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Choosing a Career in the Medical Field

written by: theMallorys•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 9/8/2011

Having a clear set of goals can help when choosing a career in the medical field. Part of the decision comes down to whether you want to work in private practice or for an institution. You also need to know which career you’re most interested in.

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    Health care is always a hot topic, and the best opportunity that you have for choosing a career in the medical field may be in the next several years. That’s not to say that all career options are going to be good choices. Understanding the internal and external trends and laws that affect the line of work you’re interested in is the key to staying ahead and investing your money for education and training in the right places. Here are some career options to consider and to keep abreast of:

    Image Credit (Wojciech Wolak)

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    Medical doctors often top the list when it comes to choosing a career in the medical field. Little children grow up playing doctor, and it’s seen as the mark of success in many cultures. Many doctors are wondering whether they made the best choice because of laws that continue to curtail their ability to deliver the services they need to patients, or limit their payments and salary. There are many factors that will determine whether becoming a doctor is the best choice for a career option, such as the country where you plan to work and whether you’ll work in the private or public sector. The salary range for a physician in general practice in the United States is $92,741 to $159,932. You would have to graduate from medical school and complete residency requirements in order to work as a doctor.

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    If you enjoy more direct and more frequent contact with patients, consider a career in nursing. It’s a demanding career, consisting of long hours and many challenges. You can build a rewarding career as a nurse, and earn what many would consider a good salary. The salary range for registered nurses in the United States is $46,617 to $66,774. It’s $31,480 to $44,267 for licensed practical nurses. To become a nurse, you have to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Some specialties require a master’s degree, such as a nurse anesthetist. You also have to pass a national examination in order to become licensed.

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    It doesn’t get the glory and as much attention as medical doctors, but dentists provide a much needed service. You should consider it when choosing a career in the medical field. The same concerns that doctors face apply to dentists as well, so you have to be informed about the trends and legislation that affect the industry. The salary range for a general dentist in the United States is $99,053 to $155,747. You need to earn a bachelor’s degree and graduate from dental school. Some dental schools allow you to earn your bachelor’s degree while attending dental school. You have to complete at least two years of college prior to admittance, in most cases.

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    Traditional Midwife

    One of the oldest professions is midwifery, and it’s a great career option if you love babies and want to help deliver them. You don’t have to become a nurse midwife. Many midwives assist mothers in a home setting or birth center, without ever going to a hospital. These are often called traditional midwives or midwives that practice home births. The salary range for a traditional midwife is $29,479 to $54,080. The educational requirement is often enrollment in a midwifery education program and certification. Some midwives are exempt from any formal educational requirement if they can prove that they have the skills and experience attending and assisting births.

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    When it comes to choosing a career in the medical field, it’s important to interview as many people as possible who are employed doing what you want to do. You should also speak with entrepreneurs who run their own health care business. Learning about real life experiences can help you make an informed decision.

    Looking for more options? Check out the rest of Bright Hub's collection of career guides and profiles.

    References: Salary Snapshot for Physician/ Doctor, General Practice Hourly Rate Snapshot for Licensed Practical Nurse Salary Snapshot for General Dentist Salary Snapshot for Midwife Jobs