What Healthcare Career is Right for Me?

Choosing a career in healthcare does not automatically mean that you are headed to medical school to become a doctor or nursing school to become a nurse. There is a wide range of careers available within the administrative, diagnostic, and therapeutic healthcare sectors. The trick is finding the right niche that matches your interests, skills, and abilities.

Going back to school can be expensive and will be very time-consuming. While there are numerous grants, scholarships, and bursaries that you can apply for to help you financially, there will be costs to you as well. Your studies will also take a large commitment of your time to attend classes and study as well as work any practicums or work placements.

When considering what healthcare career is right for you, you first need to ask yourself this:

“Am I mentally and financially willing and able to commit to furthering my education?”

healthcare career

Are there healthcare careers that don’t require a degree?

If going back to school is not something that you can afford to do right now, or at all, there are still healthcare careers that you can work in without having a degree. Below we have broken down healthcare careers that you may be able to get into with no education, certificate, diploma or degree.

High-school Diploma/GED (or less):

Caregiver/Home Health Aide

Job Description: Assisting clients in all activities of daily living and personal care, assisting with light housekeeping, food shopping or other errands, escort to doctor appointments, preparing meals within the client’s diet, meeting the safety needs of your client, medication reminders, engage and enjoy conversation with your client.

Skills Required: Valid driver’s license and reliable transportation, ability to follow and carry out client care plans, pass a criminal record check

Education Required: High-school diploma (however, this can also be flexible depending on your ability to do the required tasks as well as pass the criminal record check)

Salary Average: $19.72 per hour

Certificate Programs:

Medical Transcriptionist

Job Description: Listen to voice recordings that physicians and other healthcare workers make and convert them into written reports.

Skills Required: Experience and knowledge of office equipment (computers, copiers, scanners, phones, etc.), minimum typing speed of 70 words per minute (wpm), excellent English skills, strong attention to detail, discretion and listening skills as well as be able to pass a criminal record check.

Education Required: A high school diploma or equivalent. Some places will require that you have a certificate in Medical Transcription, however there are companies and organizations that will train the right person without having to have a certificate.

Salary Average: $42,095 per year

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Job Description: Provide pre-hospital emergency care to patients with injuries or medical illnesses and transport them to hospitals or other medical facilities

Skills Required: Physically fit, ability to work under pressure and in stressful situations, service, and care skills, planning and analysis skills, public safety and security knowledge, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: Completion of a one- to three-year college, hospital-based or other recognized paramedical or emergency medical technology program is required (Gov. of Canada, 2022)

Salary Average: $34.00/hour

Diploma Programs:

Retail Pharmacy Assistant

Job Description: Give general assistance with daily pharmacy activities. Take prescriptions from clients in person and over the phone. Measure and mix drugs according to prescriptions. Package, label and dispense medications.

Skills Required: Attentive, organized, detail oriented and dependable, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: Retail Pharmacy Assistant Diploma (6 months -1-year program)

Salary Average: $36,075 per year

Dental Assistant

Job Description: Prepare patients for dental examinations, order dental and office supplies, prepare dental instruments and filling materials, reception, and clerical duties, sterilize and maintain equipment

Skills Required: Personable, good oral and communication skills, attention to detail and cleanliness, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: High school diploma and/or Dental Assistant Certificate (8 months – 1 year program)

Salary Average: $24.00/hour

Medical Admin Assistant

Job Description: Medical Admins provide a variety of administrative assistance to medical offices and clinics. Their days include (but aren’t limited to) booking appointments and managing the calendars of multiple medical professionals, completing forms and insurance claims, prepare other documents as needed and even supervision of other staff members.

Skills Required: Attention to detail, clear communication, reading, and writing skills, good with digital technology, team player, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: Medical Office Administrator Certificate or Diploma (1 – 2 year program)

Salary Average: $22.00 per hour

Occupational Therapist/Physiotherapist Assistant

Job Description: Assist professionals such as audiologists, speech-language pathologists, ophthalmologists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists in the assessment and treatment of clients in public or private clinics

Skills Required: Excellent written, interpersonal, and oral communication skills, ability to take direction from multiple professionals, eye for detail and possibly the ability to lift a certain amount of weight depending on the type of professional you would be working with, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: College Diploma (2 Years)

Salary Average: $22.00/hour

Licensed Practical Nurse

Job Description: Licensed practical nurses provide nursing care usually under the direction of medical practitioners, registered nurses or other health team members (Gov. of Canada, 2022).

Skills Required: Excellent written, interpersonal, and oral communication skills, ability to take direction from multiple professionals, eye for detail, good with technology and medical equipment, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: Completion of a vocational, college or other approved program for licensed practical nurses is required (2 Year Program)

Salary Average: $28.00/hour

What healthcare careers require a degree?

There are a lot of healthcare careers that require an Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree.  These programs are usually 4 – 8 years (or more) in length and require significant time, mental and financial preparedness to complete.  

Once completed you can find a fulfilling healthcare career as one of the following:

Social Service Worker

Job Description: Social and community service workers administer and implement a variety of social assistance programs and community services and assist clients to deal with personal and social problems. They are employed by social service and government agencies, mental health agencies, group homes, shelters, substance abuse centres, school boards, correctional facilities and other establishments (Canada, 2022).

Skills Required: Excellent interpersonal, communication, and written skills, organizational skills, service and care skills, planning and analysis skills, public safety and security knowledge, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: Social Service Worker Degree (4 year program)

Salary Average: $23.00/hour

Registered Dietician

Job Description: Implement and oversee nutrition plans and food service programs for individuals, hospitals, home health-care agencies, community health centers and more.

Skills Required: Excellent interpersonal, communication, and written skills, organizational skills, service and care skills, planning and analysis skills, public safety and security knowledge, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: Bachelor or Masters Degree (4 – 7 years program)

Salary Average: $37.50/hour

Registered Nurse (RN)

Job Description: Provide care to patients, administer medications, assist in surgery, supervise other nurses, monitor, assess, address, document and report symptoms and changes in patient's conditions and so much more. RNs can find employment in private or public organizations or even self-employed.

Skills Required: Excellent interpersonal, communication, and written skills, organizational skills, service and care skills, planning and analysis skills, public safety and security knowledge, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: 4-Year Nursing Degree

Salary Average: $40.00/hour

Family Doctor (General Practitioner)

Job Description: General practitioners and family physicians diagnose and treat the diseases, physiological disorders and injuries of patients. They provide primary contact and continuous care for the management of patient's health. They usually work in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals and clinics. Residents in training to be general practitioners or family physicians are included in this unit group (Gov. of Canada, 2022).

Skills Required: Excellent interpersonal, communication, and written skills, organizational skills, service and care skills, planning and analysis skills, public safety and security knowledge, must pass a criminal record check

Education Required: Degree, Masters, Doctorate (8 years+)

Salary: $216,864/year

Can I still have a rewarding healthcare career if I cannot pass a criminal record check?

It is really hard to get a job in healthcare while having a criminal record, but not impossible. Looking into record expungement while volunteering where you can, seeking further education, and building great community references will give you the best chance at a healthcare career.

How can I find healthcare jobs with top employers in Ontario?

That’s easy. All you have to do is create your FREE Caring Support account, completely fill out your profile and start checking out the available healthcare jobs in your area!

Please note: Not all healthcare career paths are listed in this article. This is just a general overview of some of the careers that are possible. It is still imperative to do your own research and consult with appropriate financial and educational professionals before committing to any program.

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