Healthcare Careers Overview
Those in healthcare careers help diagnose and treat illness and injury. Registered nurses, for example, provide and arrange care for patients with different medical conditions and offer support and counsel to patients and their loved ones. Similarly, doctors examine patients and collect their medical histories to diagnose the problem and recommend treatment. Some healthcare positions, such as radiologic technologists and nuclear medicine technologists, focus more on the operation of diagnostic machinery than patient interaction. Employees in healthcare jobs typically work in hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, nursing homes and home healthcare services.
Healthcare Career Education
The education requirements for healthcare careers vary considerably by position, but almost all healthcare jobs require post-secondary education of some kind as well as licensure and/or certification. On the lower end of the educational spectrum, candidates for healthcare jobs like nuclear medicine techs and ultrasound techs must complete one to two years of post secondary education in an accredited training program. Radiation technology techs will also need to pass an exam before they can receive certification.
To become a registered nurse, most provinces require a baccalaureate nursing degree. Nurses then apply to the College of Nurses in their province to take the registration exam. For physicians, Canadian medical schools typically require at least three years of undergraduate study, including certain science courses, at university. Some schools require applicants to write the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) as well. Doctors complete examinations in their final year of study before going into residency training.
Healthcare Career Job Market
Employment growth in the healthcare sector remains faster than average due to Canada's aging population that requires more and more medical care. Additionally, healthcare workers themselves are aging and retiring, creating a strong demand for qualified young job seekers. According to the Canadian Business magazine, the healthcare occupations with the highest job growth rates are dietitians and nutritionists, pharmacists and psychologists. The medical positions that have seen the largest wage growth in the last five years are psychologists, head nurses and medical supervisors, occupational therapists and registered nurses.
Healthcare Career Salaries
The salaries healthcare employees make will depend on their education and experience, geography (those in metropolitan areas tend to make more than those in rural areas), and the type of employer (e.g., large hospital, academia, private practice). Here are the median salaries for some common healthcare careers:
- Registered nurse: C$72,800
- Psychologist: C$77,875
- Health care manager: C$87,360
- Physician (general care): C$248,113 (net income after overhead costs)
- Ophthalmologist: C$418,000 (net)
- Pharmacist: C$95,680