Prepare For a Job in Healthcare

How to Prepare For a Job in Healthcare : A Complete Guide

Whether you’re still in school or you’re searching around for a new job and a new sense of purpose in life, a job in healthcare is an attractive proposition for many. It’s a rewarding sector with dozens of different roles across thousands of different facilities. And it’s a high-status job, seeing as people admire and respect those who have built a career around helping people in their time of need. But getting into healthcare – especially as a doctor, a nurse, a researcher, or an administrator – requires intelligence, hard work, and qualifications. Here’s how you’ll prepare yourself for such jobs.


Everything begins in school. It’s where you develop your first intellectual curiosities and where you’ll meet inspiring teachers who send you on a certain path towards a certain career. But at school, the most important advice for aspiring healthcare professionals is to work hard. You need good grades to get onto the best healthcare courses at university and college – and poor grades might essentially lock you out of such positions. If you left school years ago with poor grades, it’s always possible to retake your exams or to take entry tests to get onto university courses.

But working hard in school is not just about the piece of paper with your grade on it. It’s about what you actually learn. You can’t jump into a training course to be a nurse without having paid attention to biology because these courses are set up to pick up where your schooling left off. So studying hard is your very first step towards finding a well-paid, well-respected job in healthcare.

Extracurricular Learning

Meanwhile, your learning needn’t be confined to the classroom. Indeed, the most successful candidates when it comes to applying for a course at university or college have also gone out of their way to learn in their own time. There are plenty of ways to do this, including:

  • Taking private lessons in the subjects that matter the most for your future career: maths and statistics if you’re hoping to be a hospital administrator or biology for doctors
  • Enrolling in after-school classes in the subjects that you’re struggling with or want to excel in
  • Buying books and textbooks that hold key information that’ll help you train as a healthcare professional in the future
  • Listing to YouTube lectures, or downloading podcasts and audiobooks, about the healthcare profession
  • Speaking with a current healthcare professional about their job and what information they believe you need to learn

If you’re stumped for ideas about how to educate yourself beyond your classes at school – or if you left school, but you’re keen to pick up your education before heading back to university – the internet is a fantastic resource for research. Find the right blogs, forums, and information websites and get studying – it could help you on your way to your dream healthcare job.

Further Education

With school finished and your grades secure, it’s time to apply to study at university. It’s important to note here that you’ll have a relatively wide choice of options if you’re thinking about becoming a healthcare professional. There are, of course, the programs that teach doctors and nurses – and these are seen as the typical jobs in healthcare. But there are also exciting courses that position you at the cutting edge of healthcare development, such as those that teach you how to process, manage and draw insights from randomized patient data.

So you won’t need to be a doctor or nurse to work as a professional in healthcare. But what you will need is a degree in the relevant subject, which is why there are hundreds of universities offering dozens of different courses that’ll help pave your entry to the healthcare sector. Some are online, while others are offline. The University of Ottawa health administration master’s can be taken online and will leave you with the qualifications necessary to start using patient data and hospital records to save lives.

Experience on the Job

Whether you’re heading into the hospital as a trainee doctor or you’re preparing for a shift in a hospital back office, work experience can help you eventually get the job that you want in the healthcare industry. Some work experience is paid, while others pay you a basic rate as an intern. Some work experience is conducted without you earning a wage – in the understanding that the experience itself is more valuable to you. Often, that is indeed the case. With clinician shortages, this hands-on exposure becomes even more crucial, as it not only prepares aspiring healthcare professionals for the demands of the field but also ensures that a steady stream of well-prepared practitioners enters the workforce, thus addressing staffing gaps.

Applying for work experience is simple. You’ll just need to contact the right companies and ask them whether they have space to take on a junior intern so that you can learn the ropes. Many offices and healthcare centers will be glad to take you – and this might bayou first experience of what it’s like to work in the industry that you’ve been striving to join for some time. Work experience is a smart way to help you decide whether healthcare really is for you, too – you can test the waters, and decide whether you see your future in the industry.

Your First Role

Getting your first job in the healthcare sector is exciting. Much has been sacrificed, and many hours have been spent in study, for you to achieve this moment. But there are still things to consider when you’re searching for healthcare jobs – like the location of the facility you might like to work in, the salary offered, and the responsibilities you’ll have when you assume the role. So there’s still a little thinking to do before you leap into the job application phase.

