How to work in the healthcare sector without stepping foot in a university

How to work in the healthcare sector without stepping foot in a university

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Did you know that working in the healthcare sector is possible without ever stepping foot in a university? Many important jobs and roles are part of the healthcare sector aside from support staff that do not require you to become a doctor or nurse or train through an in-person program.

There are many different reasons why someone would want to work in the healthcare sector without going to university. Jobs in the healthcare sector tend to have very good insurance plans and pensions for workers, and there will always be job security because there will never be an end to illness or injury.

On top of that, many people want to be part of something bigger than themselves, which is doing good work in the world. As an employee in the healthcare sector, you are essentially part of an organization that works to improve the world by taking care of ill and injured people and giving them the best possible care. This purpose cannot be found in most corporate jobs focused on providing goods and services that do not necessarily materially improve lives.

In this article, we discuss why you may not want to step foot in a university in the first place and look at the many different jobs that are available to individuals in the healthcare sector. As many of these roles necessitate training or education, we also explain the ins and outs of online education so that you can make an informed choice about your future.

Why you may not want to go to university 

While everyone will have their reasons why they did or did not go to university, one of the primary reasons why someone may choose not to go to university or take an online course is cost. No matter where you live, a college education is expensive, and if you live in the US, it is extremely expensive. Not everyone can afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars in tuition every year for a minimum of four years, and not everyone wants to be saddled with immense debt by the time they graduate.

Another reason why many people eschew traditional university education is that they need more flexibility in their education. Many people need to work or care for family members; therefore, they cannot commit to the class schedules offered by traditional universities. Instead, they need the flexibility of an online program that allows them a certain degree of flexibility and freedom to study when and how they can.

Online education and certification programs are alternatives to traditional, in-person university education, which provide a similar experience for a significantly lower price. They also give individuals a chance to try out a program before deciding whether they want to pursue the subject further in academia.

The types of roles that are open to you

Nutritionist or dietician 

Some of the more popular roles in the healthcare sector are nutritionist and dietician. These careers have grown in popularity with the rise of healthy eating influencers and a renewed focus on promoting wellness through diet.

Dieticians and nutritionists work in hospitals, clinics, and private settings to help patients manage their illnesses through the food they eat and the diet they follow. Many nutritionists also work for themselves and have their own consulting business to help individuals who may not be at the hospital for a particular ailment or concern but have questions about their diet and want to improve their health.

The qualifying degrees you need to become either a dietician or nutritionist can be taken fully remotely, online.

Medical device technician

Suppose you are interested in a hands-on job that involves working directly with patients and some of the most powerful medical devices currently on the market. In that case, you may want to consider a career as a technician. There are several different possible paths that you can follow, including becoming an MRI technician, ultrasound technician, or radiologic technician.

All these jobs require a significant degree of skill and training, but they do not need individuals to complete four-year university degrees. Instead, most of these roles require individuals to have completed a two-year associate degree, which can be undertaken online in most states and provinces.

Health administrator

One often-overlooked career path is that of a health administrator in a hospital or clinic. Health administrators are like the glue that holds a hospital together; they help manage healthcare and commercial operations.

Health administrators are excellent communicators and are typically good at solving problems, working with large teams, and managing projects with multiple stakeholders. Due to the nature of their work, no two days will ever be the same for administrators, making the job an interesting challenge for individuals who like to be pushed.

There are several ways to become a health administrator, but one of the best ways to make your CV stand out is to pursue further education. For example, the master’s of Health Administration online Canada offered by Telfer at uOttawa is a fully online program designed to help you hone your skills and develop the abilities necessary to succeed as an administrator. The program is fully remote, so students can learn online while also working and gaining more experience in the field.

Dental hygienist 

Dental hygienists play an essential role in helping patients to maintain oral care and to spot early warning signs of problems before they develop too far. Hygienists are responsible for cleaning teeth and gums in various ways and taking x-rays to ensure that the patient’s teeth are healthy and not at risk.

Another important and rewarding aspect of a dental hygienist’s role is education. While cleaning teeth, the hygienist will discuss proper oral care with the patient and give tips and information on keeping teeth and gums happy and healthy. This is a vitally important aspect of public health and helps to humanize the entire dental process, which can be quite intimidating.

To become a dental hygienist, an individual must have an associate degree in Dental Hygiene. While many of their courses can be learned online, there are, of course, many important aspects of teeth cleaning that requires in-person, hands-on experience. This is why dental hygienist courses tend to have hybrid learning models.

Healthcare companies

One of the most lucrative areas in the healthcare sector is the private sector. This includes working for companies that create and market medical devices, pharmaceutical companies, and companies that provide goods and services to hospitals and clinics. These services could include recruitment, training, catering and janitorial, or security.

