Medical jobs come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak. Requirements for pursuing any one particular career depend on what the jobs within that career require. But understand this: there are plenty of medical jobs you can start applying for by your mid-20s. Most of them pay very well too.
Health Jobs Nationwide says that one would expect to devote 10 to 14 years to becoming a practicing physician. That is how long it takes to complete a general education, medical school, undergraduate work, and residency. Perhaps that’s why it’s rare to see practicing doctors younger than their mid-30s.
At any rate, here are five medical jobs you could start applying for before you turn 25:
1. Registered Nurse
The registered nurse (RN) is perhaps the most common type of nurse in the U.S. Registered nurses care for patients in private practices, at public clinics, in hospitals and nursing homes, in schools, and so on. Becoming a registered nurse requires a bachelor’s degree and a state license.
A typical bachelor’s degree program takes four years to complete. However, there are accelerated programs that combine both online and on-campus learning. They can reduce the time it takes to earn a degree by quite a bit. Some students get a 2-year associate’s degree to begin working as an LPN while continuing their education.
2. Speech Pathologist
Speech pathologists work with patients who struggle with verbal communication and/or swallowing. It is the pathologist’s job to figure out the underlying cause of the patient’s struggles in order to come up with and implement a treatment plan.
Speech pathologists are licensed professionals with master’s degrees. A master’s degree can be earned in as little as six years. You start by earning a bachelor’s degree, then continue undergraduate work to get your master’s.
3. Respiratory Therapist
A respiratory therapist is a professional whose career centers around helping patients suffering from chronic lung conditions. Therapists evaluate patients and consult with doctors to create treatment plans. They also implement treatments and provide patient education. Respiratory therapists must be licensed. Most states require only a 2-year associate’s degree.
4. Occupational Therapist
When patients need help overcoming limitations in order to be as functional as possible, they turn to occupational therapists. An occupational therapist works with the disabled as well as those recovering from accidents and illnesses. They often work in collaboration with physical therapists to simultaneously improve both function and strength.
Occupational therapists can specialize in certain areas. Regardless, they must be licensed and possess a master’s degree to work. Also note that occupational therapists can go on to earn doctorate degrees as well. The higher degree is not required for licensing.
Dietitians must complete an accredited bachelor’s degree program before they can begin working. The program covers an extensive list of subjects including chemistry, microbiology, food and nutrition sciences, and physiology. Once graduated and licensed, dietitians work with patients to establish and maintain healthy eating habits.
Dietitians are often employed by nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They are also employed by hospitals, higher education institutions and, in some cases, corporate food service departments. Note that dietitian and nutrition are two separate medical jobs with different educational requirements.
As you can see, there are plenty of medical jobs that do not require a 10-14-year commitment that includes medical school. This post has discussed just five of those jobs. Rest assured there are literally dozens, if not more, that you could begin applying for after just 2-4 years in school. Perhaps that provides incentive for you to consider a career in healthcare.