The job’s location is usually the most important consideration for new starters in the healthcare field. No one wants to have to move across the country for their first job, leaving friends and family asset years studying. So it’s sometimes worth waiting for opportunities to open up in your area or region and then applying to those. But if you are a more adventurous soul, happy to venture far and wide for your first job, you’ll have a world of opportunity. Hospitals in all corners of the Earth will be happy to take you if you’re qualified – be that as a doctor, a nurse, or a healthcare administrator.


One of the key factors that put people off becoming a healthcare professional is the lifestyle that so often accompanies it. For instance, if you’re working in a hospital – not just as a doctor, nurse, or surgeon, but as an essential member of staff – you won’t be able to take every weekend off like your friends in other sectors. Ill health doesn’t respect weekends, and shifts regularly take you right through the weekend at work, leaving you with a day or two off in the middle of the week when your friends are working.

Then there are night shifts and emergency or on-call moments when you need to be ready to leap into action if you’re required. And all of this can be damaging to your social life – especially if you’re someone who likes to keep a regular schedule of activities. Still, this isn’t the information that puts off those who are passionate about healthcare. If you continue journeying into the sector, you’ll find that you make hundreds of friends across your line of work, which means there’s always someone to see on your days off. This is merely a consideration that’ll help you decide whether you’re ready for the stresses of working in healthcare.

Moving Jobs

It’s not uncommon for a healthcare professional to qualify, work for a handful of years, and then decide that they want to change tack. It happens when doctors drop down to become nurses, or nurses aspire to be doctors. It happens when an office worker gets a taste of frontline action in a hospital and decides to retrain as a nurse. And it even happens with entry-level members of staff, who learn the ropes as a junior employee and then decide that they’d love to become a professional in the healthcare industry.

Because there’s a good deal of horizontal movement within healthcare, you’re able to quite easily make a move into a department or field that you might not have originally intended to join. Of course, there might be qualifications you need to pick up in order to make those moves. In some cases, you might have to leave the professional altogether in order to go to university and retrain. But in the best cases, you’ll be able to study online alongside your job and make the move once you’re qualified and eligible for your desired role.

Progressing Your Career

There are several routes that each different healthcare role can take in order to progress in their career. We’ve already detailed how you can move sideways within healthcare above. But what about moving up the tree towards the more senior and well-paid jobs? Well, that’s just a case of working hard and trying to decide what you might wish to specialize in.

Taking on more responsibilities at work, even if that’s not recognized by your superiors or in your wage packet, can help you prepare for more senior roles in the future. So too can talking with senior staff members, who will tell you what it takes to get to their position. Oftentimes, extra qualifications will encourage promotions to different roles. But whether you’re a healthcare data processor or a surgeon, it’s really hard work, dedication, and devotion that’ll land you a more senior role as you progress in your career.

Helping Others

If there’s one thing that most people would say entices them about the healthcare industry, it’s helping others. It’s the sense that you’re contributing to something important and that meaning and purpose fill the job with satisfaction and excitement. And it’s important to note that this feeling is shared not just across those working on the frontline – the ambulance drivers and paramedics, doctors, nurses, and surgeons – but those who do equally important work cleaning, delivering, processing data, and making a hospital a functioning, safe and clean place.

If you have the urge to help people, then a career in healthcare will be well-suited to your desires. And if you’re not yet in the industry, but you’re reading this article with interest, there are roles you can assume today that bring this part of you to the forefront. You could apply to be a care assistant, for instance, while you’re waiting for your university application to process. You might choose to volunteer with the needy if you’re trying to retake your school exams to make yourself eligible for college courses. Bringing this nurturing, caring side out is an important part of your role in healthcare – and something that’s best practiced whenever possible.

Starting Your Journey

It’s a long journey to become a doctor. It can take a decade to train, qualify, and spend your first couple of years under close supervision. It’s nearly as long to become a nurse – with plenty of years in training and under the wing of senior nurses. Even becoming a hospital administrator or a healthcare researcher can take years of training and technical learning. So the journey to get into healthcare is long – and that means it’s worth starting as soon as possible. To do that, the information in this article should prove essential in getting you set off on the right foot.

Put simply, you’ll first need to concentrate on your education. With that out of the way, you’ll turn to training at college or university. All the while, educating yourself in your personal time will help you excel in your chosen field. Work experience can also be useful in this regard, giving you the age when you eventually apply for jobs. And while the lifestyle of healthcare professionals is a little unorthodox, you’ll be working towards a career that’s incredibly rewarding, allowing you to feel purpose and meaning whenever you turn up for work.

The tips in this article are aimed at a broad audience of people interested in jobs in healthcare. That’s because anyone can do it – if they set their mind to it and follow the steps outlined above.

Similar Posts