Between now and 2024, the healthcare field is projected to experience the fastest employment growth, which is creating opportunities for people who are passionate about healthcare and considering a career in the industry.
The healthcare field is broad and dynamic, said Doris Savron, executive dean at University of Phoenix College of Health Professions. A career path in healthcare can range from IT to nursing to administrative staff, and each path is unique in what level of degree, time commitment and licensing are required.
For those looking to make a career change, the transition is not always easy. But with a bit of planning, you can remove many of the unknowns. According to Samantha Dutton, Ph.D., MSW, program dean at University of Phoenix College of Humanities and Sciences, this transition period can be made less stressful with some preparation.
“The most important thing someone considering a career change is expect a bit of uncertainty during the first few months. Feelings of being anxious or unsure of their decision are normal,” Dr. Dutton says. “It will get better.”
For those looking to make a change to the healthcare field, but dont know where to start, meet Diana Zuniga. She is in the process of making a change to a career in healthcare by furthering her education at University of Phoenix. Shes a great example of how to pivot directions and find a new path.
Discovering her passion
Zuniga says she’s had a passion for healthcare for years. She studied healthcare while she was an undergraduate student, but like many others, she switched her field of study a few times.
Her husband, who works as a research scientist at a cancer center, inspired her to pursue a career in the field. Through discussing his work and seeing the impact he was making, she was motivated to take steps to finish what she started as an undergraduate.
Knowing that there are ways I can help improve the procedures in a hospital, have a more positive impact on patient care and really understand the field has made the change to a new career and all the work involved worth it,” she says.
Taking the leap
When making her career change, Zuniga experienced periods of anxiety and questioned her ability to successfully make the transition.
She was concerned about her peers having more experience.
“I often wondered if it was too late to change careers,” Zuniga says. “But instead I look at this experience as an opportunity to present an outsiders view on some of the things we learn in class.”
Being new to the healthcare field is a hurdle and her biggest asset.
“Having more exposure to the healthcare field and the work I will be doing has shed a light on my abilities,” she explains. “And I now remind myself that if I am truly passionate about it, then nothing will stop me from achieving my goals of helping others.”
Getting the help you need
Zuniga is not alone in this transition. In addition to support at home, she has a team of people at University of Phoenix rooting her on.
“My enrollment advisor has been my confidant and my cheerleader,” she says. “She checks in on me constantly, and I have been able to vent to her some of my frustrations when I do have them.”
She’s also made friends from all over the country through her online course work. Zuniga cites these people as great resources for both aid and support in the pursuit of her dream.
Zuniga plans to complete this round of her education next year, when she will decide whether or not to pursue further classes and earn her MBA. She’s looking forward to entering the healthcare field full time.
If youre considering making a career change to the healthcare field:
1. Identify your passion. Zuniga’s dream of working in healthcare started pretty early in her journey. It may take you a little longer to not only discover what opportunities are available in the healthcare field, and to find what you love.
2. Talk to someone experienced in the field. According to Savron, working in healthcare often means specialized training and credentials will be necessary. By speaking with someone who is working in the specific area youre interested in, you can better understand what level of education is required or which certifications are needed to fill that role. Additionally, you can make sure that the day-to-day work, job opportunities and work requirements align with what youre looking for in your next career. Speaking to someone who is practicing in the field youre considering will give you a chance to ask questions and get meaningful, practical answers.
3. Save up and explore scholarship opportunities. The choice to go back to school involves important financial planning and decision making. University of Phoenix provides many resources to assist you in considering this decision. Explore financial options and tools that are available to you.
4. Look for flexible education options. Taking classes online means you can pursue your career in your own time, allowing you to keep working during the day and studying at night.
5. Do not give up. Things may seem difficult at times, but keeping your goals in mind and working hard may help provide motivation and encouragement. Its important to remain focused on your decision to enter this field. According to Dr. Dutton, “It may take time to realize the benefits of changing careers and that time varies by specialty and your individual background. You may struggle at the beginning; this is normal.”
For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended this program, visit University of Phoenix’s website.