10 Entry-Level Health & Wellness Jobs
Health and wellness jobs have become a hot topic in the last few years. COVID-19’s immediate and lasting impact on the medical industry demonstrated the importance of public healthcare at all levels. Part-time and full-time opportunities for different health and wellness jobs continue to grow. Working in healthcare and related fields has become a viable option for people who may have reassessed their career paths during the pandemic. It also offers a strong outlook for recent graduates and entry-level applicants.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for healthcare occupations is set to increase by 16 percent from 2020 to 2030 – much faster than the average for all other occupations. In practice, this equates to 2.6 million new job postings for everything from mental health practitioners and dental nurses to administrators and support workers. This demand for health and wellness jobs has been fueled by an aging population.
If you’re looking to enter or progress a career in life sciences and healthcare, Northern Virginia is a great place to begin your search. There are currently more than 15,600 job postings in health and related fields in Northern Virginia, and many of them come with appealing benefits. Why not take a look to see if any entry-level healthcare jobs suit you?
How can you decide if a health and wellness career is right for you?
A career in health and wellness can be incredibly rewarding for anyone interested in science, technology, medicine, and health education. Health and wellness jobs are ideal for people who enjoy being of genuine service to others. It doesn’t matter whether you have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or high school diploma – there are healthcare job postings at all levels. But while health and wellness jobs can provide good salaries and appeal to people from a wide range of backgrounds, they can also be stressful.
Due to the wide range of job types, there isn’t a standard career path for healthcare professionals. First, you need to consider whether your personality, interests, and long-term goals are a good match for a healthcare job. If you prefer a fast-paced environment where no two days are the same and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives, you’ll probably enjoy working in healthcare. Many health and wellness professionals earn a good salary and experience solid career progression. Healthcare is a 24/7 job, so you can expect a significant number of job postings offering a flexible schedule to fit your lifestyle.
How can people work in the health and wellness industry?
Health and wellness jobs span a variety of skills and specialties. Besides the more obvious medical and nursing roles, the health profession employs educators, trainers, wellness managers, coaches, and social workers. There are also office-based support roles. You can also work in hundreds of related roles, including communications, finance, human resources, maintenance, and research.
While some entry-level roles are open to all, many require a certain level of education or specific training. Search LinkedIn for job titles and the role’s requirements. For example, you need a high school diploma and accredited training to become a pharmacy technician, while you need a doctoral or professional degree to be a pharmacist.
1. Community Health Worker
Community health workers connect their communities to the public health system. They act as advocates for their community members and support them with home visits, health education, treatment of simple illnesses, family planning advice, and sanitation. Community health workers are often deeply connected with their community in both urban and rural settings and work in outreach, sometimes offering culturally relevant assistance and translation services. Community health workers usually need at least a high school diploma, but some require a bachelor’s degree. Most roles provide on-the-job training specific to the services they offer.
2. Public Health Educator
Health educators work with the public to improve people’s overall health by providing information and resources. Duties include meeting with people to discuss their health needs, explaining treatment options, and assisting people in joining public health programs. They offer lifestyle advice that will improve physical, mental, and sexual health. They also provide community outreach by visiting schools, workplaces, prisons, and nursing homes. Health workers teach workshops and distribute free resources on everything from infectious disease control to nutritional advice.
Public health workers should have a bachelor’s degree in health education, but sometimes real-world experience and the Certified Health Education Specialist credential are accepted. Knowledge of health science is essential. They also need excellent communication skills to sensitively relay information to individuals and groups.
3. Health Coach
Health coaches or wellness coaches take a holistic approach to help people with their health and wellbeing goals. They aim to embed positive behavior-based lifestyle choices and habits in key areas, such as nutrition, time management, smoking, sleep, and stress. Besides providing private one-on-one services, health coaches often work in corporate settings and hospitals. Doctors might recommend health coaches for diabetes, insomnia, and other chronic issues.
The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching provides a certification examination and has approved more than 100 training programs. These programs meet the required standards in the areas of instructional hours, practical skill development, and assessment. Programs take between three and 24 months and some may require a degree.
