Your Healthcare Career Change: High-Demand Options Outside of Nursing

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated November 15, 2023

Your Healthcare Career Change: High-Demand Options Outside of Nursing is the eighth guide in our Career Change series. We put the spotlight on a career and how to transition into it. In this guide, you’ll discover the benefits of changing careers to healthcare and the steps you need to take to make the switch.

Are you thinking about making a career change but want to remain within the healthcare field? It’s no secret that working in this industry comes with its own set of challenges but it’s also an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling career path to take. And you’ll be happy to know that there are ample career opportunities in healthcare outside of nursing. From medical assistants to diagnostic radiographers, healthcare occupations are in high demand across the UK.

Many people desire more job security, meaningful work, better work-life balance, and a role where they can truly make a difference. So, whether you already work in healthcare and fancy a change of scenery or you’re considering a career change to healthcare, the sector has all this to offer and more.

Should I Make a Career Change to Healthcare?

Before diving into any career change, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons. Let’s explore some of the advantages and challenges of a career in healthcare:

Pros

  • Healthcare is a growing field with a high demand for workers so job security exists.
  • Healthcare roles allow you to directly impact patients’ health and well-being.
  • There is a wide variety of roles available with options for lateral moves once your position is established. 
  • Healthcare workers are generally well-compensated and come with numerous perks like NHS pensions, paid holidays, etc.
  • Further education can lead to higher-level roles giving you a clear career trajectory.
  • Some healthcare jobs offer flexible arrangements like part-time, flexi-time, and shift work.

Cons

  • Most healthcare roles require vocational training or university studies so career changers will often need retraining.
  • As with all healthcare roles, certifications and licenses must be kept current.
  • Healthcare workers often have to deal with injury, illness, and grief so it can take its toll on your mental health over time.
  • Healthcare roles often require 12+ hour shifts where you’re on your feet for the entire period.
  • Ongoing education and training are critical to stay up-to-date in an evolving field.

Healthcare Career Change: What Skills Do I Need?

Making a career change to the healthcare sector not only requires the right education and training but also certain essential skills. Consider the following points:

  • Communication: Healthcare workers need strong communication abilities to collaborate with colleagues and provide compassionate patient care. 
  • Organisation: Organisational skills are crucial too, allowing healthcare professionals to juggle patient schedules, treatment plans, medical records, and more. 
  • Attention to detail: Attention to detail is imperative in healthcare, where small mistakes can impact patient health and safety. 
  • Mental strength: Healthcare workers also need emotional resilience to manage stressful situations and patience to thoughtfully address patient needs. 
  • Tech savvy: Technology skills are also beneficial as healthcare continues trending toward high-tech equipment and digital recordkeeping. 

With the right mix of education and transferable skills, career changers can find fulfilling roles in the healthcare sector. 

Healthcare Career Change Options

We’ve compiled a list of some in-demand healthcare careers to consider outside of nursing if you’re looking for a change:

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants provide vital support to healthcare professionals and patients. Key duties include administrating medications, taking medical histories, assisting with exams, collecting lab specimens, and managing medical records. 

To become a medical assistant, you’ll need to complete a certificate or diploma programme. The role offers a comfortable salary, with medical assistants in the NHS earning approximately £25,500 per year according to Glass Door

This role offers plenty of room for career growth. Further study can lead to opportunities in a variety of fields from radiography to speech and language therapy. 

Physical Therapist (PT)

If you enjoy exercise and helping people recover mobility after injury or illness, a career as a physical therapist could be ideal. Retraining will likely be necessary however as you’ll need to complete a 3-year undergraduate degree plus a 2-year Master’s programme to qualify. All degree courses also hold Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) accreditation.

The day-to-day life of a physical therapist involves creating tailored treatment plans, guiding patients through exercises, stretches, and other interventions to reduce their pain and improve movement. 

Licensed physical therapists earn a healthy median salary of £42,000 according to Glass Door. There are plenty of career prospects including the option to specialise in a particular area like sports injuries, neurology or critical care.

Diagnostic Radiographer

Diagnostic Radiographers operate cutting-edge imaging technology like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to help diagnose patients’ medical conditions. In order to practise as a diagnostic radiographer, you must first be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Becoming a diagnostic radiographer involves earning a 3-year Bachelor’s degree. If you already have a degree in a related subject, you can apply for an accelerated postgraduate diagnostic training programme. 

Your work will revolve around performing radiographic exams on patients to produce high-quality images, using specialised medical equipment, and providing support and reassurance to patients. 

Qualified radiographers can expect to earn a salary of around £32,000 according to Glass Door.

This is by no means an exhaustive list so we recommend you conduct your own research into the different areas of the healthcare sector that you have an interest in. 

In Conclusion

A career in healthcare offers an array of advantages for anyone considering making a change in their professional lives. Outside of nursing, there are numerous in-demand options with great career prospects.

Once you’re sure that the healthcare sector is the right choice for you, it’s time to retrain and update your CV. It may take time to get your qualifications, but the sooner you begin, the sooner you will gain the qualifications you need to succeed. 

Be sure to regularly check our dedicated healthcare job board to find the latest roles near you. We have everything from career change jobs with no experience to jobs for good communicators.

For more advice on changing careers, we’ve compiled a list of career change support and resources to guide you.

Have a question? Feel free to get in touch with our team. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter below for all the latest news and opportunities from Refreshing a Career.

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Last Updated: Wednesday March 27 2024
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