supply hospitals and pharmacies with medications, pharmaceuticals, and other medical equipment directly from licensed manufacturing companies. Some pharmacists often work as med reps instead of the traditional community or hospital pharmacists. If you don’t like needles or cannot stand the sight of blood but are determined to work in healthcare, you would greatly appreciate this role.
11. Cardiovascular Technician
This healthcare expert specializes in aiding the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in the cardiac region, using sophisticated medical equipment. Cardiovascular technicians or technologists are usually found in hospitals and specialized healthcare facilities, operating the equipment used for cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy.
12. Pharmacy Technician
A pharmacy technician is a graduate of pharmaceutical technology. He assists the pharmacist in dispensing medications and pharmaceuticals to patients, in a pharmacy or other health facility. The training for a pharmacy technician is usually 4 years of learning in a higher institution such as a polytechnic or school of health.
Optometrists are doctors who specialize in eye care. They perform eye examinations and diagnose and treat vision problems, eye disorders, and diseases.
Opticians work together with optometrists and ophthalmologists in an eye clinic. These specialists help patients in finding and fitting the right eyeglasses and contact lenses for their eye condition as prescribed by the optometrist.
Obstetricians specialize in providing healthcare services to pregnant women and nursing mothers. They are very well paid, and often found in the gynecology department of hospitals, and fertility clinics.
Gynecologists specialize in women’s health. A gynecologist is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases peculiar to the female body.
Chiropractors are healthcare professionals that specialize in performing physical therapy on patients to alleviate back and neck pains. Their expertise is in the treatment of health problems associated with the neuromusculoskeletal system. In other words, attending to a patient that experiences pain in their bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerve endings, and tendons is a Chiropractor’s specialty.
Dieticians work with patients to live healthier lives by improving their eating habits. They are also called nutritionists. They offer expert advice on recommended foods to patients that should be on strict diets. Dieticians are also heavily patronized by people who are looking to lose or gain weight.
Audiologists are doctors who specialize in providing diagnosis and treatment to patients that have problems with hearing and balance. They are usually found in the ENT (ear, nose, and throat) department of hospitals.
20. MRI Technologist
This healthcare professional works alongside doctors to perform tests on patients for diagnostic purposes, using sophisticated medical equipment.
Pediatricians are doctors who specialize in treating illnesses peculiar to children. They are usually very compassionate as they only attend to infants, toddlers, and middle school children. Pediatricians are mostly found in children’s hospitals, but are also present in every department at regular hospitals, especially the ENT (ear, nose, and throat) department and the eye clinic.
22. Veterinary Doctor
Veterinary doctors work with animals. They are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of wounded and distressed animals. In the course of performing his duty, a vet may often have to perform surgeries on such animals and nurse them back to health. Veterinary medicine is a healthcare career path that requires the professional to be comfortable with animals in general, and not just pets.
23. Radiation Therapist
A radiation therapist works with patients suffering from cancers, to devise a treatment plan and conduct radiotherapy. Radiotherapy involves the use of radiation in treatment procedures such as chemotherapy. Radiation therapists are often found in specialized health facilities.
The ophthalmologist diagnoses and prescribes treatment for eye disorders and illnesses. He is in charge of conducting routine check-ups and other necessary forms of eye care.
How to Start a Career in Healthcare
- Choose a specific healthcare career path.
- Apply to study the required courses for your preferred healthcare career path in an accredited university. This might take a couple of years – health-related courses often require at least 4 years of study to obtain a degree.
- Gain experience. For most health-related courses, one year of industrial training (IT) before you finish your study is mandatory. You may also be required to undergo one year of internship training at a hospital or relevant health facility. After graduation (or before if you prefer) you can gain experience by volunteering for medical outreaches and awareness programs or offering to work for free under vigilant supervision at a health facility.
- Connect with your senior colleagues during your volunteer programs, industrial training program, and internship training. The best recommendations come from members of your network.
- Apply to job listings for healthcare experts in your discipline advertised via job boards, or the websites of healthcare facilities.
Is a Career in Healthcare Worth It?
If you are compassionate, and have a passion to impact the lives of others by positively, you will find a career in healthcare very rewarding. The best part? Career opportunities in healthcare often attract fat paychecks.