Healthcare and social services are all about looking after peoples’ physical and mental health. It’s probably one of the most honourable ways to earn a living and it’s also a cornerstone of a successful and balanced society. While healthcare is an extremely rewarding vocation, it can also be very labour intensive and in some cases, quite stressful. After all, peoples’ lives are on the line.
Will it suit me?
The best health care professionals are patient, practical and excellent at communicating. But the most important trait is empathy – you’ve got to care deeply about people, enough to see them at their worst and help them through it. It wowon'tlways be easy work, so you’re going to need strength and a passion to help people in order to keep on keeping on.
What jobs can I get?
Doctor, surgeon, nurse, aged care worker, disability care, surgeon, paramedic, dentist / dental assistant, orthodontist, occupational therapist, pathologist, radiographer, psychiatrist, psychologist, urologist, paediatrician, neurologist, emergency physician, anaesthetist, pharmacist, optometrist, midwife, naturopath, dietician, nursing assistant, child carer, speech therapist, social worker, chiropractor, counsellor, health and welfare service.
How can I get there?
There are a few different ways into the health and social services industry, but for the most part, you’re going to need a qualification. Many roles in healthcare require a university degree; for reference, it generally takes 4 years to become a registered nurse, 7 years to become a doctor, and most surgeons train for at least a decade. Similarly, psychologists, psychiatrists, dentists and most medical practitioners will need a degree.
However, there are a lot of roles that don’t require you to attend university. A Diploma of Paramedical Science (paramedics) takes three years to complete, while a Diploma of Cert IV in Nursing through TAFE will qualify you to be an enrolled nurse. Nursing assistants, dental assistants, counsellors, child carers, social workers and aged/disabled carers can be qualified with a Certificate or Diploma. Some are even trained on the job.
Is it a good industry?
There are some massive drawcards to working in health – it can be lucrative, it’s an industry in high demand and it’s a very noble vocation. Health care workers typically work in hospitals, doctor’s practices, nursing homes, care facilities, laboratories, pharmacies and clinics. Healthcare provides a diverse and sometimes stressful working environment. It can also be very social, and provide a lot of opportunities to work all over the world.