Millions of people each year consider starting a career path or changing their career path to get involved in healthcare. Some are motivated by an intrinsic desire to help people recover from injuries and illnesses, while others are interested in the job security and high salaries. Either way, you’ll be responsible for providing high-quality care and treatment to your patients, and attending online continuing education courses to constantly refine your approach. 

Like with all careers, there are both pros and cons to working in the medical field, and you should familiarize yourself with these pros and cons before making any decision for your future career. 

The Advantages of a Career in Healthcare

These are some of the best advantages of pursuing a career in healthcare: 

Salary. Many people salivate at the thought of getting a job in the healthcare industry because many careers pay well. For example, if you become a physician or a specialty therapist, you can easily make a six-figure salary—even more in certain areas. If you’re interested in making a lot of money, healthcare could be the perfect industry to pursue. 
Job security. You can also count on sufficient demand for your job, at least for the foreseeable future. In fact, there’s a shortage of many professionals in the healthcare industry, including physicians. Many hospitals and clinics around the country are desperate to hire new people, so you should have no issue finding a job wherever you want to go. 
A sense of purpose. Some people are motivated to pursue a career in healthcare because it gives them a deeper sense of purpose. No matter what your role in the field is, you’ll be directly or indirectly responsible for helping people. You’ll be treating patients and guiding them in their recovery from illnesses and injuries—and you’ll likely be making their lives better in the process. This can be highly rewarding, in a way that careers in other fields often aren’t. 
Room for growth. There’s also significant room for growth in the healthcare field, depending on your career trajectory. If you get started as a nursing assistant, you can go back to school for an advanced degree and work your way to becoming a registered nurse. As a surgeon, you can refine your technique, continue studying, and try to become one of the most renown specialty surgeons in the United States. 
Flexibility. There are literally hundreds of different positions you could hold in the healthcare field, especially considering the different number of specialties that exist. You can plan your career to focus on a specific type of patient, a specific part of the body, a specific illness or injury, or even a certain mode of treatment. The options are practically limitless, so you can find a path that best appeals to you, personally. 

The Disadvantages of a Career in Healthcare

However, there are also significant downsides to pursuing a career in healthcare: 

Initial education and training. One of the biggest downsides is the amount of education and training required before you can begin work. If you want to become a physician, for example, you’ll often need to spend upwards of 10 years in school. Beyond that, you’ll need to attend a residency program and become licensed. That’s a lot of time and money to spend on a career before you can start making money from it. 
Stress. Being a healthcare professional is also incredibly stressful. In many cases, patient lives will be in your hands, and your choice of treatment could have a major positive or negative effect on their life. Many hospitals are high-paced environments with strict demands as well, creating even more pressure. 
Hours. Depending on your position, your working hours may be variable and unpredictable. You may be forced to work a rotation that precludes you from getting consistent sleep, or you may be called in to handle an emergency on one of your off days. Inconsistent and unpredictable hours often increase the stress of the job even more. 
Continuing demands. Getting a degree or obtaining your license often isn’t enough to continue practicing. In many fields, you’ll need to attend continuing education classes, and meet certain criteria to retain your license and continue practicing. 
Financial and legal risks. There are also some financial and legal risks to consider. For example, if you own your own practice and are sued for malpractice, it could ruin you—even if you have insurance. 

Is a career in the world of healthcare and medicine right for you? It can be hard to tell until you’ve had some direct experience. Consider taking some initial classes, or talking to medical professionals about their personal experiences with the career to glean some new insights.