4. Health or Fitness Teacher
Fitness teachers offer practical exercise training of different types such as aerobics, weight lifting, yoga or sports instruction. They teach classes or individuals at schools, gyms, wellness centers, or other health-focused locations. A fitness teacher can help you reach your goals by measuring your body fat levels, setting up a wellness program, motivating you, monitoring your progress, and holding you accountable. Health and fitness teachers learn anatomy through a practical approach, focused on movement patterns. Fitness trainers need a high school diploma, as well as certificates in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
5. Social Worker
Healthcare social workers support individuals suffering from illnesses or diseases. They help their clients to navigate the medical world and cope with their health issues. They can also provide case management of mental health, substance abuse, and community social work. Social workers help patients access vital information, medical equipment, home healthcare services, and transportation to appointments. You need a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), but a degree in related fields such as sociology and psychology is the foundation for a Master’s of Social Work (MSW). Social work is a fulfilling career that also offers the opportunity for progression through advanced degrees and credentials.
6. Health Program Coordinator
A health program coordinator or wellness coordinator manages the day-to-day operation of health initiatives. They work in a range of settings such as non-profits, health agencies, hospitals, and assisted living facilities. Typical responsibilities include planning, preparing budgets, supervising program staff, maintaining paperwork, monitoring the program’s progress, and submitting formal reports.
The role requires knowledge of specific health topics, organizational ability, writing skills, and excellent interpersonal skills. Initiatives involve a range of healthcare issues, from addressing health inequities to disease prevention. The standard entry requirement is a bachelor’s degree, but depending on the job, some organizations prefer advanced degrees and experience with clinical training.
7. Medical Transcriptionists
Medical transcriptionists listen to recordings from doctors and other healthcare practitioners and type them into reports. They also edit and review medical documents made using speech recognition technology. The role is vital for ensuring that medical records are up to date and that any medical terminology and abbreviations are correctly recorded.
Medical transcriptionists must have excellent listening and computer skills, with a strong knowledge of anatomy and physiology. They need a high school diploma along with a certification in medical transcription (CMT). While most medical transcriptionists work in hospitals and health clinics, some work for independent transcription service companies and others are self-employed.
8. Medical or Dental Assistant
Medical assistants support physicians, nurses, and other members of their team by completing administrative and practical tasks. They work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. Administrative duties include scheduling appointments, updating medical records, and submitting insurance forms. Clinical duties might involve taking medical histories, removing stitches, and assisting doctors with patient care. Some medical assistant jobs require a high school diploma or GED and provide on-the-job training. However, medical assistants can access more opportunities if they receive certification through an accredited program.
Dental assistants provide a combination of medical and administrative help to dentists. They schedule appointments, keep records, prepare examination rooms, assist dentists during procedures, take X-rays, keep records, and schedule appointments. They need good interpersonal skills to prepare patients for treatment. There are several pathways to becoming a dental assistant; some employers offer on-the-job training, while others only accept graduates from accredited programs. Passing the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam provides the standard certification.
9. EMT or Paramedic
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics provide first-line medical care. EMTs respond to emergencies and help to save lives on-site or in transit to the hospital. They perform basic, non-invasive interventions to help save lives and reduce harm, while transporting patients safely. You don’t need a degree to be licensed as an EMT, but you do need to get cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification and complete an EMT training program.
A paramedic is the highest level of EMT. They provide more advanced healthcare, including invasive and pharmacological interventions such as inserting IV lines and administering drugs. Paramedics usually start as EMTs for a couple of years to gain on-the-job experience and then enroll in a paramedic college degree program.
10. Home Health Aides
Home health aides provide personal care and monitor the conditions of people with chronic conditions or disabilities. They help with daily activities the client can no longer manage, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, moving, and eating. Home health aides monitor the person’s mental and physical health, checking vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate.
They work full-time or part-time shifts, while some might live with the client. Besides offering home care, health aides can also work in group homes and day service programs. The role requires compassion, patience, stamina, good communication skills, and attention to detail. Home health aides usually need a high school diploma or equivalent, but not always. Under federal law, home health aides must complete at least 75 hours of supervised training.