For many people who want a career in the healthcare industry, health education begins when they are still in their teens, with their choice of degree program. Medicine is the top degree program to choose, but it is not suitable for everyone, requiring excellent grades and a long-term financial commitment. Besides, not everyone wanting to go into medicine wants to be a doctor! There are literally hundreds of careers in the healthcare industry, and while not all of them require you to have a degree, a college education will stand you in good stead when it comes to the job market, especially if you have studied something relevant to healthcare.
Medicine degrees take many years, even longer if you decide you want to specialise, rather than becoming a family doctor. Nursing degrees are also available, and again you can study for longer if you want to specialise and become a particular type of nurse. Nurses work in all areas of healthcare, and their health education programs reflect that. After all, there are theatre nurses, emergency room nurses, geriatric care nurses, paediatric nurses. Each one needs different skills and, in some cases, different qualifications and experience.
Healthcare career options
If you know you want to work in the healthcare profession, but don’t think a medical career is right for you, there are still hundreds of options. Even if you just want to work in a care home, looking after elderly or disabled residents, you can still take a relevant health education course at college. Other options, still working with patients but not on a hospital ward, include mental health nursing or counselling, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, pharmacist, radiologist and countless more. Health education also covers nutrition, dentistry and training; running the kind of organisations that provide health education programs to either other professionals or members of the public.
All healthcare degree programs will start in the classroom with theory and training, but they will also all contain some work experience. After all, medicine is a very hands-on profession and there is no point in training to be a doctor or a nurse and then never seeing a patient until your first day on the job. This work experience will take different forms, depending on what stage of your training you are at. You may just observe other professionals work, being able to ask them questions, or you might assist in a small way with a treatment. As your degree continues, you will become more involved with the practical side of your chosen degree, usually with the support of a local teaching hospital.