32 Career Paths in the Medical Field To Explore

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 7, 2021 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated February 7, 2021

Published December 12, 2019

Jobs in the medical field can be rewarding since you work toward delivering excellent patient care. There are a variety of jobs in the healthcare industry, some of which have few requirements and others that involve several years of education and training. The medical field offers several career paths that may best suit your needs and qualifications. In this article, we list 32 possible jobs to pursue in the medical field.

Why choose a job in the medical field?

There are many benefits to working in the medical field, including: 

  • Variety: In this field, you can work directly with patients, perform administrative tasks or manage others. There are many types of medicine as well, so you can choose a specialization that interests you most. You can also choose a job that requires little experience and education, then earn promotions for different roles to continue in a medical career path. 

  • Opportunity: There are many career paths you can pursue in this field, and most have plenty of opportunities for promotions and managerial roles. If you choose a healthcare path, you may be able to stay in the industry throughout your career. 

  • Flexible scheduling: Many healthcare facilities operate 24/7, allowing for many different shifts to ensure the best patient care. If you plan to work directly with patients, you can work varying shifts to accommodate your schedule. In many cases, volunteering for night and holiday shifts can help you earn additional income.

  • Security: Many healthcare positions are among the fastest-growing occupations today. With some medical roles projected to grow by 33% from 2018 to 2028, many in this field can expect job security well into the future. 

Guide to healthcare jobs

Some potential careers in the medical field—ranging in education, experience and salary—include:

1. Dietary aide

National average salary:  $10.01 per hour

Primary duties: A dietary aide is responsible for planning, preparing and serving quality meals and beverages under sanitary conditions. They must also appropriately store stock, inventory foodstuffs and monitor food temperature. Additionally, they must clean the utensils and dining areas.

2. Home health aide

National average salary:  $11.94 per hour

Primary duties: A home health aide maintains a patient’s home care health and treatment records and shares weekly reports with a case manager. They follow the doctor’s instructions in administering medications, serving the right diet and overseeing physical therapy exercises. They also assist the patient in using transportation.

3. Veterinary assistant

National average salary:  $12.71 per hour

Primary duties: A veterinary assistant directs pets and their owners to an examination room and takes the animal’s weight and vital signs. They help calm the pet while the veterinarian examines it and assist during radiology procedures. Moreover, they ready surgical room for operations, sterilize surgical instruments and prepare medications. They also soothe anxious pets and care for them during overnight stays.

4. Medical records clerk

National average salary:  $13.46 per hour

Primary duties: A medical records clerk files, maintains and protects a patient’s medical records. They supply a patient’s X-rays and other necessary documents to the nursing staff. Additionally, they process a patient’s admission and discharge records.

5. Patient care technician

National average salary:  $13.56 per hour

Primary duties: A patient care technician conducts patient rounds, observes the patients’ conditions and reports their needs to the medical staff. They also analyze collected specimens in the laboratory and complete noncritical medical and therapeutic procedures.

6. Nursing assistant

National average salary:  $13.63 per hour

Primary duties: A nursing assistant helps patients with basic tasks and treatments, oversees their meals and may also perform hospital housekeeping tasks. Furthermore, they alert the medical staff in the event of an emergency.

7. Certified nursing assistant

National average salary:  $13.63 per hour

Primary duties: A CNA assists patients with their personal hygiene, physical activities and daily meals. They provide them with care and record their vitals and chart information. If required, they also help the nurses, doctors and other medical staff.

8. Medical scribe

National average salary: $13.89 per hour

Primary duties: A medical scribe takes detailed notes while the doctor examines the patient and helps with prescribing medication. They inform the doctor of the results of any conducted medical tests. Furthermore, they enter the patient’s medical records in a health portal.

9. Medical receptionist

National average salary:  $14.01 per hour

Primary duties: A medical receptionist signs in patients, collects their insurance and other data, schedules their medical appointments and maintains their medical records. They also process their payments and provide them with any required medical and legal information.

10. Medical secretary

National average salary: $14.44 per hour 

Primary duties: A medical secretary liaises between the hospital office or the doctor’s office and patients and outside vendors. They manage patient appointments, maintain medical records and handle patient and insurance payments.

11. Medical assistant

National average salary:  $14.75 per hour 

Primary duties: A medical assistant records and maintains patient information, performs office tasks and assists with keeping the medical inventory and ordering new materials. They also make sure that the examination rooms are clean and ready to receive patients.

12. Athletic trainer

National average salary:  $21.54 per hour 

Primary duties: An athletic trainer examines and evaluates patient sport-related injuries and devises a treatment and exercise plan in consultation with physicians and occupational therapists. They monitor a patient’s progress and process patient paperwork. They may visit the patient’s house and attend to them in a hospital or rehabilitation center.

13. Licensed practical nurse 

National average salary:  $23.48 per hour 

Primary duties: A licensed practical nurse works in clinics, nursing homes, hospitals and private employment settings to provide routine patient care. They assist doctors and registered nurses with health checks and medical procedures. They monitor the patient’s progress and inform the doctor if any issues arise.

14. Nutritionist

National average salary:  $50,737 per year

Primary duties: A nutritionist helps clients with planning a healthy diet to meet nutritional needs, lose weight and strengthen muscles. They may also maintain a website about nutritional habits to help people make better dietary choices.

