How do I know if a healthcare career is right for me?

How do I know if a healthcare career is right for me?

The short answer is that almost anyone could find a place within healthcare that fits what they want in a career. The secret is finding the right niche to match your interests and strengths. People tend to be most familiar with the roles of doctors and nurses, because these two professions are ingrained in our popular culture, and because people often interact with these particular healthcare professionals more frequently than others. Health career areas include a wide range of diagnostic, therapeutic, and administrative services, some of which emphasize laboratory science, others of which emphasize direct patient care. Each career path in healthcare appeals to a different set of students and involves its own type of preparation.

General skills and competencies

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Math & Science

To be successful, you'll need to excel academically. For most healthcare professions, you'll need strong skills in math and science, although the level of rigor does vary from one field to another.

For most fields, you'll need a very strong background in science. There are a few exceptions, though. Some health care careers do not require a strong science focus, for instance, working as a hospital administrator, social worker, or information technology professional.

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Interpersonal skills

Support & Communication

As a healthcare provider, you'll need excellent interpersonal skills for your work with patients. You should also consider whether you feel comfortable working with people who are facing illness and undergoing significant distress. Many people will depend on you for care. You will need to develop good communication skills, and a capacity to provide comfort and support to people who are vulnerable and facing illness.

Information for Pre-health Students

Current undergraduate students can find resources for getting started, preparing for your career, suggested coursework, and how to apply to graduate programs in the health professions of their choice in our HPPLA Guidebook. You can view the different pre-health sections of the guidebook by clicking below, or if you're just starting out, visit the new students section first.