What Are Some Examples of Health Care Job Descriptions?

Every day, people benefit from the health care professionals who diagnose, treat, and prevent their illnesses. Read on to discover some of the health care jobs that might be right for you. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Possibilities

The health care field has numerous career possibilities. You may choose to work as an assistant, as someone who works with medical technology, or as someone who provides direct medical care to patients. Broader job categories, such as 'physician' or 'nurse,' may cover many different careers options. Beyond direct medical care, the field of health care also includes jobs such as psychologist, pharmacologist, and physical therapist.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that some health care workers, such as physicians and nurses, work long and irregular hours. Depending on your focus, you may work in a hospital, a private doctor's office, or another type of medical agency, such as a clinic or rehabilitation center. Many health care jobs will require you to continue your education beyond the bachelor's degree level. Read on for more information about some of the health care jobs available.

Important Facts About Jobs in Health Care

PhysicianRegistered NursePhysical Therapist
Job Outlook (2016-2026)13% (faster than average)15% (much faster than average)28% (much faster than average)
EducationA bachelor's degree is required prior to medical school, which is followed in many cases by a residencyYou can receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or an Associate's Degree in Nursing; a BSN or higher is required for certain positionsA degree from an accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy program; many do a clinical residency following school
LicensureAll physicians must pass the national licensure exam: USMLE for MDs and COMLEX-USA for DOsMust earn and maintain a nursing license by passing the NCLEX-RN; additional requirements vary by state.Required to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam; some states also require a criminal background check and a law exam
Professional CertificationCertification is not required, but physicians can get certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists or the American Osteopathic AssociationNot required, but RNs can get certified by various professional organizations in different specialties, such as pediatricsNot required, but PTs can get certification from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties
Key SkillsCommunication; detail-oriented; patience; stamina; organizational skills; problem-solving skills; dexterityCritical thinking; compassion; detail-oriented; organizational skills; speaking skills; physical staminaCompassion; detail-oriented; resourcefulness; dexterity; interpersonal skills

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


As a physician, your responsibilities will include diagnosing problems as well as prescribing and administering treatment to your patients. You'll be required to interview patients about their medical histories, conduct physical examinations, refer patients to specialists when necessary, and interpret medical test results. Some physicians are generalists while others specialize in fields such as cardiology, pediatrics, or gynecology. As a generalist, you may have a number of patients you see regularly for check-ups and common problems like infections or broken bones. For patients with serious medical conditions in a particular area, you might refer them to a specialist in that area.

Your annual salary will depend on your specialty. However, BLS reports that in May 2018 the average annual salary earned by physicians and surgeons was $203,880. Depending on the specialty and the location, there is potential for salaries well over $208,000 a year. However, many doctors work very long hours and are on-call (meaning, they have to be available to work anytime, day or night) frequently, which can cause stress on an individual's personal life.

Registered Nurse

If you become a registered nurse (RN), your job duties will include performing tests, taking down medical histories, administering medicine, and providing advice to patients. According to the BLS, you'll likely work in a medical facility, but some nurses are called to travel to schools or patients' homes. In May 2018, the BLS reported that RNs earned an average annual salary of $75,510.

As an RN, you may choose to specialize in a type of nursing based on the type of patient care provided, the disease you treat, or the demographic you serve. For example, you may decide to work as emergency nurse, a holistic nurse, or an oncology nurse. You may also choose to specialize in a certain field, such as anesthesia or midwifery.

Physical Therapist

Patients seek the help of physical therapists to aid in recovery or improvement of bodily function and ability after disease or injury. Working as a physical therapist, you will determine a patient's needs based on his or her condition and then build a personalized therapy plan. What you work on with the patient will depend on the issue being treated; for instance, you may help the patient exercise to restore range of motion to a limb after injury or provide endurance training to improve cardiovascular function. The patients you work with may suffer from arthritis, cerebral palsy, back injuries, or stroke. The BLS reported in May 2018 that physical therapists earned an average of $88,880 a year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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