Career Change

What are Good Medical Careers for Older Adults?

The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing parts of the U.S. job market. With no signs of slowing down, new openings continue to become available all the time. What may surprise you is that so many healthcare jobs don’t require a medical degree. Your life experience is valued highly, so some of the best jobs in the industry are perfect for older adults.

Whether you’ve previously had a career in medicine, or you’ve always been interested in entering the industry, there’s never a wrong time to consider this career path. If you’re 40+, 50+, or beyond, some jobs will fulfill your career ambitions, while being flexible enough to take into account your family commitments. Many hospital jobs don’t require a medical degree.

Don’t let age deter you from moving forward with your career plans. In this article, we’ll discuss why medical careers can be right for older adults. We’ll then look at some of the best careers in medicine and allied health, so you know what to expect in the future.

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What are the Benefits of Working in Healthcare?

As we get older and gain experience, it’s normal to look for jobs that take up less of our time and aren’t as physically demanding. We also begin to think about positions that offer security in the future. The sort of jobs that aren’t going to be replaced by robots overnight.

Because people are living for longer, the population is retiring later in life. It’s common for older adults to work beyond the retirement age, even if it’s only part-time. Finding a job in healthcare can be the ideal way to earn a good income, enjoy numerous perks, interact with others, and make a difference in the lives of others.

Some of the benefits of this career path include the following:

  • Flexibility – Part-time work means that you can quickly get someone to ‘cover’ for you when you need time off.
  • Physical Expectations – While many healthcare careers are very stressful, that doesn’t apply to all positions. There’s no shortage of desk-based opportunities and behind-the-scenes hospital jobs that don’t require you to be on your feet all day.
  • Salary – It may be hard to find a job when over 50 that will offer such competitive pay and overtime opportunities.
  • Personal Rewards – Not only are you giving back to the patients via the work you do, but you’ll find the job itself interesting and gives something back to you.

People over 40 have many years of experience and ‘world knowledge’ that can’t be taught in a training center or school. Your wisdom and real-life experiences are highly beneficial to employers and patients alike.

9 Highly Recommended Medical Jobs for Older Adults

So, what are some of the best medical careers you can choose from, even if you’re older?

1) Home Health Care Aide

It can be quite rewarding to go to a patient’s home and develop a personal connection while caring for their health needs. Typically, these individuals are much older, or in need of constant care, and even companionship.

In some cases, being a home health aide requires no formal training. But, there are certification options to consider that do need some education. Certification may be required if you ever plan on working for an organization, such as hospice, etc., or if you plan on working directly with patients in a hospital.

The duties of a home health care worker include the following:

  • Basic daily patient care
  • Temperature, pulse, and blood pressure readings
  • Medication assistance
  • Cleaning

It’s vital that health aides that work in people’s homes to have a sense of compassion, kindness, and understanding. Many times, the patients you’ll work with need assistance in performing all daily tasks. The role of the job isn’t only to go through the motions of getting things done but to make your patient feel comfortable. You may be the only person that they get to talk to each day.

Aside from being a rewarding experience, the median salary for a home health care aide is about $21,920. One of the primary benefits is that there’s always work, even during recessions.

2) Medical Biller

If you’re good with computers, numbers, and have excellent attention to detail, medical billing could be the perfect job for you. It’s not as physically demanding and allows you to work in a quieter environment. That means that it’s a good career for introverts.

Medical coders have the task of converting medical terms into specific numbers and codes. These codes are used by insurance companies to identify what can be reimbursed and billed to patients.

best jobs for older workers

Training to become a medical biller can take up to a year, but you can often do it at your own pace via an online course. It’s required that you pass an accredited coding program, and most employers will need some certification through a nationally-recognized institution, like the American Academy of Professional Coders.

There are many employment opportunities for coders at hospitals, billing companies, and clinics. Salaries vary depending on where you work, but the average pay for a medical biller is $40,000. For a job that allows you to work in healthcare without getting your hands dirty, it’s a career that can provide fulfillment and a high salary for many years, regardless of your age.

3) Optical Assistant

If you never thought you could become an optician’s assistant after the age of 50, think again. You’ll have the duty of fitting individuals for eyeglasses, and adjusting existing glasses to make sure they’re the perfect fit for the client.

While this may seem like a ‘fashion over function’ position, it requires you to understand prescriptions written by the patient’s optometrist so that you can order the correct lenses. Most work privately, assisting patients before and after they’ve had an eye examination.

Not all states require an official license for this position, which means you can either gain experience through an apprenticeship or training courses at a local community college or training facility. However, obtaining certification (even if your state doesn’t require it) can enable you to stand out from other applicants.

Aside from the personal rewards, the average salary is over $43,000.

4) Medical Transcriptionist

A transcriptionist creates detailed reports and performs essential administrative work, producing documents that come from the dictated recordings of physicians. Medical transcriptionists also check work for grammatical and spelling errors.

Typical training and education consists of a high school diploma, plus passing a certified medical transcriptionist program. These programs can take anywhere from six months to a year to finish.

