Overview of Healthcare and Medical
Healthcare and medical is a tough but diverse and rewarding industry if you love helping people live healthy lives. Healthcare and medical jobs include doctor, nurse, optometrist, physiotherapist, dentist and much more.
A university degree is needed for most careers in healthcare, except for some jobs in healthcare administration, aged care, counselling and disabled care, which only require a Certificate or Diploma.
Studying Healthcare and Medical
There are many study options in the healthcare and medical industry.
To become a doctor (eg general practitioner, specialist, surgeon), you will need to finish Year 12 with very high marks, sit the Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admissions Test (UMAT) and attend a university interview.
Medical courses usually take five to six years, although some universities require an approved undergraduate degree before letting you start the four-year postgraduate medical course.
There are two ways to become a nurse. You can take a Bachelor of Nursing at university and become a Registered Nurse (Division 1 nurse in Victoria), or go through TAFE and become an Enrolled Nurse (Division 2 in Victoria). Enrolled Nurses must work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse.
There are also undergraduate and postgraduate pathways for dietitians and physiotherapists. The Dietitians Association of Australia is the body that approves nutrition and dietetics courses, and physiotherapists need to register with the Physiotherapists Registration Board of their state.
Chiropractors need to spend five years at university, studying one of the three courses accredited by Chiropractic Australia.
If you want to work in pharmaceuticals, you should do a pharmacy degree, which usually takes six years, followed by an internship with a licensed pharmacist.
To become an optometrist or dentist, you need to complete an optometry or dentistry course at university, then register with your respective state board.
People who want to be medical receptionists can study a Business Administration (Medical) certificate, which takes about a year to complete.
Careers in Healthcare and Medical
There are many specialisations medical students can choose, including, general practitioner (GP), anaesthetist, paediatrician, gynaecologist, pathologist, neurologist and cardiologist.
There is a shortage of doctors and nurses in rural and regional areas, and the government has announced $632 million to fund more rural training spots until 2020.
A pharmaceutical degree can lead to careers as community, consultant, hospital or industrial pharmacists.
Employment in healthcare and medical is expected to grow strongly to 2015, according to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).
DEEWR figures show that pharmacists, physiotherapists, nurses, dietitians and optometrists earn more than $1,000 a week, while dentists, GPs and other medical specialists like dermatologists and gynaecologists earn about $2,000 a week.
At the top end of the scale are internal medical specialists (eg cardiologists, oncologists, endocrinologists), who average $2750 a week.
Skills needed in Healthcare and Medical
People working in healthcare need to have good interpersonal skills, empathy, and high levels of motivation, discipline and conscientiousness.
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