Did you know that it is possible to work in the healthcare sector without ever actually having to step foot in a university? There are a huge number of important jobs and roles that 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 is also always going to 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 that is doing good work in the world. As an employee in the healthcare sector, you are essentially part of an organization that works to make the world better by taking care of ill and injured people and giving them the best possible level of care. This is a purpose that cannot be found in most corporate jobs that are 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 of some form or another, 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 own reasons why they did or did not go to university, one of the primary reasons why someone may choose to not go to university or take an online course is cost. No matter where you live, 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 or 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 because they need more flexibility in their education. Many people need to work or care for family members, and 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 currently 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 who nonetheless have questions about their diet and want to generally improve their health.
The qualifying degrees you need to become either a dietician or nutritionist can be taken fully remotely, online.
Medical device technician
If 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, then you may want to consider a career as a technician. There are a number of 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 require 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.
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 in that they help to 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 are ever going to be exactly the same for administrators, and this makes the job an interesting challenge for individuals who like to be pushed.
There are a number of 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 that is 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 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 a variety of different 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 typically also discuss proper oral care with the patient and give tips and information on how to keep 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 require in-person, hands-on experience. This is why dental hygienist courses tend to have hybrid learning models.
One of the most lucrative areas in the healthcare sector is in 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. Some of these services could be recruitment, training, catering and janitorial, or security.
All of these companies require the same kinds of professionals that all private sector companies rely on. These are roles in departments such as 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, lesser form of education than traditional, in-person schooling. However, this perception of education has radically changed over the course of the last few years, and now online education is viewed as being just as valuable and instructive as in-person schooling.
One reason why online education now has mainstream acceptance is because technology has improved to an extent that often there is not an incredible amount of difference between the education that one receives online rather than in-person. There are many different educational technologies, or edtech, platforms and companies that facilitate the remote learning process, and video streaming platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts have also improved drastically.
Another reason why remote learning has gained in 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 to transition their course offerings to online learning. Online learning continued for about another 18 months as schools and universities decided whether or not opening up again was worth the risk. This experience of transitioning to digital platforms showed the world that every form of education can be successfully taught remotely, and students can be just as successful when learning in a remote environment.
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 available for students.
The proliferation of online content and flexible learning models has enhanced the digital literacy of students in all disciplines, while also 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 in order to become a student.
Is online education for you?
If you have never tried an online course before and you are somewhat hesitant, there are a few steps you can take to find out whether or not you are suited to online education. The first thing you can do is to take a few of the free or low-cost online courses that are available on platforms such as Coursera. There are hundreds of different courses available online for free for you to browse through and taking these courses will not only help you to try out online education but will also give your CV and application a boost regardless of the course you apply for in the future.
If you have tried a number of these online courses and you still are unsure whether or not you will take to remote learning, you can always contact the recruitment offices of the universities you are interested in attending. Recruiters have extensive experience with providing resources to prospective students, answering questions, and putting them in touch with current students or alumni who they can speak with.
These two steps should give you a better sense of what online learning is really like and help you to decide whether or not you are interested in it.
Choosing the right course
There are a number of different characteristics that you should look out for when choosing a course. 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 you obtaining a license of some sort.
Other factors that should be considered include the syllabus, the length of the program, the professors teaching the course, and any possible flexibility when it comes to 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 different programs, you will likely be able to form an opinion on what you would prefer in terms of course offerings.
You should also prioritize courses that are taught by highly educated and experienced professors who will be able to make the most of your educational experience. Some programs also offer students the option to design their course 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 that are taught in person, in part because the required overheads of running a university are virtually non-existent. The cost of online courses can vary widely, so it is important to consider the tuition fees and any other associated fees and to factor these into your budgetary planning.
One thing to consider while budgeting is the fact that online education is typically cheaper than in-person education because the fees are lower and because you generally spend less when learning from home. When you tally up the expenses from commuting, buying lunches and coffees, and paying for school supplies, it can really add up.
Selling your online education experience
If you do not have direct experience with online learning, you may feel hesitant to get started out of concern that your degree will not be taken seriously. However, the truth is that you can actually use your online education experience to sell yourself to your future employer fairly easily.
If you are planning on working in an office environment – whether that is in healthcare, research or a clinic – you will likely need to be working in a fairly self-directed, disciplined fashion, and it is likely that you will be working remotely at least some of the time. Completing a fully online course illustrates to potential employers that you can manage your own work and meet deadlines on projects 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 are able to build the career you want that will make you feel fulfilled, challenged and excited to progress on 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 really want to do, then it will be worth it in the end.