According to U.S. News and World Report, about half of this year’s hundred best jobs fall into the health care and health care support categories. That’s definitely encouraging advice for those uncertain as to whether the medical profession is a safe bet, in terms of demand and stability. If you need some additional inspiration, read the stories of some of these women in public health, via the Center for Disease Control (CDC). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is substantially faster than average, adding more than two million new jobs.
The process of climbing to the top of the proverbial ladder, however, may not be as straightforward as it first appears according to some veterans of the field. Mary-Ellen Piche went from being an X-ray technician to being the CEO of the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, New York. She reports being grateful about the appointment but also remembers that some of her male co-workers had expected to be offered the position and told her she didn’t deserve to be there. She refused to let this bother her, however. Piche recommends being a team player, keeping your word, honoring your commitments, and valuing different perspectives in order to help command respect as a woman in a male-dominated field.
To take a cue from Piche’s entry-level position, one position with a strong and steady demand for qualified professionals is that of radiologists and radiologic technologists. If you’re interested in going into this field, you’ll be happy to know that the unemployment rate for the profession is a very low 2.7%, and the average annual salary is close to 60K a year—more in areas and industries of high demand. Typical clinical experience, such as the coursework through the radiology department at the University of Southern California, includes direct work with PET scans, CT scans, mammography, and ultrasound radiology—among other imaging modalities.
Another highly in-demand area in healthcare includes careers in healthcare informatics and data analytics. BlogHer mentions a few of these niches, including startup tech companies that work with electronic health records (EHRs) and patient prescriptions. For example, the mobile app developer Sherpaa gives patients access to a medical diagnosis online by connecting them with doctors. There’s also demand from hospitals and clinics to employ IT professionals well-versed in informatics and networking while also being well-versed in healthcare terminology, so a background in healthcare informatics would be especially helpful, in this field.
Another up-and-coming area of specialization in the medical world is telemedicine—especially in the fields of counseling and psychiatry. Telemedicine is also slated to be especially in demand for emergency medicine, nursing, pharmaceutical care, trauma care, rehabilitation, cardiology, and radiology. When it comes to counseling, as well as other specialty areas, some benefits of telemedicine include more immediate access to help and better quality of care for patients in rural or underserved areas. However, questions remain, including how to establish a trust dynamic between counselors and patients and how to ensure patient privacy.
If you’re interested in getting involved in the medical and healthcare fields but aren’t sure how much education to take on, consider an Associate’s degree in a field like nursing. Some professions, such as that of a dental hygienist, don’t actually require a Bachelor’s degree. The average salary for a dental hygienist is 57K, and a nurse’s salary isn’t far behind at 55K. This could allow you to save money on your education while also benefiting from a stable career.
Still feeling apprehensive about going into a field in the medical or tech industries? Have no fear. Women may be especially well-suited for medical and high-tech fields, in part because we tend to approach issues and think from a more holistic point of view. This difference may allow us to solve problems more creatively than men.
So let’s enter the healthcare field in full force. The more of us are represented in the medical world, the better chance we’ll have of earning equal work for equal pay—since ideally some of us will rise to become executives and decision makers, on an administrative level. The future face of healthcare is coming, and it has no discernable gender.
Image Source: Ilmicrofono Oggiono