For many people, finding a career with the best work-life balance is important. Even if you love your job, no one wants to be at work 24/7. Having flexible schedules becomes even more important when a family is involved. Perhaps you’re considering quitting your job so that you have the chance to spend more time with your loved ones?
When medical careers are brought up, it’s common to think of long hours and strange shifts. While many positions do require interesting schedules, there are also dozens of health care jobs where you work shorter hours.
Wanting to be in the health care field doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time away from your family. You simply have to choose the right career path within the field itself. Many flexible careers pay well.
The health care industry is one of the fastest-growing industries for jobs. This is due to advancements in technology and an aging population. More workers are needed for various jobs than ever before. If you’ve ever been interested in a medical career, now is the time to start looking.
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What Medical Careers Have Flexible Schedules?
We will cover several different health care jobs that will offer flexibility and average shifts. They are great family-friendly careers for mothers or anyone who wants to be able to go home at the end of each day and spend quality time with the people they love. Here are some medical jobs that you can do at home.
We will always need doctors and emergency care workers who are willing to work all hours of the night. But, the healthcare field is so much more than that. Without these jobs, most medical facilities wouldn’t be able to function properly. You can make a huge difference in this industry while still having enough time at home with your family.
Let’s look at some of the most prominent careers to consider if you need flexibility, but still want to be able to make a difference in the medical world.
Medical assistants cover a variety of different tasks for physicians. They do both administrative and clinical work, depending on the needs of the facility they work for. If you want to be a medical assistant with a more flexible schedule, it’s a good idea to work in a smaller office or clinic. Busy hospitals still require medical assistants, but the schedule may be more demanding.
To become a medical assistant, you can either receive on-the-job training or certification from a post-secondary education facility. Because the actual training is so minimal and doesn’t require much time, it’s a good entry-level position. If you’ve ever wanted to get into the medical field quickly, this I a great opportunity for getting started. Whether you’re just out of college or post-retirement, becoming a medical assistant can be a good choice for all walks of life.
If you have a family and want to be home more, you have even more options and flexibility as a medical assistant than you may originally think. In fact, in some cases, you may be able to set your own hours. Medical assistants can choose to work as home health care providers. If you choose to go into people’s homes to provide your services, you can essentially choose your own hours. You can even work on an “on call” basis.
There is a shortage of registered nurses throughout the United States. This, again, is due to the ever-growing need for more medical professionals in the field. Because of this shortage, more nurses can have a flexible schedule, or even go off on their own to work in people’s homes or private facilities.
It does take a Bachelor’s degree to become a registered nurse. However, it is a degree that can be completed on your own time if you’re not in a hurry. In some programs, you may be able to get your license through an Associate’s degree, or a specific training/certification program. The educational path you choose will likely reflect your current schedule. Training to become a nurse when you already have a family at home isn’t impossible.
Many registered nurses who are looking for more flexibility have turned to the Internet. Whether you’ve been a nurse for years or are just starting out, offering your services online can be a great way to choose your own hours.
Because of changing technology, people are more willing to seek out medical advice online before going to a doctor. Unsolicited medical advice or information from forums can be risky. So, some nurses have turned their expertise toward answering medical questions from people on specific websites. They can provide general health information to patients based on their questions.
An Occupational Therapist has always been known as a full-time career. However, there are part-time opportunities that can allow for a more forgiving schedule. Occupational Therapists have the responsibility of treating patients with some physical or mental condition that interferes with the ability to perform everyday tasks.
For those looking for a part-time career in this particular field, jobs are usually available in:
- Nursing homes
- Home health services
This likely isn’t a job to start training for after you already have a family. It requires a Master’s Degree to become an OT. However, if you are currently on track to that degree or you’re already an OT, consider your part-time options if you’re looking for more freedom. It’s a job that can be just as rewarding without all the stress from long hours each day.
If you’ve always been skilled at typing and have a knack for detail, you might want to consider a job as a medical transcriptionist. This career requires you to type different audio files into databases. These audio recordings are usually done by physicians or specialists. They record information about a specific patient’s need, diagnosis, a consultation visit, etc.
A transcriptionist will take those audio files and turn them into documents that can be referred back to by that or other physicians later.
The flexibility of this job comes from the specific work environment a transcriptionist chooses. They can work in an administrative office specifically designed for this type of career. Most of the time, these offices offer regular hours, which allows you to be home with your family each evening. These offices are usually found in a hospital or private practice of some kind.
