The healthcare sector is expanding at such an exponential rate that doctors and nurses just cannot keep up. There remains a large shortage of medical professionals experienced in emergency care, as many choose to specialize in their careers. By the year 2025, there will be more than 300,000 jobs available in the healthcare sector that will need experienced individuals with a specific set of qualities and characters.
Veterans with military experience have just the right particular skills that can be transferred to the medical industry. Many soldiers were taught basic emergency care during their time in service. In addition, they have leadership and problem-solving skills that are desirable in the healthcare sector. For veterans considering a career change or those that have recently retired, here are 10 careers that would be ideally suited.
Emergency medical professionals such as EMTs and paramedics have the most direct link to military experience. It’s fast-paced, requires quick judgment and thinking, and takes a strong stomach. Paramedics assess various situations and are trained to provide emergency care which can be done outside of a hospital. This high-stakes profession often requires dealing with patients who have been in serious accidents and dangerous situations. They are often called in to assist with extraction cases, and many paramedics go on to work for the fire department.
There is quite a bit of diversity with this career choice as a veteran can choose to work at community colleges teaching other students about emergency medical care, or they can contract to a specific hospital as their designated EMT services. In America, the median annual salary for an emergency healthcare professional of this caliber can expect anywhere between $35,000 and $40,000. It’s a tough profession but paramedics provide valuable care. Without them, many people would not make it to the hospital in time to receive urgent care.
A practical nurse will work in clinics, nursing homes, and private facilities, taking care of the sick and elderly. The position requires knowledge in medical terminology and illnesses to be able to answer patient questions, and most practical nurses work under the supervision of an RN or physician. Practical nurses are also required to qualify in the NCLEX examinations, and most programs to become certified will take about one year to complete. Clinical experience is a must, but military veterans have a broad enough understanding to fast track this career choice.
With strong leadership skills and the ability to work as a team member, veterans have the necessary attributes to become licensed practical nurses (LPN). Practical nurses are often employed in community development initiatives that work with the National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses. The salary is also competitive at almost $50,000 per year. In the next 10 years, it’s expected that more than 60,000 LPN jobs will become available in this region of the healthcare sector.
A registered nurse (RN) takes care of various people all with different conditions or states of recovery. They are adept at dealing with people of all walks of life and are often considered good with people. RNs are also responsible for implementing particular treatment plans for patients and educating them on how to prevent disease and take care of themselves better. To work as an RN, a veteran will need a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to set them on the proper career path. This also prepares veterans for more specialized careers should they choose so at a later stage – careers such as family nurse practitioners, nurse managers, and other administrative positions.
Veterans have the capabilities to think quickly on their feet and find creative solutions to difficult problems. This is ideal in any healthcare setting, particularly emergency services. Other attributes that veterans and RNs share are that they are dependable, able to follow and give orders and display empathy for those in need. For those veterans that have recently retired, consider an accelerated BSN program to get qualified in a much shorter period than the standard BSN. Facilities such as Wilkes University have a variety of nursing programs that are worth contemplating for any veteran.
Veterans don’t just have to work in the nitty and gritty world of patient care. Veterans are the perfect candidates to operate hospital departments and manage large teams of employees. A hospital administration job requires a professional who has advanced leadership skills and demands respect – someone who can delegate tasks and responsibilities between employees and make difficult decisions. This role necessitates an individual who can foresee issues and handle multiple tasks each day to keep a hospital or medical facility functional.
Veterans are no strangers to death and destruction. Their training is rigorous to prepare them for the worst. This trait is highly valuable in a hospital administration position because they are managing a system that oversees life and death on a constant and daily basis. It takes strong will and constitution, which military personnel have learned from experience on the ground. Although it may take years and most hospitals require a master’s degree, military experience gives any veteran the upper hand.
Assistant to Nurses
This may not sound as glamourous as the others but a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is still a valuable profession that can be achieved with almost no time at all and very little financial investment. It’s the easiest way to enter into the healthcare sector without prior medical or nursing degrees. A CNA provides basic care to all patients. From dressing and bathing to physically moving them around, CNAs must be patient and willing to learn experience on the job. Most programs to become a CNA are completed in a few weeks or months, and veterans may be able to get the training for free.
The annual average salary for a CNA is around $30,000. It’s an extremely easy and viable option for veterans who want to get back into a busy occupation. As of 2018, it was recorded that CNAs can expect an increase in available positions by almost 10% by the end of 2028. This is a much faster expansion rate than most other careers available today. In just as much demand as CNAs are assistants to doctors, who help with administrative responsibilities, rather than caring for patients directly.