Throughout your training, you’ll learn the following:

  • Medical terminology
  • Pathology
  • Anatomy
  • Computer application
  • Basic English grammatical skills

Medical transcriptionists can work in hospitals, private practices, and public healthcare agencies. The median yearly salary for a medical transcriptionist is $34,750.

5) Telemetry Technician

If working directly with patients in hospitals and clinics is something you’d like to do, you may want to look into becoming a telemetry technician. This job requires you to do different cardiac tests on your patients.

These tests include things like EKGs and electrocardiograms. A telemetry tech does everything from preparing the patient for the exam to monitoring specific cardiac activity through different tools and resources.

Starting a career in the healthcare industry

Many telemetry technicians receive on-the-job training. However, you’ll have a better chance of getting hired at a credible facility if you look into training options yourself.

You can become a certified telemetry technician through about 120 hours of coursework. Certification must be approved through a nationally-recognized program, like the American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals.

You should have an even temperament, and a willingness to work with different types of people. It’s a job that may require you to be on your feet each day for more extended periods of time than many other positions, so do bear that in mind.

Depending on where you work, a telemetry tech can make anywhere from $22,366 to $41,360 each year.

6) Medical Interpreter

If you speak multiple languages, you could have a hugely successful career as a medical interpreter, no matter your age.

Employment growth has continued to rise for language interpreters (linguists) in many industries, but there is no greater need than in healthcare. As the country continues to diversify and the population grows, qualified language translators are needed all the time.

The need for interpreters is highest for the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • German
  • Arabic
  • Russian

An interpreter’s job is to provide a means of communication between patients and medical staff. If you decide to work in a hospital or another medical facility, this is often done face-to-face.

However, some medical interpreters work via phone or video conferencing. It’s vital to translate calmly while showing an understanding of the different cultural, medical practices.

There is no formal training required to become a medical interpreter, other than being fluent in different languages. However, most healthcare facilities are looking for certified interpreters.

You can obtain official certification through a program. Many community colleges and universities throughout the United States offer programs that don’t take long to complete and are inexpensive.

As a medical interpreter, you can expect to make an average of $42,000 each year. Some of the top earning interpreters can make more than $78,000 each year. Salary is dependent on your experience, the languages you can speak, and your place of employment.

7) Medical Receptionist

Becoming a medical receptionist doesn’t necessarily require a vast knowledge of medical terminology or industry familiarity. Most employers are willing to train on-the-job.

A medical receptionist has the responsibility of being the ‘face’ of an office or hospital building. They interact directly with patients on a daily basis. They are also responsible for dealing with pharmaceutical representatives, vendors, and more.

Rewarding medical jobs for people over 40

A medical receptionist keeps a medical office running smoothly. They are an integral part of any team, but they are also responsible for making sure that the team is functioning to the best of its ability. They do everything from scheduling patient appointments with doctors to updating medical records.

The average salary for a medical receptionist is $27,830 each year. Salary depends on your state and the type of medical facility.

8) Phlebotomist

Phlebotomy is considered one of the best entry-level jobs in the medical field. It does take a bit more required training than other jobs, but it’s a great way to get started in medicine at any age.

A phlebotomist draws blood from patients, organizes and stores it correctly, and transports it to a medical lab for testing. A phlebotomist works with a variety of patients each day, as well as a medical team. Most phlebotomists either work in hospitals or clinics, but there is also work in nursing homes, private practices, blood banks, and volunteer organizations.

Training to become a phlebotomist can be done in under a year. You can attend a community college and earn an associate’s degree, or take a phlebotomy training program. There are programs offered online, but you will need to gain experience. Throughout training, you’ll learn everything from anatomy to proper lab procedures. You will also practice venipuncture on your classmates and volunteers.

A phlebotomist is required to be on their feet most of the day so that may be a consideration for you. However, if you enjoy working with different types of people, and paying attention to detail, it could be the right job for you. It’s a good alternative career for people who want to leave nursing.

The average salary for a certified phlebotomist is between $21,730 and $39,685 per year.

9) Hospital Recruiter

A hospital recruiter (or medical recruiter) serves the healthcare industry by recruiting and screening potential employment candidates. They are hiring specialists that work directly with job seekers and employers in the healthcare industry.

The basic responsibilities of a medical recruiter include:

  • Interviewing candidates for specific job placement
  • Reviewing and organizing resumes
  • Salary negotiation
  • Performing background checks on candidates

While a degree isn’t necessary to be a medical recruiter, most facilities prefer you to have a bachelor’s degree. It’s crucial for someone in this position to have excellent communication skills. A professional demeanor is required. You need to be good at problem-solving and be able to work efficiently.

The average yearly salary for a hospital recruiter is around $59,000.

Is There a Good Job Outlook in the Healthcare Industry?

Job opportunities for the above positions are expected to grow over the next ten years.

If you’re 50 years old, you could still be 25 years away from retirement. Choosing a new career that is growing and you can qualify in 12 months is the perfect way to ensure you’ll have a steady job in the future.

The healthcare industry is flexible, consistently growing, and pays well in most positions. If you’ve ever wanted to work in healthcare, there are many opportunities for older adults to work behind the scenes or directly with patients. The choice is yours!