How to Transition to a Career in Healthcare

National Headquarters  |  February 1, 2018

Now has never been a better time to enter the field of healthcare.  In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in this sector will grow roughly “18 percent from 2016 to 2026.”  That’s nearly 2.4 million new jobs! If you’d like to catch in on the wave- whether you’re thinking of applying to medical school, making a mid-career transition, or considering a healthcare profession in general- there are many options to suit a diversity of skills and backgrounds. Here’s how you can approach it.


Start by Doing Your Homework

If changing one’s career is one thing, changing one’s career effectively is another.  To be as successful as possible while considering a new career path, its a good idea to layout a roadmap before charting a new course.  Think about these questions when you’re ready to start your research:

  • What are the education/training requirements for the position you have in mind?
  • What is the projected salary for your area and across different settings (e.g. at a nursing home versus a hospital)?
  • How in demand is this position and what does its growth look like?

After you’ve developed an idea of where a particular road may lead and how you can get there, it’s time to take stock of the most important factor in your job search: YOU.


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Assess Your SVIPs

We thrive in activities that flex our strongest skills, reflect our values, match our interests, and complement our personalities.  It pays to be honest with ourselves and what we want in order to get the most out of our work.  Try answering the following as specifically as possible:

  • What job skills do you already have that will work for this position? Which new ones might you need to develop?
  • What do you value in a particular job or workplace (e.g. intellectual stimulation, social interaction, consistency, etc.?)
  • What are you interested in and passionate about (e.g. seamlessly scheduling doctors, patients, and staff, upholding dental hygiene, or operating complex machinery)?
  • What is your personality like (e.g. could you thrive under pressure and do well in an emergency setting, or are you more laid-back, preferring a family practice)?

Taking the skills, values, interests, and personality, or SVIP, approach is a great foundation to determining what options in your research would be the greatest fit for you.  Once that’s decided, you’re ready to train for skills you need to be on par with the competition.

Whip Your Skills into Shape

Philosopher John Dewey once said “education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”  Indeed, to equip ourselves with new skills helps us grow in the paths we choose.  Whether you decide to become a dental assistant, X-Ray technician, or an insurance underwriter, there are classes you can take now to get a leg up and be well on your way to a new career in healthcare.

Build Up a Network

A simple Google search will show you there is no shortage of places to find learning opportunities and at low-cost.  In fact, if you’re considering work as a medical assistant, you can find a training program for TIMA volunteers and learn alongside veteran medical professionals at a Tzu Chi USA location near you. What’s more, try attending industry-related events to network and gain even more skills.  Such events typically offer workshops and classes, which allow you to hone your expertise or advance your training.  Plus, you can learn about new healthcare trends and innovations from within the industry.  Take, for example, Tzu Chi International Medical Association USA (TIMA USA), which is holding its annual convention this March.  It will gather health and medical professionals from across different disciplines to discuss their approach to community health in 2018.  To learn more about the event and register, click here.

Remember, it takes the skill and effort of many people to safeguard the health of an entire community.  No matter where your skills and interests lie, there is a place for you, too, to positively impact the wellbeing of others.  Good luck!

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