Again, because of advancements in technology, medical transcription has become a job that can often be done at home. Many transcriptionists have started their own jobs and can work remotely. This does require the proper training and experience, but it can allow for a lot of freedom in your workload.
Home Health Aide
If you want to work in healthcare without the stress of long, crazy hours in a hospital, you may want to consider a job as a home health aide. To become a home health aide, a high school diploma is typically required, along with some formal training/testing.
A home health aide’s actual job is to assist individuals who may have physical disabilities of some kind. This could be due to age, illness, or injury. They also help those who may struggle with cognitive issues. The job itself doesn’t always require constant medical attention toward a patient. Most of the time, you’ll be helping an individual with their daily tasks and ensuring their quality of life has a high standard.
Some home health aides do work full time. If you’d like more flexibility, you can choose to be a part-time aide. This would likely put you in a position to work nights, or when another aide needs a vacation, on an ‘on call’ basis. You can set your own hours in a lot of different environments with this particular position.
As the general population continues to get older, the need for health aides continues to grow. You can either put yourself out there as a remote worker and go into people’s homes. Or, you can work in an assisted living facility of some kind. There are endless opportunities to find solid, flexible work.
Physical Therapist Aide
A Physical Therapist aide or assistant help Physical Therapists provide therapeutic services to patients who need recovery options. They could be dealing with an injury from an accident, or another type of ailment that requires attention.
Unlike an actual Physical Therapist, an assistant only needs an Associate’s Degree to practice what they do. There are a handful of great opportunities for flexible work in this particular job field, depending on what type of schedule you’re looking for. Common places a PT assistant can work include:
- Nursing facilities
- Outpatient care centers
- Home health aide
Typical duties required of an assistant are to help patients work through different beneficial exercises. This includes everything from balance training and massage, to how to correct their gait. With little schooling required and the option for a fairly open schedule, this is a great career choice for anyone looking for more of a work-life balance.
Massage therapy tends to combine medical expertise with a business-savvy way of thinking. Most massage therapists work for themselves, even if they work in the same facility as other healthcare professionals. The duties of a massage therapist include:
- Helping patients recover from injuries
- Improving overall blood circulation
- Reducing stress
Becoming a massage therapist requires enrollment in a massage therapy education program. There is no official Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree required. However, many college institutions do offer training programs. In most cases, a high school diploma is needed to complete one of these training programs.
As a massage therapist, you can choose to become an entrepreneur on your own. This allows you to create your own schedule and opens up a lot of opportunities for flexibility. It is worth noting, however, that many massage therapists work on holidays, weekends, etc. You can choose the majority of your schedule, but if you don’t promote your services enough, you may not be as successful as you’d like.
A medical coding job is a popular choice for mothers, students, or anyone looking for both flexibility and stability in their line of work. As a coder, your job is to learn and utilize medical codes (specific numbers) to ensure a patient’s privacy. Each medical code is a sequence of numbers that represents a specific piece of information. These numbers are typically color-coded and go on the outside of a patient’s file, so the physician knows what they are dealing with right away.
There is more flexibility for coders in busy hospitals than in smaller, private practices. You can also choose to work for yourself, promoting yourself as a ‘freelance’ coder. However, this could be a difficult choice if you’re just getting started and lack the experience to get hired by hospitals or organizations.
Many medical coding jobs only require you to have a two-year degree, so the training itself doesn’t take long. If you’re interested in the medical field, don’t want to go through a lot of schooling, and want the opportunity to work from home, becoming a medical coder could be a great option.
Phlebotomy is one of the hottest careers in the medical field at the moment. The reasons for its popularity are the same for the healthcare boom in general: Technology is making blood draws more important. And, more people need their blood taken than ever before. There are so many perks to phlebotomy that individuals are flocking toward it as a career.
First, it’s a job that is in high demand by hospitals and clinics. Because quality phlebotomists are needed all over the country, it gives you more of an opportunity for a flexible schedule. If you’re extremely organized and like working with different types of people, it could be a great job for you.
