Many people see the medical industry as something that ticks all the boxes for a great career. Few careers can be so rewarding in terms of making a real difference to people’s lives, and it is an industry where you can be sure to find work – after all, whatever might happen in the economy, people will also need medical services. It is also a sector in which the top professionals can command a top salary.

So what are the best routes into the industry, and what qualifications do you need to launch a successful and rewarding career?

Academic qualifications

Some people assume that for a successful career, they need to spend years at college, university and medical school and devote long years to their studies. To a certain extent that is true, and if you dream of becoming a doctor or a surgeon, then you certainly have a lot of studying and practical training ahead of you.

However, there are far more people involved in the medical sector than doctors and nurses. The industry relies on thousands of other professionals, including managers, accountants, administrators and assistant clinicians.

The routes into these vary, depending on your existing level of experience and qualifications. One common factor, though, is that the digital revolution has made it easier than ever to combine study with existing work commitments, opening the possibilities for career advancement far wider than in years gone by.

Non-clinical career opportunities

If you are aiming to get into the healthcare industry but are not a medical specialist, then you will be looking at the huge range of non-clinical roles that are available.

These include everything from receptionists and administrators to senior roles in finance, IT, human resources and so on.

For entry-level roles, you might need nothing more than a high school diploma or GED, although as with any industry, some higher qualifications or a bachelor’s degree will certainly put you in good stead.

For more senior back office roles, a proven track record and some solid experience in another industry could certainly be transferable to the healthcare sector. There are some useful qualifications you can take in health informatics that will give you the necessary grounding in the industry, and will show potential employers you are serious. Best of all, many colleges offer these sorts of courses online so that you can fit them around your busy schedule.

Clinical roles

Of course, the majority of people who want to get into the healthcare industry do so because they want to take an active role in looking after people and treating illness and injury. This can still be done without a decade at medical school, if you are prepared to start at the bottom and put time and effort into combining academic learning with on the job experience and training.

Those wishing to start their career on the ground floor might even begin in the non-clinical field as an assistant in a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office. From here, you can combine on the job training and experience with part time study to get some basic medical certification and you can start to get a little more hands-on, performing basic clinical tasks like taking blood samples and doing heart and blood pressure checks.

From there, it is a relatively clear path to continue to build up your experience for a career in nursing, while at the same time studying for a bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). If you are interested in getting your BSN degree at an accelerated pace, you can go to this website to find out how. Make no mistake though, a clear path does not mean a simple journey, and it takes serious levels of time and dedication to combine work and study in this way.

Even after you graduate, there are still plenty of opportunities for further career progression. As a qualified nurse, you can then choose a variety of specialisms. You might decide to focus on specific clinical roles, like obstetrics or neurology, or perhaps to advance to become a Doctor of Nurse Practice (DNP). Again, the advantage of a BSN to DNP program is that it can be studied 100 percent online, allowing you to fit studies around your work at your own pace.

First steps

For many, the biggest challenge is where to start, as it can often appear that even the most junior roles require a certain amount of experience.

How can you find it? In some cases, you will need to think a little outside the box, and you might consider voluntary work as a first step. Not only does this give you some great and valuable experience, but it also looks very good on your resume and says a lot about you to potential employees.

After all, a career in the medical industry is more of a vocation than a job, and demands dedication above all else.