When thinking of health career opportunities, it is natural to immediately think of doctors and nurses. While these are certainly valuable members of the health care community, most health career opportunities lie within the allied health field. Allied health careers are distinct from doctors, nurses, and dentists, though these professionals may work in the same settings as doctors or dentists. These professionals may be highly specialized, such as anesthesia technicians, or they may be responsible for broader tasks, such as a licensed practical nurse. Pharmacists generally fall under the category of allied health as well.
Specialists such as radiologists, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and dental assistants will all fall under the category of allied health. These positions will require schooling and specific on the job training, and certification will be necessary as well. The variety of settings in which an allied health professional may work is quite large, so the specific job responsibilities of such professionals can vary significantly. Patient care is almost always one of the primary responsibilities of any health care professional, as is the respect of a patient's privacy: records must be kept confidential and information about a patient's medical history cannot be given to other parties without proper consent.
Professional careers include doctors, dentists, and chiropractors. These health career opportunities require advanced degrees and a significant amount of schooling, as well as licensing from governing bodies. Such governing bodies will vary by country or region. General practitioners will deal with a variety of injuries and illnesses, while more specialized doctors may focus exclusively on one type of medicine; a cardiologist, for example, deals exclusively with the heart and related body functions. Nurses must also obtain college degrees in order to take advantage of health career opportunities, though a candidate can become a nurse with just a bachelor's degree rather than a more advanced degree such as a master's or PhD.
Administrative jobs are also available as health career opportunities. Lawyers and accountants can find work within the health care field, as can insurance underwriters and medical transcriptionists. Upper management positions at hospitals and health care centers are often occupied by doctors or other medical professionals, though some positions in management can be filled by people with little or no medical experience. Financial officers, for example, need to be well versed in finance and accounting rather than medicine. Other administrative or clerical jobs may include marketing specialists or advertising personnel.