Training to become a phlebotomist can take 8 months to 3 years, including certification. You can find work in a hospital, clinic, or even a private practice. This career, too, has recently opened up into the world of freelance. Many phlebotomists choose to work for themselves. They are ‘hired out’ by different companies or organizations on an as-needed basis. Some popular organizations or businesses that often need phlebotomists include:
- Blood drive organizations (American Red Cross)
- Nursing homes
A nutritionist guides individuals on what to eat and advises them on specific dietary needs that they may need to follow for health reasons. They are experts in the field of nutrition. Whether a patient has a health-related goal or needs to restrict certain foods, a nutritionist can help to create a specific plan for them.
Schooling to become a nutritionist can be fairly involved. It requires a Bachelor’s degree. Also, you must pass a competency exam, earn your credentials, and earn a license from your state of practice. In many cases, an internship or externship may also be required.
Once training is complete, however, the job itself can be very flexible. Most nutritionists work for themselves. They either have their own practice, join an existing practice, or work from home and see patients who call upon their services. They can also go to patients’ houses. It can be a very rewarding career for those with an interest in diet and nutrition and allows for a lot of freedom where you need it most.
Most dental practices or orthodontic practices are only open four-five days each week. That already limits your hours and allows for more time at home. If you want to be a part-time employee, you’ll be able to reduce your hours even more by only working two or three days a week. If you’re not necessarily looking for a full-time position, becoming a dental assistant could be a great option.
The responsibilities of a dental assistant include:
- Providing general patient care
- Taking X-rays
- Scheduling appointments
- Keeping records
Ultimately, it will be your responsibility to do whatever is required of you by the dentist in charge. This can change on a state-by-state basis, or even depending on the dental office you work for. Most dental assistant programs take between one and two years to complete, depending on the type of certification you’re looking for.
A nursing aide is just one example of a career that can be flexible in a busy, fast-paced hospital. Nursing aides help to do everything from taking a patient’s blood pressure to bringing them a meal. They are there to assist physicians and nurses on staff by making the patient’s life, and the lives of that patient’s family easier for the time being.
While it’s often considered to be a full-time job, this particular career (and many others in a busy hospital) can offer you flexibility based on the shifts you choose. If you want to be home during the day with your children, you could sign up for a night shift. If you’d rather be home in the evenings with your family, try working during the day, etc.
Many hospital jobs need someone there 24-hours a day. By choosing a chunk of that time that offers you some wiggle room, you can balance your life at home and your life at work much easier.
What Are the Benefits of a Flexible Healthcare Job?
Most benefits from any job with a flexible schedule are personal. You probably already know why flexibility is important to you. However, there are universal benefits to consider, too. If you’ve been wondering about the importance of adjusting your work-life balance, you should keep these benefits in mind.
- It makes you a better employee. Flexibility and the option to work from home is becoming more prominent than ever. While certain healthcare jobs will always require full-time status, more opportunities are opening up for a looser schedule. Knowing that your employer allows you to work from home tends to create a lot of loyalty. Think about it – how much more loyal would you be to a hospital or clinic that is willing to give you flexibility? You’d probably want to do a better job for them, and you’d feel better about your own situation.
- It makes you more productive. Whether you do work for a specific practice or you work for yourself, most people tend to feel less distracted in their own space. Plus, if you are a freelance worker, you know you need to be productive to make money. You can feel far more accomplished with flexible hours, and still, have time to be with your family.
- It improves your quality of life. One of the biggest benefits of a flexible job is that you have more time to do the things you want. This includes spending time with your family, friends, and simply having time for yourself. Finding a positive balance between your career and the rest of your life isn’t always easy with a full-time job. The careers listed here make it possible. Working at a job that allows for a flexible schedule can also help to lower your stress levels. As a result, it’s likely to improve your performance on the job as well.
Is a Career in Healthcare Right for Me?
It’s easy to make assumptions about the fast-paced, grueling schedule of many medical careers. While these ideas can be true for doctors, surgeons, etc., they don’t have to be the stereotype for many other medical jobs. In fact, there are dozens of jobs that offer ‘standard’ hours or part-time opportunities. Without these smaller jobs, a hospital or clinic couldn’t function properly.
Wanting to be home more to spend time with your family is understandable. If you’re working at a grueling pace, you’re not going to find much enjoyment from your job. This is especially true if all you’re thinking about is when you can go home.
Choosing a family-friendly career is becoming a more popular choice for people. If you’ve always been interested in healthcare, these careers aren’t off limits to you. Determine the kind of flexibility you’re looking for, and you can find a work-life balance that fits your needs in the medical field.