If you’re passionate about health and wellness and want to spread that passion to others, you might consider choosing a career that puts you in a position to help others get healthy. But what are the best career paths to follow in this space? How can you choose the best one for your strengths and interests? And how do you make the biggest impact in your field of choice?
Career Options to Help People Get Healthy
The obvious choice is to choose a career in the medical or healthcare industry. There are literally hundreds of roles to choose from, including:
One of the most straightforward ways to help people get healthy is to become a doctor. Whether you choose to act as a general practitioner or develop expertise in an area of specialty, you’ll be responsible for meeting with patients, performing examinations, making treatment recommendations, and administering certain treatments yourself.
You’ll also work with a wide range of knowledgeable staff members and peer experts to provide the best care for your patients. However, it takes a long time and a lot of work to attain this role.
If you’re interested in helping people like a general practitioner, but you don’t like the idea of going through all that schooling, you could become a nurse practitioner.
Nurse practitioners are functionally very similar to doctors, but you can become one with slightly less education and preparation. You’ll also have a different balance of responsibilities.
Not everyone wants to be a doctor or nurse practitioner, but there are countless specialized medical roles available to you. For example, you could become a respiratory therapist and help people manage chronic and acute respiratory conditions.
Like with many roles in the medical profession, respiratory therapists must undergo continuing education and training to stay up to date with the latest technologies and standards. You’ll also be responsible for two to four years of initial education and training.
Dentists and dental hygienists operate somewhat independently of other medical professionals, but they provide essential and sometimes lifesaving services like their contemporaries in standard hospitals.
It takes many years of education and training to be a dentist, though you can become a dental hygienist in just a few years.
Specialized medical professional
Of course, there’s no shortage of options available to you if you’re open to becoming a different type of specialized medical professional.
Surgeons, X-ray technicians, anesthesiologists, and physical therapists all make very good money.
You can also pursue career paths like:
Nutritionists and dieticians are very similar in terms of the services they provide, but dieticians are formally trained and licensed, whereas there is no specialized education or training necessary to call yourself a nutritionist.
Both nutritionists and dietitians help people improve their eating regimens for health and wellness.
Personal trainers are responsible for coaching people through various exercises and helping them get in shape.
You’ll often be responsible for helping people build muscle, lose weight, or achieve specific athletic goals.
Another option is to become a health educator. If you don’t like the idea of assisting people with their medical needs directly, you might feel better educating the next generation of practitioners to provide those services.
You could also become a program coordinator for a major company or organization, helping devise and promote standards designed to help people live healthier, happier lives.
Making the Choice
So how do you choose which career path is best for you?
Specific goals and interests: Would you rather have a flexible schedule or make a ton of money? Are you drawn to any specific area of health and wellness? Identify your own goals, interests, and motivations.
Personal strengths and weaknesses: What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses? Do you love working with others? Are you squeamish about the sight of blood? Your personality may make you a better fit for some roles over others.
Existing education and experience: Do you have any existing education or experience to serve as the groundwork for your career preparation?
Your current financial situation: It can take a person 10 to 14 years to become a doctor. Do you have a plan for how to remain financially stable throughout that timeline?
The good news is if you want to help people become healthier and feel better, there are hundreds of options available to you. Of course, if you were already feeling somewhat confused and directionless, this avalanche of options might only make your decision more complicated.
Still, if you try to better understand your goals and motivations, you should eventually be able to narrow down the list and choose the perfect fit for your needs.