Healthcare is a very broad field, but the most common careers associated with medicine are physicians (and physician assistants), nurses of all types (including nurse practitioners), medical technicians, and psychotherapists. There are many more careers, specialities, and subspecialties within the medical field. Here are five interesting careers in healthcare to consider pursuing if you want a unique career.
1: Art, Music, or Recreational Therapist
Expressive Arts Therapy
Expressive arts therapists utilize the creative process (art, music, dance, theatre, writing) alongside traditional psychotherapy methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. There’s also Art Therapy ( combines art and psychotherapy) and Music Therapy (combines music and psychotherapy) that specifically focuses on art and music, respectively. Expressive arts therapists and art therapists require Master’s degrees to practice, while music therapists only need a Bachelor’s degree. They can work in private practice, counseling centers, hospitals, and other clinical settings.
Recreational therapists are similar to expressive arts therapists, except they use a wide variety of recreational activities as a form of therapy. This includes arts and crafts, sports, and other relaxing activities. Recreational therapists need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree to practice, and some states require further licensing.
2: Medical Illustrator, Photographer, or Writer
If you like to draw, consider becoming a medical illustrator. They translate medical information into pictures so patients can have a better understanding of their medical issues. Medical illustrators can also illustrate pictures for medical textbooks. This can be a very profitable art career, as medical illustrators’ salaries range from $90,000 to $122,000.
If your art skills align more with photography, consider becoming a medical photographer. They keep track of medical conditions by taking pictures of them, and sometimes even video. All you need is a Bachelor’s degree in photography (or art with a concentration in photography) and a certificate in clinical photography.
If writing is more of your passion, then you should consider becoming a medical writer. Also known as medical journalists, you’ll research information to write engaging, and easy to read articles about the medical field. Medical writers are employed by academic journals and medical news publications, but they can also be freelance. You’ll need a Master’s degree in English, Journalism, or Technical Writing.
Pathologists are medical professionals that specialize in examining body tissues. They also perform lab tests to help other medical professionals reach a diagnosis. Pathology is a physician specialty, and there are several subspecialties within pathology:
- Chemical pathology
- Forensic Pathology
Because pathologists are physicians, they’re required to complete medical school, plus a residency of at least three years. Annual salaries for a pathologist starts around $60,000, but the average yearly salary is closer to $200,000. A variety of different medical settings employ pathologists: hospitals, independent laboratories, private practices, and more.
4. Space Psychologist
Psychologists are healthcare professionals that can be employed in a variety of settings— including space. NASA employs space psychologists to help them evaluate astronauts’ mental stamina and help prepare them to go into space. They’re usually employed directly by NASA, or they may work in a consultative role for other government agencies.
The median salary for a space psychologist was around $79,000 per year in 2018. NASA requires all of their space psychologists to hold a Ph.D. in Psychology or a Psy.D., which is a doctoral degree in psychology that focuses on applied clinical psychology.
5. Sports Medicine Physician
Sports medicine physicians are specially trained to diagnose and treat injuries related to sports and exercise. They are also trained to educate individuals on how to prevent sports and exercise injuries, from broken bones and sprains to pulled muscles and different types of joint pains. They can also specialize in nutrition, working with dieticians to help come up with a diet plan for athletes.
If you want to become a sports medicine physician, you’ll need to attend medical school, complete a residency, and complete a sports medicine fellowship training before you can start practicing— so this is going to require that you have a good work-life balance.
These are just a few examples of interesting and nontraditional career paths in the medical field. Because healthcare is so broad, it’s likely that you can combine one or more of your interests with a career in medicine. Make sure to pursue a career that you believe that you will genuinely love, so you’ll enjoy working.