Five 'alternative' jobs in the healthcare industry

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Written by Andy West Healthcare is a fast-growing field that offers lots of career opportunities and job security. A lot of people, however, think of a...

Written by Andy West

Healthcare is a fast-growing field that offers lots of career opportunities and job security.  A lot of people, however, think of a career in healthcare as those with the most visibility: working as a nurse at a hospital, nursing home, or doctor's office is most often what comes to mind.

But you might be surprised at the many different careers available in the healthcare industry.  Nurses are desperately needed in hospitals and retirement homes, of course, but for those who do not relish the thought, there are many other healthcare jobs to choose from. Here are five alternative healthcare jobs that shy away from the traditional doctor and nurse image.

Travel nursing

Qualified nurses can take advantage of the shortage of health care professionals if they are willing to travel to wherever they are needed. Travel nurses usually accept temporary contracts in various locations across the world, working for considerably higher pay in order to fill a specific need at a hospital or medical facility.  You go where you are needed most and in exchange you are well paid, with higher wages and bonuses and put up in a furnished housing or a housing stipend. If you love travel and are adventurous, this is a great option to see different places while meeting people around the world.

Research assistant

If you want to feel that your work is really helping to make a difference, then working as a research assistant allows you to contribute to the development of new medications, cures and our rapidly growing (but still insufficient) knowledge of the human body and its diseases. Research assistants may do everything from monitoring a study subject's vitals, to collecting self-reported data such as questionnaires and glucose readings. If you like to learn new things and analyse data, then this might be the perfect career.

Medical billing

Have you ever wondered who handles all the paperwork between the time you see the doctor and the time the insurance company (hopefully) pays the bill? Someone at your doctor's office is responsible for determining the correct billing codes and billing your insurance company. Although this is a potentially lucrative job in the health care industry, many people do not even know it exists because the billing process all happens in the background. This is a good position to consider for detail and task-oriented people who like working with numbers.

Pharmacy technician

Did you know you do not have to be an actual pharmacist in order to work in a pharmacy? A pharmacy technician typically helps the pharmacist do things like filling prescriptions, but because most of these jobs are in a retail setting, there is also a fair bit of customer service required. However, schooling requirements are much less rigorous, making this a great but obscure job for those who want a career in the health care industry, but do not want to have to work in a hospital setting. For those that love helping people and enjoy customer service, working as a pharmacy technician would be a great opportunity.

Home healthcare

Not every patient can make it in to see the doctor and staying in the hospital is not always a good solution. Many elderly or terminally ill patients choose to stay in their homes for a long-term illness, which means that they occasionally need a nurse to check in on them.  Home healthcare provides the same care the patient would get in the doctor's office or even in the hospital, except in the comfort of their own home and usually at a fraction of the cost. If you like flexible schedules and enjoy working with different people on a more personal level and deeper involvement this might the right fit.

As you can see, there are many healthcare jobs out there that fall outside the realm of nursing, but offer just as good pay and job security. For those that are interested in the benefits of working in the healthcare industry, but want to do something a little different than the usual nursing-type job, one of these careers might be perfect.

The Economic Report on the importance of travel nursing in the US:

Andy West is a freelance writer writing on various topics while he gets his healthcare degree online.


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