Now, more than ever, our career paths in the 21st century have become a patchwork of different experiences across a number of job sectors and fields. No longer do we speak of our career in terms of the single job/single organization mentality. In a many respects, we are all becoming independent contractors, marketing our skills and services for use in projects and endeavors as opportunities arise.
In the field of international healthcare, the 'independent contractor' lifestyle certainly holds true. If you are interested in working on improving health in developing countries, you will probably spend your career working with a number of different employers in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Examples of employers in international healthcare include: The World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors Without Borders, the US Government, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United Nations. International healthcare workers spend their time developing solutions to some of the world's greatest health challenges, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and child malnutrition.
The international healthcare field is comprised of specialists from a variety of different backgrounds. The three most typical educational paths to a career in international healthcare are as follows:
1- Become a doctor.
2- Become a public health specialist
3- Become an international affairs professional
Each of the above paths into the field of international health development are unique. As many of you know, becoming a doctor can be a very challenging yet very rewarding career path. To do so, you will need exceptionally good grades at a four-year undergraduate university to get into a four-year medical school. Public health and international affairs specialists require a similar path through college, but instead of going to medical school, students will pursue masters degrees from public health and international affairs schools. While a doctorate or master's degree is not required to enter the field of international healthcare, the field is very competitive and great value is placed on developing technical healthcare skills throughout your education.
If you're interested in helping to improve the health of those living in some of the world's poorest countries, the field of international healthcare development may be for you. The field demands innovative thinking, hard work and a passion for healthcare. All in all, a career in international healthcare development offers you an unprecedented opportunity to positively affect the world you live in.