How to Get into Healthcare: A Complete Guide

More than at any point in recent history, healthcare workers are regarded as the heroes of our time. They gave their time and support to our loved ones during the pandemic, working monster shifts in order to provide the best care possible during an unprecedented crisis. Even now that the pandemic is receding, it’s still clear that the world is in a huge amount of debt to healthcare workers, who are now highly respected parts of a global society. In this article, we’ll look at how you can join their number, using your knowledge and your studies to find different entryways into this exciting industry.


A career in healthcare involves a good deal of learning. That’s the case if you’re a doctor, if you’re a nurse, or if you’re a healthcare data administrator working in the back office to help hospitals deal with their patients. All of these careers require you to study in order to become a professional who is able to work responsibly with vulnerable people. But where should you start your learning journey, and how should you approach healthcare studies?

The simple answer is that you should first decide on the role you’d like in healthcare. You won’t need to go through a laborious, multi-year course in healthcare studies if you’re simply looking for any role in a hospital, as there are some that are offered to those without qualifications. Let’s quickly look at the different roles in a hospital or healthcare center to see which might suit you the best.

Finding a Role

On the sliding scale of roles in hospitals, there are doctors and nurses who must be qualified in order to practice at any healthcare institution, and then there are the porters, the orderlies, the cooks, and the cleaners who can work in the same institutions without formal training. These are the main careers you’ll associate with the hospital floor, but they’re far from the only jobs in healthcare. Here’s a more complete list, with some ideas on what each of them might entail for you.

  • Doctor or surgeon: you’ll need to take a multiple-year course in order to eventually qualify as a medic. These courses are grueling at times, with so much to learn about the human body, disease, and medicine. At the end of them, you’ll be qualified to work in any hospital around the world.
  • Nurse: a nurse also requires training. Here, you’ll need to take an undergraduate course or go straight to nursing school in order to brush up on your skills and learn how to care for patients.
  • Administrator: in a hospital and behind the scenes across the whole healthcare system are administrators. They’re hugely important for the functioning of any healthcare system, and they’re there to make sure everyone’s well cared for. You’ll also need to have completed a course for this job.
  • Orderly: these are the individuals who do much of the heavy lifting in a hospital, making sure patients are at the appropriate clinic or department and getting medicines and drugs from A to B. They’re important people for hospitals and often require little training to get going.
  • Support staff: there are dozens of other support staff that make hospitals run. All hospitals need receptionists and security guides, cleaners, and chefs, in order to function perfectly. If you have one of these skills and are passionate about healthcare, you can work in a hospital too.

Now that you’ve taken a look over some of the roles that you might be able to assume within a hospital or healthcare center, it’s time to make your decision about which will suit you the best. You’ll likely make your decision based on the time you have to study, the cost of those studies, and what your career aspirations are. Once you’ve made that decision, it’ll be time to prepare yourself to be eligible for whatever positions you’ve chosen.


Healthcare isn’t the kind of field in which it’s greatly important to network. If you’re qualified, you’ll usually find that healthcare institutions are keen to hire you and that you will never struggle to find a job. On the other hand, there are reasons to get in touch with certain healthcare professionals online in the first weeks and months of your decision to enter the industry. For one, there are hundreds of people just like you who recently qualified and began working in healthcare. They’d be excellent people to ask about how that process was, and for any advice, they might give you.

Equally, there are probably a handful of healthcare professionals in your own network. Perhaps a friend’s father is a doctor, or your university friend recently leveraged their data skills to work in the back office of hospitals as an administrator. These are people it’s well worth reaching out to again for advice and support in the first grueling months when you’re putting together the skills and experience you need to get into healthcare.


When you search job sites for the kinds of positions you are interested in, you’ll often see that there are eligibility criteria that you haven’t yet fulfilled. Sometimes it’ll be a simple case of your experience being too threadbare, leaving you needing to find an entry-level job to pick up that experience. But more often than not, you’ll be required to have certain qualifications, without which you will not even be considered for the role you’d like to apply for. While some of these might be in the use of a certain software or a certain aspect of healthcare provision, they’re usually the most fundamental qualifications of all: doctor’s, nurse’s, and administrator’s training.

