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5 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Medical Career Path

5 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Medical Career Path

Careers in the medical field have consistently been popular. Medical professions can be stable, well paid, and there’s always a need for medical personnel. In fact, the demand for health care professionals is rising in the US owing to the nation’s growing aging population.

Medical careers have also gained immense popularity due to successful medical TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “House” or “ER.” These fictional portrayals paint a very exciting picture of the medical field: you puzzle over mysterious illnesses, develop unorthodox treatments, and save lives at the last minute.

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Whether you are interested in pursuing a medical profession because the field offers promising career prospects or you have always loved above-mentioned TV shows or because your favorite subjects in school were biology and chemistry, you should consider some things before entering the medical field. There are plenty of different medical professions, so you want to make sure you chose the right one for you.

1. What is your motivation?

A healthcare career is extremely demanding, from the extensive training to the huge responsibility on the job, so you need to examine your motivation thoroughly. If you’re seeking constant adventurous excitement and romantic entanglements as seen in “Grey’s Anatomy”, you should probably re-consider your career plans. Since you will be assisting people in improving their health, helping others ought to be part of your motivation. That said, there are other factors that can play into your career choice as well. Maybe you’re excellent at biology and chemistry and wish to work in a pharmaceutical lab to develop / improve treatment methods. If you’re looking for a position with a lot of advancement opportunities, the medical field offers a wide array of options for you.

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2. Where do you want to work?

Healthcare professionals work in very diverse environments. Again, this question also addresses your motivation: If you want to help people, you might want to work in a hospital or in a practice. If you’re good with children, you could be employed by a pediatric clinic, or if you wish to assist senior citizens, you could look for a job in an assisted living community. If you prefer not to interact with people, you might chose to work in a lab or in an administrative office. It’s also important to examine what you don’t want in your medical job: If you’re very emotional, you might not want to work in a hospice. Similarly, if you’re sensitive, avoid working in the ER. In addition, there are also some more unconventional work environments for medical professionals, such as military bases, schools, or cruises.

3. What kind of role do you want to assume?

Determining what sort of workplace you want to join is closely related to the type of role you’d like to assume. There are several kinds of medical careers: medical jobs (doctor’s, practitioners, surgeons, etc.), nursing jobs (nursing profession and levels), allied health jobs (lab works, technicians, and technologists), non-clinical medical work (health service and caregivers), and administrative medical jobs (office and records work). If you’re good with people and like teamwork, you could work as a physician or a medical assistant. If you’re energetic and stress-resistant, you would be a great addition to the ER or at a military base. If you’re a very meticulous and well-organized person, you would be an ideal candidate as a pharmacy technician or a medical billing and coding specialist.

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4. Do you have the necessary skills and strengths?

As you can already tell, different medical professions require different skills and strengths. However, they usually share some essential requirements. For almost all positions in the medical field, you need to be able to work under pressure and shoulder a lot of responsibility. You must realize that a person’s health and sometimes their life depend on the quality of your work. Furthermore, most roles demand excellent interpersonal and communication skills, as you usually work with people of all age groups and cultural/ethnic/religious backgrounds. Moreover, the majority of medical professions also expect some level of technical or mathematic ability. In many medical jobs, you will often have to work long and odd hours, which requires a lot of flexibility and resilience.

5. What education/training do you need?

Within each medical specialty, jobs are available for any level of education, from high school diploma to graduate school degree. Moreover, the healthcare field is an ideal option for you if you’re looking for a job with plenty of advancement opportunities, as it changes constantly due to innovative technology, improved procedures, emerging treatments, and even new diseases. Nowadays, there are actually more than 200 health care career options, so you should invest some time into researching them and what kind of training they require. Some professions demand a training certification, some a college diploma, and others a medical school degree. Depending on the profession you pursue and the school you attend, your minimum training can range from 6 months to up to 15 years. This means you have to consider how much time and money you want to invest in your medical career.

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Answering these questions should help you chose the right path for your medical career. If you have decided what profession you wish to pursue and learned how much time and money the respective training will require, make sure you (and your family) are prepared for the personal and financial investment. Training programs can be very energy, time and cost-intensive, so plan ahead thoroughly. Look for funding options (some schools offer financial aid or some businesses compensate their trainees), and compare the schedules from different programs (there are programs tailored for people who work full or part-time). Furthermore, check what type of medical profession is in demand in your area or, if you’re willing to move, what state or city is most advantageous for your desired position. Even though a career in the medical field can be challenging, it is without a doubt very rewarding – in every aspect.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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