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How do you pick what career to choose in the medical field?

I am having trouble deciding on what major to pick out of all the different medical majors. I have so many interests, and I don't know how to choose what to spend my time and money on. #school #medicine #healthcare #hospital-and-health-care #nursing

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Patricia’s Answer

First, I would suggest thinking about your favorite types of courses. Do you excel in courses like physics, chemistry and calculus, or do you prefer psychology, sociology and biology? Medicine, physical therapy, and biomedical engineering lean more toward the former, and nursing, occupational therapy and social work emphasize the latter.

Second, are you a person who wants lots of patient interaction or do you prefer figuring out problems and letting others carry out the plan? Doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants do more delegating and diagnosing and nurses tend to do more direct patient care.

Try and see if you can shadow some health professionals and see which roles click with you, and good luck!

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Patrick’s Answer

First I think you need to decide how much time you want to spend in school (or maybe how much money you are willing to spend). Becoming a surgeon takes longer than becoming a doctor. A doctor takes longer than being a nurse... That kind of thing. Within the medical field there are tons of other positions: Xray tech, ultrasound, MRI, Surgery tech/assistant, social worker, unit clerk, marketer... All of which require different amounts of school or degrees or certificates. Once you decide how long you want to be in school, then decide how soon you need to have a job. Some programs are quicker than others. You could become a nurse in a year and half (LVN) or stay in school and get a bachelors (4 years). You could go to radiology school for two years to become an Xray tech, or take  just numerous course to become an ultrasound tech, or a dental hygienists. Each may have different working hours. A new nurse might have to work the late shift, or start at a skilled nursing facility to gain some experience, before getting the day shift at a hospital. A dental hygienist might work Monday - Friday from the first week. An LVN will get paid much less than an RN (but less schooling is needed too). Techs get paid based on how many modalities you can cover, so more school equals more money. Do you want to take all the classes now, or some now, start to work, and then go back and pick up more?

Above all, remember that this is your career. You have your entire life to work, so don't short change yourself and go for less just because it is easier. College is to help you discover your passions, so you might find your way as you go along. Going back to school is harder once you have a fulltime job and possible a family. Reach for the stars and really go for your dreams! Just keep in mind what it will cost you, and what in time (or over time) it will pay you.

Patrick recommends the following next steps:

Ask a volunteer of a hospital to give you a tour (middle of the week or on the weekend when it is slower). Ask people who appear to have interesting jobs how much schooling it takes. You can Google online what jobs pay in your area and see if that job, for that much schooling pays what might work for you.

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Leobardo’s Answer

You need to find either one person exposed to all the career fields you want to know about ,or ask one person or two in all the fields you have an interest in and think of questions outside the box. The usual ones are what school plan did they take, but ask them the day to day menial stuff they do and a good memorable time and a bad memorable time.

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Hwal’s Answer


What do you feel would be most important to you in a job? Think about what you enjoy or would enjoy in general, and compare them to the different aspects of different healthcare career choices. You mentioned you have many interests, and that could be a great place to start; think about all the interests you have, and use that list to build a picture of your 'dream' job.

Good luck!


Hwal recommends the following next steps:

Maybe a list of all your different interests
Use the list to build a rough sketch of your dream job

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Richard’s Answer

Consider how long you want to go to school.

MD's have the longest route with 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school and 3-6 years of residency.

PA's go to 2 years of PA school after college.

Registered nurses have 4 years of college.

EMT, paramedics, lab techs, x ray techs and scrub techs have fewer years of education after high school.

Consider shadowing different professions to choose what is right for you.