You’ll be able to study to pick up any of these at the most eminent universities across the globe. You can also choose to study online, which is a huge boon for those who are a little older than their classmates and have a home, children, or a full-time job to attend to besides their studies. Getting qualifications in your chosen field isn’t easy as it’ll require you to work hard to learn new things. But the online teaching ecosystem has made it easier. Take the Executive Master of Health Administration online as an example – it’s a course that you can take from the comfort of your own living room to one day qualify to crunch the numbers that keep hospitals running.


When you’re considered for a role in healthcare, you’ll often be examined for the experience that you’re bringing to bear. If you’ve not had any relevant experience for the job that you’re applying for, you might find that you’re not considered a suitable candidate and that someone with more experience is preferred over you. As such, even before you’ve had the chance to get some studies under your belt, it’s important for you to find a job that is adjacent to healthcare. For instance, if you can find a job in care homes, that’s something that’ll impress future employers in the healthcare space.

This is clearly not something that everyone is free to do. If you’ve chosen to change careers from your current one, you’ll likely still be working in a full-time job that provides your income and supports your family. You won’t want to jump out of that into a new job unless you can maintain your financial security. Still, if it’s possible, changing to a healthcare-adjacent career can be your first exciting taste of the new career that you’ve chosen for yourself.

Books and Podcasts

Your passion for healthcare need not find any bounds. Studying alone may not be enough to satiate your love for the field, which is, after all, incredibly diverse and interesting. That’s where books and podcasts come in, which at the least are highly intriguing or entertaining, and at best, they might even help you in your career. You can purchase healthcare books in stores or online or download them as PDFs for your computer. There’s also a growing space for healthcare podcasts on most major podcast platforms, where you can listen to doctors discussing interesting cases or nurses talking about the most lovely people they ever met on the ward.

These are great ways to build up your passion and knowledge in the healthcare space. You’ll be able to read on your commute or listen to podcasts while you’re out for a run, which means that you’ll be killing two birds with one stone when you’re onboarding this information. Plus, you might just discover something about healthcare that completely changes your career direction, interesting you so much that you’re keen to follow that path.

Making an Impression

When you find a job in healthcare that you’re eligible for, you should apply with all your might. Make sure your resume is sparkling and that your cover letter explains all you think you have to offer the institution that you’re applying for. This isn’t a time to hold back: show off your skills and prepare yourself for an interview in which you’ll attempt to dazzle your potential future employer. Most qualified healthcare professionals are hired to open vacancies, seeing at the industry at large is in short supply of professionals at present. Still, this stage of your career is all about making a positive first impression that’ll set the tone for your future career.

When it comes to first impressions on the job, what should you bear in mind? Well, there are some obvious and important points of professionalism, such as arriving on time, being punctual to meetings, looking clean and presentable, and being kind and professional to all the people you meet. Then there are more proactive things that you can do, such as offering extra care to colleagues and patients alike, staying on an extra half-hour after a shift ends to make sure everything’s going to run smoothly, and looking to take work off the plates of stressed colleagues. All of this can endear you to your team and make you a popular new hire at the institution you’re now working at.

Career Progression 

Most healthcare professionals are thrilled to finally make it into the sector. But thoughts soon refocus on where they want to go within their career. Will you, for instance, seek to achieve pay raises and promotions, or would you prefer to move slowly towards the most interesting jobs in yours? Are you motivated by money and status, in other words, or in the quality of the work you’re doing? These two motivations needn’t be in conflict and often go hand in hand. Just make sure that you’re ready to define your career ambitions so that you know where you might want to be in five years’ time.

Once you know where you want to get in your career, you’ll be able to start setting smaller goals to help you get there. That might mean taking on more work in your target areas, looking intermittently at other opportunities in the field, or talking to managers and seniors in order to alert them to your ambitions and what will make your job more satisfying to you. Be aware that there’s little that you can do to push your career faster than your seniors will allow, so don’t let your ambition become a problem. Use it to guide you and to give you a sense of meaning and direction in your career.


The final point in this complete guide is to enjoy that sense of satisfaction you get when you’ve worked incredibly hard to achieve something. If you set your sights on becoming a healthcare professional many years ago, sitting back and taking in your success story to date is an important tip for your mental health. You should celebrate these moments rather than instantly looking to the next challenge. In a busy and diverse career, you may have few opportunities to take a breather and to feel proud of all you’ve achieved. So once you’re in your first healthcare job, do take a moment or two to relish the journey you’ve taken to get to this point.

Careers in healthcare are as challenging as they are rewarding, and getting a foot in the door is often the hardest stage of these careers. That’s why this guide maps out how you can do it today or in the future.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.