Which Healthcare Career Is Right for You?

The healthcare landscape relies on a diverse range of professionals to help it run successfully. Of all the opportunities, how do you know which healthcare career is right for you? If you find yourself asking, “Would I make a good nurse practitioner?” or “Is a health administration job a good fit for me?” then this guide is for you

Whether you hope to specialize in caring for elderly patients or you want to cultivate your knowledge in the public health field, there are excellent healthcare career options to match your interests.

We aim to help guide individuals at any point in their educational journey. If you are considering a nursing, healthcare, or business degree, WCU invites you to learn more about your next steps.

Discover a path that allows you to build on your strengths and pursue your professional goals.

Healthcare Careers

Are you confident that you want to pursue a career in healthcare but feel uncertain about your niche? This brief overview offers insight into the right path for you. Healthcare is a broad field that encompasses everything from public health to healthcare administration and informatics.

Learn more about various healthcare careers in the table below. The following is not a comprehensive list.

Profession Required education Work type Take core courses like…
Dental hygienist 3-4 years Patient care
  • Oral Pathology
  • Dental Radiology
    Science w/Lab
  • Pain Management w/Lab
  • Biochemistry & Nutrition
Physician assistant 6-7 years Patient care
  • Applied Anatomy &
    Physiology w/Lab
  • Holistic Medicine &
    Patient Care
  • Professionalism in
  • Emergency Medicine
    Supervised Clinical
Healthcare administrator 3-7 years Administrative/support
  • Risk Management in
  • Healthcare Policy and
  • Legal and Ethical Issues
    in Healthcare
Clinical mental health counselor 2-3 years Counseling
  • Counseling Theories and
  • Crisis/Trauma Response
    and Intervention
  • Couples, Marriage, and
    Family Counseling
  • Psychopathology
Public health professional 3+ years Varies
  • Research Methods in
  • Social Determinants of
  • Principles of
Speech-language pathologist ~2 years Patient care
  • Language Disorders in
    Children w/Lab
  • Dysphagia in Adults
  • Neurogenic Speech
    Disorders w/Lab
  • Aural Rehabilitation
Occupational therapist 2+ years Patient care
  • Human Movement in
  • Technology in OT
  • Neurogenic Speech
    Disorders w/Lab
  • Occupational
    Performance: Older Adult Population
  • Occupational
    Performance: Child and
    Adolescent Population
Physical therapist 3-4 years Patient care
  • Human Anatomy
  • Musculoskeletal Physical
  • Therapeutic Exercise
    and Physical Agents
  • Prosthetics and
Pharmacist 7-8 years Retail/lab
  • Biosystems
    Principles of Drug Action
  • Pharmacogenomics &
  • Pharmacy Law & Ethics

Nursing Specialties

Nursing is far from a monolithic career path. With a number of possible specializations, find out which nursing specialty may be right for you. From overseeing nursing units as a nurse leader to providing care and treatment to families as an FNP, you can pursue a nursing specialty that puts you on the right track.

Learn more about various nursing specialties in the table below. The following is not a comprehensive list.

Specialty Required education Min. degree level Work type
Family Nurse  Practitioner (FNP) 3-5 years MSN Patient care
Psychiatric-Mental Health
Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
4-6 years MSN Patient care
Nurse Educator 3-5 years MSN Teaching
Nurse Leader 3-5 years MSN Leadership
Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) 4-6  years MSN Patient care
Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) 4-6  years MSN Patient care
Critical Care Nurse  3-5 years MSN Patient care
Oncology Nurse 3-5 years ADN/BSN Patient care
Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Nurse 4-6 years ADN/BSN Patient care
Hematology Nurse 3-6 years BSN Patient care
Gastroenterology (GI) Nurse 3-6 years ADN/BSN Patient care

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment.