A Career In Healthcare: What Routes Are There?

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Want to work in healthcare? Helping to treat people can be rewarding work and can in some cases be highly paid. However, it’s not an easy field to get into – not only are entry requirements to courses very high, finding a job vacancy can also be very tricky as it’s a very competitive market.

That said, becoming a doctor or a nurse isn’t your only option when searching for a career in medicine. There are plenty of other roles out there, and medical school may not always be the only route into these roles. Here are some ways that you can land a job in healthcare.

Complete a medical degree

When becoming a doctor or nurse, this is generally the only route. Medical degrees can also help with roles such as paramedic work, maternity care, radiology, physiotherapy and medical research, even if having this higher education behind you isn’t mandatory.

Aspiring doctors also need to get into medical school after completing a degree, all of which can take six years in total. Nursing meanwhile generally requires a three year course. Universities generally look for high college grades and getting a place on a course can be very competitive.

Take an online course

Some universities have now started doing online courses such as RN-BSNs. This can allow people to study in their own time around other commitments. Such courses generally have to be completed in the same time period, but you have greater flexibility as to when and where you study. Those interested should read these FAQs on Getting an RN-BSN Online. College entry grades may be the same as standard on-campus courses.

Try an apprenticeship scheme

Medical apprenticeships are a relatively new way of getting into healthcare without having to obtain a degree. They are a mixture of education and on-the-job training, usually offering a small income to get by on. Whilst you still can’t become a doctor through these schemes, they can help you to pursue careers such as dental nursing, emergency care assistance, informatics and maternity support. Nursing apprenticeships are soon to be an option and are currently being developed. You can read online about such Apprenticeships, Traineeships and Cadet Schemes. Entry requirements to these schemes can vary, but you’re generally looking at college grades from A – C. There are also apprenticeship degrees, which educate you to university level whilst also offering practical work experience.


There are plenty of voluntary jobs in healthcare. Occasionally, these may be able to lead on to paid positions. At the very least, they can help to look good on a CV and will help when applying to an apprenticeship or a degree.

Many charities help out in hospitals. They may volunteer to help work with children on the paediatric ward, or may help raise money in the hospital for causes. Hospitals themselves may also have voluntary positions available. These will generally not be anything too laborious – it may be a case of helping with porter duties or taking a refreshments trolley from ward to ward.  There are also various work shadowing roles to look out for.

Work as a porter or janitor

Working as a porter or a janitor in a hospital can serve as excellent experience when wanting to take an apprenticeship or degree. They may also be jobs to consider for those that don’t have the grades but want to work in a hospital environment.

Janitors are involved in cleaning tasks such as sweeping and mopping, as well as using industrial equipment to keep the place sterile. They may also help with cleaning bed sheets. On top of this janitors may be needed to help with handyman tasks such as fixing water leaks and faulty electrics.

Porters meanwhile are more responsible for carrying objects around the hospital. They may pick up medicine to give to doctors and nurses to then give to patients. They may help with moving machinery into an operating theatre before surgery. They may even help assist patients with mobility issues.

This is a very physically demanding job, so make sure you’re in good shape. In some cases, the roles may even be blurred. Hospitals may even have a hierarchy when it comes to janitors allowing some progression – it’s not a high paid job, but can be rewarding for many.

Try another non-medical career in healthcare

Not all careers within healthcare require a lot of medical knowledge as is the case with janitor and porter roles. There are a lot of admin roles within a hospital such as working at receptions desks, as well as coding and billing. A health information degree or apprenticeship may still be advantageous in many cases, although some roles may not require higher education. Hospitals also need people to deal with business roles such as accountancy and PR.

There are other jobs such as nutrition and physiotherapy that you could also consider. These may still require qualifications but not your standard medical kind. Nutritionists and physiotherapists are often employed by hospitals, but you may also be able to find a job independently or working for your local council so long as you have a license.

On top of this there are holistic jobs out there. This may involve treatments such as acupuncture or promoting holistic medicine. There are even obscure jobs such as musical therapy that could be a career angle for some people.


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