Five unusual medical careers you may not have considered

March 29, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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unusual medical careers

When you think of careers in the medical field, jobs such as nursing, physical therapy and x-ray techs may come to mind. While they can all be great career choices, there are also options you may not have considered. There are all types of careers in the medical field that can be interesting, rewarding and fun. Consider some of the options below.

Medical Illustrator

A medical illustrator takes complex medical information and transforms it into visual images. Those images are often used to communicate information to a broad range of people. Consider how complicated medical information and the human body can be. Illustrations can make something easier to understand and may be included in different types of materials. For instance, medical illustrations may be included in patient information booklets, textbooks and study guides.

Illustrators need to have training in both the life sciences and art. Formal education is required to become a medical illustrator. Some students obtain a four-year degree in biology with a double major in art. In the United States, currently, there are only three graduate programs in medical illustration, so competition is tough. But a combination of a science degree and art training may be enough to get you started in the field. A certification program is also available through the Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators.

As advances in technology emerge, it is creating new opportunities for medical illustrators. For instance, medical illustrators are also using their skills to develop computer animation and graphics.

Is it right for me? Medical illustration may be a good option if you love art and are interested in the science of medicine but to not want to care for patients.

Medical Writing

Medical writing is another career where you do not care directly for patients. Medical writers may edit, write and research all types of medical content. For example, they may write patient educational material, advertising copy for pharmaceutical companies, web content and clinical trial reports. Some medical writers specialize in scientific writing, which means their work is intended for medical professionals.

There is not a set career path to becoming a medical writer. Since medical information is often complex, formal education is usually needed. Most people take one of two paths to becoming a medical writer.
One way people enter the field is by getting a degree in journalism or English and taking additional classes in medical terminology or pharmacology. Alternatively, some people become medical writers after working in the medical field as a healthcare worker, such as a nurse, doctor or pharmacist.

Medical writing programs have also been emerging in the last ten years. Both degree and certificate programs are available for students who are interested in the profession.

Is it right for me? If you enjoy writing and like science, medical writing may be a good fit. There are also options to work freelance, which can provide a lot of flexibility.

Health Educator

Health educators provide classes and training to both medical professionals and the general public. For example, health educators may teach classes on CPR, infection control and diabetes education. But teaching is only part of what a health educator does. They also research and assess individual and community educational needs and plan health education program. They may work in hospitals, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

In order to work as a health educator, you need a bachelor’s degree. Health education degree programs are available at various colleges and universities throughout the country. Certification is also offered through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Many employers require certification before hiring an educator.

Is it right for me? Health educators have the opportunity to help a large number of people. It helps to have good communication skills and enjoy working with others.

Music Therapist

If you love music and want to make a career out of it, working as a music therapist is one option to consider. It may not be as glamorous as working as a music producer, but you can make a real difference in people’s lives.

Music therapists use various musical interventions in a therapeutic manner to address the physical, psychological and emotional needs of the patient. Music therapy may be used to help people with all types of conditions, such as those recovering from a stroke or a traumatic brain injury. The calming effect of music may also be used to help people with chronic pain, dementia, and problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Music therapists must earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy from an accredited program. Master’s degree programs are also available. To work in the field, therapists must also hold a music therapy credential from the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

Is it right for me? If you believe in the power of music and want to help people, music therapy may make a rewarding career.

Medical Interpreter

Medical interpreters are important members of the healthcare team. They facilitate communication between patients who have a language barrier and their medical provider. Many countries, such as the United States, have a diverse population. People come from all different countries and may not speak the language. It can be difficult enough to understand medical information if you do speak English. If English is not your first language, miscommunication can easily occur.

Interpreters may be needed to translate written material, such as hospital admission paperwork or facilitate conversations. They may also educate staff on cultural differences, which can impact a patient’s hospital stay. Medical interpreters are needed in a variety of settings, such as doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals.

There is not a specific degree or educational requirement to become a medical interpreter. You must be fluent in English and a second language. Classes in medical terminology are also usually needed to understand information you may need to translate. Formal certificate and associate degree medical interpreter programs are also an option. Optional certification is offered through the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters.

Is it right for me? If you enjoy working in a medical environment and helping people without getting involved in direct patient care, medical interpreting may be a good choice. There are also a lot of opportunities for part-time work, which may be a good fit for some.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and physician assistants – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.