Expert in Public Health
To predict health threats like epidemics or outbreaks, public health experts look at patterns and study the history of healthcare and the systems that it works on. This profession requires the use of data and the knowledge of human psychology and political matters to determine where risks can be mitigated. It requires exceptional attention to detail and the ability to find patterns in statistics that can be analyzed. Skilled public health experts are called epidemiologists.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, public health expert careers have grown substantially, and there is currently a shortage of qualified professionals. Earning around $80,000 per annum, this profession is a great choice for any veteran with problem-solving skills and a keen eye for details and discrepancies. The great thing about this career is that veterans can change healthcare policy from the inside. They will gather key information and insight to make logical predictions about the healthcare sector and how policy can be amended to improve future forecasts.
This mouthful simply means someone who draws blood for testing. The procedure of taking blood is called venipuncture and veterans are already skilled enough to learn this job without much effort. As a phlebotomist, veterans can work with blood drives in the civil workspace. The job is also called for with insurance companies who require prior blood testing to approve an application for underwriting. Phlebotomists will go to each person’s home to draw their blood and send it away for testing.
Needles frighten some people, and donating or drawing blood can be a nerve-racking experience with a lot of anticipation and sweating. Phlebotomists need to keep a cool and level head and help patients get through the procedure with ease. A successful phlebotomist will provide a comfortable experience and excellent chair-side manner that helps to distract the patient and keep them calm.
Whether physical rehabilitation through therapy or substance abuse programs, veterans can play a vital role in helping people who have been through trauma. There are emotional and physical problems when dealing with rehabilitation in any form, and veterans have experience dealing with both. This vocation requires someone empathetic to other people’s situations and who can provide comprehensive care that they need. It can be in the form of verbal therapy sessions and support groups or physical action that can help a disabled person. Veterans who have lost limbs during their military service can help deal with their problems by helping those in similar situations.
This profession can extend to group homes and specialized clinics for a group of people such as those dealing with PTSD or the loss of a loved one. Being on the army force is no easy feat, and veterans go through grueling experiences that make them ideal candidates to work with others of similar pasts or circumstances.
Health Technician or Informatics
Health informatics involves the process of improving medicine using technology. With a background in IT, veterans can go into entry-level technician jobs where they maintain health records and work on medical equipment. There are quite a few options in this field of the healthcare sector because technology has been so well integrated into medicine that it controls many of the procedures doctors perform and the medications that are prescribed. Specialties include data analytics to evaluate patient health records and systems engineers that design innovative solutions for the evolution of medical technology.
Younger veterans will have a good foundational knowledge of computers that can be combined with an associate-level degree to work on mechanical components. Things like x-ray and MRI machines require repairmen who are skilled in both IT and medicine. An entry-level job as a health technician can earn a veteran about $30,000 per year, but with leadership and management skills, they can earn closer to $150,000 managing IT infrastructures and departments.
For radiology exams and scanning procedures, a diagnostic technician is required to set the equipment up and analyze the results. The responsibilities don’t necessarily require in-depth medical knowledge; instead, it requires an ability to interpret results based on what can be seen. Training for this career requires knowledge of preparing patients for various examination procedures and operating the device in question. Each machine in a hospital works to detect something different. Each requires a skilled professional that understands how to place the equipment in line with the patient’s body. This includes understanding how magnetic and electrical components interact with other substances.
Comprehensive knowledge of regular patient procedures is required to explain all the steps in a way that doesn’t cause pain and anxiety. Veterans are skilled in this department, dealing with stressful situations where people may react badly. Diagnostic technicians only take care of patients while they are having the procedure performed, and it requires working with a team of doctors to come to an accurate diagnosis. It’s a vocational position that requires training in medical radiography and imaging testing. Experienced diagnostic technicians can walk away with a salary of close to $80,000. With military experience, this can be easily achieved with the right training program.
There are so many careers for veterans to choose from in the healthcare sector that they are almost spoilt for choice. Veterans enter the military to make a difference, and medical professionals are very much the same. Teamwork, communication, adaptability, and dedication are just a few of the attributes that veterans gain while in their service years. These skills and traits are very desirable in the medical industry because it necessitates that taking care of people is the ultimate goal. Doctors and nurses are team players that work together for the greater good, just like veterans. The experiences in the military help them to remain calm and strong individuals that make perfect candidates for work in the healthcare sector.