These companies require the same professionals that all private sector companies rely on. These are roles in human resources, sales, marketing, recruitment, learning and development, operations, management, finance, and IT. Depending on your experience, you could start in one of these departments and rise through the ranks during your career or make a horizontal transition into a similar role being offered in a hospital.

Some of the most lucrative roles are those focused on sales and marketing at large medical device and pharmaceutical companies. If you are successful in these roles, it is possible to make a significant amount of money, and typically sales roles do not require a university degree from a traditional school.

The rise of online education 

Online education was previously considered a somewhat niche, a lesser form of education than traditional, in-person schooling. However, this perception of education has radically changed throughout the last few years, and now online education is viewed as just as valuable and instructive as in-person schooling.

One reason online education now has mainstream acceptance is that technology has improved to the extent that often there is not an incredible amount of difference between the education that one receives online rather than in person. Many educational technologies, or edtech, and companies that facilitate the remote learning process and video streaming platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts have also improved drastically.

Another reason remote learning has gained relevancy is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic disrupted all aspects of normal life, including education. Suddenly, busy parents had to become teachers, and university students were sent home to finish their courses.

As the severity of the situation became clear, universities started transitioning their course offerings to online learning. This experience of transitioning to digital platforms showed the world that every form of education could be successfully taught remotely, and students can be just as successful when learning in a remote environment. Online learning continued for another 18 months as schools and universities decided whether or not opening up again was worth the risk.

It could be argued that the pandemic truly changed education and how it is perceived forever. There are now many more remote learning and hybrid learning models available for programs, and even in-person courses typically also have remote options for students.

The proliferation of online content and flexible learning models have enhanced students’ digital literacy in all disciplines while making education much more flexible and accessible. It is no longer the case that you must be a full-time student or attend class at specific, inflexible hours to become a student.

Is online education for you?

If you have never tried an online course before and are somewhat hesitant, there are a few steps you can take to determine whether you are suited to online education. The first thing you can do is take a few free or low-cost online courses available on platforms such as Coursera. There are hundreds of different methods available online for free for you to browse through; these courses will help you try out online education and boost your CV and application regardless of the course you apply for in the future.

Suppose you have tried several of these online courses and are still unsure whether you will take to remote learning. In that case, you can always contact the recruitment offices of the universities you are interested in attending. Recruiters have extensive experience providing resources to prospective students, answering questions, and putting them in touch with current students or alums with whom they can speak.

These two steps should give you a better sense of what online learning is like and help you decide whether or not you are interested in it.

Choosing the right course 

When choosing a course, it would be best to look for several different characteristics. When it comes to courses that focus on aspects of healthcare, you should first look for accreditation and ensure that the program you are applying to is fully accredited and recognized by the relevant state and provincial or federal bodies. This is especially important if you are applying to a program that will result in obtaining a license.

Other factors that should be considered include the syllabus, the program length, the professors teaching the course, and any possible flexibility when choosing different modules as course electives. While you may not be certain what you prefer when you begin your search, after looking through a dozen or so other programs, you will likely be able to form an opinion on what you would prefer regarding course offerings.

You should also prioritize courses taught by highly educated and experienced professors who can make the most of your educational experience. Some programs also offer students the option to design their system by choosing specific elective modules on topics they are particularly interested in.

Finally, the last and often most important consideration is cost. Online programs tend to be significantly more affordable than courses taught in person, partly because the required overheads of running a university are virtually non-existent. The cost of online classes can vary widely, so it is important to consider the tuition and other associated fees and factor these into your budgetary planning.

One thing to consider while budgeting is that online education is typically cheaper than in-person education because the fees are lower, and you generally spend less when learning from home. It can add up when you tally up the expenses from commuting, buying lunches and coffees, and paying for school supplies.

You are selling your online education experience. 

If you do not have direct experience with online learning, you may feel hesitant to start because your degree will not be taken seriously. However, the truth is that you can easily use your online education experience to sell yourself to your future employer.

If you plan on working in an office environment – whether in healthcare, research, or a clinic – you will likely need to work in a fairly self-directed, disciplined fashion, and you will probably be working at least some remotely. Completing a fully online course illustrates to potential employers that you can manage your work and meet project deadlines in a self-directed way.

Additionally, if you complete online education, it shows that you are comfortable working in a variety of different environments, that you are adaptable when it comes to trying out and learning new technologies, and that you can work on projects in a self-directed fashion.

Creating the career you want, however, you want 

Whether you decide to enroll in a university program or not or take online or in-person courses, ultimately it does not really matter as long as you are able to progress to the next level of education needed to advance your career goals. The most important thing is that you can build the career you want that will make you feel fulfilled, challenged, and excited to progress to the next stage.

If, at any point in your academic journey, you start to question the process and motivations that brought you to where you are, then it might be time to take a moment, reflect and consider what your long-term professional goals are. It will not be easy to get there, but if it is what you want to do, it will be worth it in the end.

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