If a passion for helping others and a focus on encouraging and promoting healthy behaviors sounds like you – look no further than a career in Healthcare!

The Healthcare industry is one of the largest employing industries in the US and  covers several subsectors, including:

  • Public and private hospitals
  • Aged-care facilities
  • Community health centers
  • Ante-natal and maternity health clinics
  • Rehabilitation and physiotherapy
  • Health insurance
  • Allied Health

Careers in the sector range from being highly specialized such as Anaesthetists, Optometrists, and Physiotherapists to skilled such as Clinical Nurses and Psychologists, to entry-level such as Personal Care Workers, Aged Care Workers, and Administrators.

You’ll often work as part of a multidisciplinary team with other healthcare professionals, such as doctors, therapists, and social workers, and will also liaise closely with patients’ families and/or carers.

Working in healthcare and social assistance can be physically and emotionally demanding. You’ll often be frontline helping people at their most vulnerable, but seeing that the care you have provided has improved health, recovery, or reduced suffering can be incredibly satisfying.

The field is vast, with career pathways available in different areas, including:

  • Air ambulance services
  • Community and school health
  • Emergency helplines
  • Occupational health
  • Prisons
  • Research, teaching, and education
  • Residential nursing homes
  • The armed forces

Entry into the sector is as varied as the roles available, so no matter what academic pathway you choose to pursue, there’ll be an opportunity to get started with a career in healthcare and social assistance!

What You Could Do

Job roles in this industry tend to fall under one of four broader categories:

  1. Highly Specialised
  2. Professional
  3. Skilled
  4. Entry-Level


Here’s a look at a few of the types of roles that fit into each of those categories:

  1. Highly Specialised


  • Allied Health Specialists: These healthcare professionals focus on one core area of human biology and health. Roles include Audiologists, Optometrists, Speech Pathologists, and Dentists.


2. Professional


  • Paramedics: Paramedics provide on-scene medical attention in emergencies, transporting patients to the hospital. The qualifications and experience needed to become a paramedic depend on the employer and location, and individual states have their requirements.
  • Psychologists: Psychologists support people across a wide range of emotional and mental health needs. They work in medical settings, community settings, schools, and universities. Psychologists typically specialize in one area of psychological health, such as helping children and young people or helping adults overcome addiction.

3.  Skilled


  • Clinical Administrator: Clinical Administrators provide professional support to medical staff, ensuring that all medical standards are complied with.
  • Clinical Nurse: Clinical Nurses demonstrate advanced clinical skills in their specialty healthcare area. They have a high level of knowledge in planning patient care across a range of medical settings.

4. Entry Level


  • Aged Care Worker: Aged Care Workers support elderly people by assisting with daily activities and personal tasks. This includes providing support with eating, showering, dressing, tidying, and cleaning. Aged Care Workers can work from their client’s home or residential care facility.

These job roles are only just scratching the surface.

Each industry segment will also include administrative or managerial functions that support the sector in significant ways.

Graduate Employment and Gender Split

Although a degree is not always essential for every career pathway into healthcare and social assistance, it’s worth knowing what graduate employment looks like to help set your expectations and make further decisions.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers tracks graduate employment across different industry sectors.

Here’s a look at some degrees that could be a great starting point for this industry:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs Graduates in full-time employment: 57.9%
  • Health Professions and Related Programs Graduates in employment: overall: 88.3%
  • Social Sciences Graduates in full-time employment: 49.5%
  • Social Sciences Graduates in employment: overall: 82.4%

Keep in mind that this doesn’t account for graduates working part-time and/or who may have continued to higher studies; these are very promising percentages!

Gender Split

The gender split across the industry depends on the sector you work within, but more females are predominantly working in this industry.

Reports indicate that the average split is:

  • Males: 23%
  • Females: 77%

This is not so much the case in senior leadership roles across the industry, where reports cite the split as:

  • Males: 81%
  • Females: 19%

Average Salary

Current surveys in the sector indicate the median salaries for full-time healthcare roles as:

  • Allied Health Professional Roles: $55,700-$88,000
  • Registered Nurse Roles: $68,000-$71,700
  • Senior Nurse Roles: $81,500-$91,000
  • Clinical Psychologist Roles: $85,300-$99,000
  • Social Worker Roles: $57,900-$68,300
  • Healthcare Administrator Roles: $59,000-$63,900

Salaries can be pretty varied and determined by several factors, including:

  • The segment of the industry you work within.
  • Your job title and seniority.
  • The amount of experience you have.

Your location, for example, companies in large cities tend to pay more than those in rural areas.

Industry Growth

The healthcare and social assistance industry is the US’s largest employer. Recent healthcare statistics show that it’s one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. Incidentally, the US spends considerably more than the world’s average on healthcare.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 15% from 2019 to 2029 – faster than the average for other occupations.

It’s anticipated that this growth will add about 2.4 million new jobs within the industry. This projected growth is accounted to an aging population which is expected to lead to a greater demand for various healthcare services – especially in the aged care sector.

Other critical growth areas are mental health services, complementary health therapies (such as nutritionists), and nursing support.

Qualifications and Entry Pathways

Entry pathways are varied and will depend heavily on the type of roles you want to get into.

For example, highly specialized and professional roles will typically require at least a bachelor’s degree, along with some postgraduate qualifications plus experience.

You can start your career in healthcare through:

  • Pursuing a degree: To start a degree in nursing, social work, psychology, or another professional healthcare subject. Programs can be very competitive, so make sure you check university websites for their requirements and apply to several options to give yourself the best opportunity.
  • Scoring an apprenticeship: You can start an apprenticeship or traineeship in some healthcare, aged care, or some forms of social work and work to gain industry-specific qualifications alongside your certificate of education and work experience.
  • Work experience once you leave school: If you leave school at 18, you can apply for work experience and school-leaver programs in administrative or entry-level positions and work your way up over time. Many of these organizations will also support you to gain further professional qualifications.

Healthcare workers need to be registered with the relevant associations and boards within their state – again, this will heavily depend on the type of role you go into.

Whatever your circumstances, grades, or preferred way forward – there’s a qualification pathway that will work for you.

Best Places to Study

Where you choose to study will be dependent on a range of factors, but some top institutions into study healthcare and social sciences include:

  • New York University
  • Duke University
  • Columbia University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Washington
  • University of Pennsylvania


Where to Learn More

You can learn more about different healthcare and social assistance industry pathways through professional bodies and organizations advocating for careers in the sector.

Some good places to start include:

And many more!

Each state will also have several professional organizations to help you learn more about the industry, network, and develop your career.