6 Non-clinical health care jobs you should consider
If you’re curious about opportunities to work in health care, you might be surprised to know that there are plenty of options that don’t involve clinical duties. Some providers even find themselves looking for a change from day-to-day patient care. In fact, a recent survey of physicians reported that 12 percent planned on switching to non-clinical health care jobs.
These roles are every bit as important as those that involve providing medical diagnoses and treatment. Whether you’re interested in giving doctors the time and tools they need to provide better care, advocating for patients in medical malpractice suits, or serving in another supportive role, you can make a difference in the health care field. Many non-clinical roles have the added benefit of allowing for a schedule that fits the needs of both you and your family.
While you may feel a bit intimidated by the prospect of breaking into a new industry, it doesn’t have to be difficult. The first step in moving into non-clinical work is learning about what positions are available. Lucky for you, there are numerous options.
Exploring non-clinical health care jobs that allow you to make an impact
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of careers. But it should give you an idea of what health care roles are available for those who don’t work directly with patients.
1. Medical and health services manager
These professionals manage the business behind health care. They have three primary duties:
- Supporting clinical staff
- Keeping track of laws and regulations
- Ensuring the hospital or department they oversee remains financially stable
Medical and health services managers are also responsible for hiring and training staff members. This role serves as a direct bridge to front-line workers, so it’s often a great fit for those who wish to make health care more efficient and reliable.
Many medical and health services managers have at least a bachelor’s degree, along with some experience working with patients. But employers often prefer higher educational attainment. Obtaining a master’s degree like an MBA in Health Administration can be particularly beneficial as it focuses on developing the leadership skills it takes to effectively run a health care facility.
These professionals are well-compensated for the important work they do. The median annual salary for medical and health services managers was $99,730 in 2018. On top of that, employment of these health care administrators is expected to grow 18 percent through 2028.
2. Medical records and health information technician
Every medical history, test, diagnosis and prescription is recorded. Medical records and health information technicians work with that data in the following ways:
- Keeping track of patient information to help ensure quality care
- Maintaining confidentiality of patients’ records
- Making sure everything is billed properly
Some medical records and health information technicians may specialize in medical coding, working to translate physician notes into codes that are then communicated to insurance companies.
Most positions in this field require a postsecondary certificate or associate degree in health information. In addition to learning about coding systems, you’ll need to gain a basic understanding of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, health care reimbursement and computer systems. While certification is not required, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have obtained the Registered Health Information Technician credential.
Medical records and health information technicians earned a median annual salary of $40,350 in 2018. That said it’s possible to increase your earning potential over time if you advance to a role in medical or health services management with further education.
3. Health educator or community health worker
If you’re eager to use what you know about medicine and wellness in a non-clinical way, becoming a health educator or community health worker could be for you. In addition to helping people learn to cope with health-related difficulties through lifestyle changes, many professionals in this field also focus on stopping chronic trends before they begin.
Health educators and community health workers do this in the following ways:
- Educating people about developing and maintaining healthy habits
- Working with individuals to help them manage long-term conditions
- Collecting and analyzing data to determine how to best improve programs and services
While community health workers are typically able to find positions with just a high school diploma, you’ll likely need at least a bachelor’s degree to become a health educator. Even professionals with more advanced medical degrees may find community health to be a welcome change of pace from the hustle and bustle of a hospital.
Your earning potential will vary depending on which of these roles you’re considering. The median annual wage for community health workers was $39,540 in 2018. Health educators, on the other hand, earned a median annual salary of $54,220.
4. Information security analyst
Health care and technology have both been going through rapid changes. With telemedicine on the rise and more health-related processes becoming automated, many have been fooled into thinking this means that jobs are being eliminated. With the introduction of tools like electronic medical records (EMRs), however, the need for professionals who can combat the increasing number of cyberattacks is only expanding. This is where information security analysts come in.
Information security analysts are tasked with taking proactive measures to protect servers and networks, which is especially crucial when sensitive patient information is at risk. They do this in the following ways:
- Installing and maintaining firewalls
- Outlining security best practices for staff
- Responding in the event of a breach
Most information security analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. If you’ve already earned your undergraduate education, though, you could consider pursuing an MBA with an emphasis on information systems. In addition, there are numerous IT certification programs available in this field.
It probably comes as no surprise that information security analysts are well compensated for serving such an important role. In 2018, the median annual salary for information security analysts was $98,350. And the jobs are abundant, projected to grow by 32 percent by 2028 – that’s more than six times the average for all occupations nationwide.
5. Human resources manager
Being an HR manager in health care involves many of the same duties as in any industry. These professionals are often tasked with the following:
- Recruiting, interviewing and hiring new staff
- Overseeing employee benefit programs
- Handling disputes and disciplinary procedures
But being an HR manager in health care is different in a few ways. By ensuring doctors, nurses and other medical staff have the tools they need to thrive, you can help clinical workers provide better care. You may even be able to play an active role in decreasing burnout rates during a global shortage of health care candidates.
You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and possibly a master’s degree to pursue this role. As for compensation, the median annual salary for human resources managers was $113,300 in 2018. Bear in mind that HR certifications are also desirable and can increase your earning potential.
6. Nurse paralegal
Also known as nurse consultants, these professionals assist in legal matters related to health care. They are most commonly known for weighing in on malpractice cases, but they also work for insurance companies, hospitals and government agencies to ensure all aspects of nursing practice are being implemented according to the law.
Working under the supervision of an attorney, nurse paralegals are often responsible for the following:
- Conducting legal research
- Speaking with patients and providers
- Preparing official statements about the proceedings of a case
The most common route to this career involves becoming a registered nurse (RN), and then pursuing a paralegal certificate. It’s also common for nurse paralegals to have an associate or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. Regardless of the path you choose, it’s a good idea to find a program that’s approved by the American Bar Association.
The median annual salary for paralegals was $50,940 in 2018. The increasing need for health care services will likely translate to job security for these professionals in the coming years as well.
Find your fit in health care
Professionals from all different backgrounds transition to non-clinical work for numerous reasons. Some are providers who want a more traditional schedule. Others are looking to use their business background to improve facility management. Whatever your motivation, there’s likely a non-clinical health care job that fits your needs.
Like with any career change, there are a few things you should think about when weighing different roles. You’ll want to think through everything from your expected salary to your family obligations. To uncover more useful information that can help you move forward in your professional life, check out our article, “How to make a career change that keeps you moving forward.”
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