15. Registered nurse

National average salary:  $33.82 per hour 

Primary duties: A nurse works in clinics, nursing homes, community centers and hospitals to provide medical care to patients of all age groups and diverse health needs. They dispense medications, operate medical devices, perform diagnostic tests and monitor the vital signs of the patients. They maintain patient medical records and work in collaboration with doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.

16. Health administrator

National average salary:  $71,347 per year

Primary duties: A health administrator oversees the staff and operations of a healthcare organization. They implement healthcare policies and monitor healthcare systems to improve patient care. They manage the organization’s finances, comply with legal requirements and engage with healthcare management, government officials and investors. They are also involved with staff recruitment.

17. Ultrasound technician

National average salary:  $41.84 per hour 

Primary duties: An ultrasound technician maintains the ultrasound equipment, schedules patient appointments, performs ultrasounds on patients and takes sonogram still images and videos. They chart ultrasound results and inform doctors about any ultrasound abnormalities.

18. Physical therapist 

National average salary:  $81,026 per year

Primary duties: A physical specialist is responsible for devising and implementing effective treatment and care plans in coordination with patients’ physicians. They must renew their training with at least 10 hours of continuing education every two years. Furthermore, they must assist with federal and state physical therapy regulations and assist administrative staff with billing and reporting inquiries.

19. Audiologist

National average salary: $83,122 per year

Primary duties: An audiologist carries out acoustic immittance and otoacoustic emissions tests on patients and assesses for hearing sensitivity. They will discuss their findings with physicians and other medical professions and maintain patient medical records. They will also fit patients with assistive hearing aids. 

20. Occupational therapist

National average salary:  $44.65 per hour 

Primary duties: An occupational therapist examines and evaluates ill, injured and disabled patients and devises treatment plans to help them complete everyday activities. They help them with physical exercises, monitor their progress and suggest ways to improve their environment to make it more livable. They may consult and collaborate with physicians and caregivers.

21. Director of nursing

National average salary:  $90,874 per year

Primary duties: A director of nursing oversees the nursing staff, checks that they have the proper certifications and ensures that they deliver optimum patient care. They also create and implement patient care and improvement programs. Furthermore, they maintain patient care documentation and records.

 22. Neonatal nurse

National average salary:  $93,594 per year

Primary duties: A neonatal nurse monitors the infants in the NICU, follow the physician’s plan of care, and administers treatment according to the physician’s prescription. They make sure the NICU equipment is well-maintained and properly calibrated. Furthermore, they extract samples, inform physicians of test results and work in collaboration with other nurses.

23. Veterinarian

National average salary:  $94,620 per year

Primary duties: A veterinarian examines animals, diagnoses their illnesses or diseases, and administers treatments and medications. They perform surgeries and vaccinate animals. Additionally, they complete health tests and inform pet owners about preventive care. Veterinarians can specialize in one type of animal or work with a variety of species. 

24. Pharmacist

National average salary:  $52.54 per hour

Primary duties: A pharmacist dispenses medications according to a physician’s prescription, informs patients how to take their prescriptions and consults physicians on prescription incompatibility issues. They also manage the medication inventory and ensure the cleanliness of the pharmacy environment.

25. Pediatrician

National average salary:  $178,834 per year

Primary duties: A pediatrician examines and evaluates the physical and mental health of infants, children, adolescents and teenagers. They diagnose their health problems and prescribe the appropriate treatment and medications. They also educate parents about their child’s health and nutritional requirements.

26. Dentist

National average salary:  $192,471 per year

Primary duties: A dentist diagnoses oral diseases, treats or removes damaged or decayed teeth and may also perform oral surgical procedures. They prescribe medications and create oral healthcare plans for patients.

27. Physician

National average salary: $198,862 per year

Primary duties: A physician examines patients in a clinic or a hospital. They prescribe and explain medications, therapies, medical procedures or lifestyle changes. Along with maintaining patient medical records, they may consult other doctors regarding their treatment.

28. Surgeon

National average salary:  $211,848 per year

Primary duties: A surgeon examines patients, counsels them about their diagnosis and carries out surgeries to repair their bodies or remove diseased parts. They also prescribe post-operation treatment and medications. Surgeons work in coordination with nurses, anesthesiologists and other medical professionals. 

29. Medical director

National average salary:  $222,419 per year

Primary duties: A medical director implements medical policies in collaboration with the medical board, oversees physicians and works with groups or committees to enhance patient care. They also work with providers, vendors and non-medical facilities.

30. Psychiatrist

National average salary:  $222,749 per year

Primary duties: A psychiatrist examines and carries out tests to diagnose mental health disorders. They may then prescribe medication, psychotherapy or both to treat patients. They may also refer a patient to a psychologist or a mental health counselor for further therapy.

31. Chief medical officer

National average salary: $224,709 per year

Primary duties: A chief medical officer supervises the medical staff of a hospital, mediates between the staff and the administration and oversees the medical operations that take place there. They are also involved with hiring medical staff and improving the efficiency of clinical operations.

32. Anesthesiologist

National average salary:  $296,804 per year

Primary duties: An anesthesiologist administers anesthesia and pain-controlling medications to sedate patients before surgery. They monitor the patient’s vital signs during surgery to avoid adverse reactions and complications. Many anesthesiologists have certifications in various medical specializations and may also work as doctors or nurses.

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