We look at some of the most in-demand, rewarding and best-paying jobs in healthcare for 2023, including how to get them.
Want to work in healthcare, but not sure which role is right for you? You’re in the right place. We’ve explored data from career experts such as Indeed and Monster to find the best healthcare jobs out there right now, considering salaries, demand and the nature of the job.
Our list also contains a wide variety of healthcare jobs, so you’re sure to find something that suits you. Whether you’re interested in healthcare management, pharmaceuticals, or providing care, all jobs in the healthcare industry are extremely valuable.
What is the healthcare industry?
The healthcare industry encompasses all sectors that provide medical services for the treatment of patients. These services come in a variety of forms but can be categorised into four types of care; preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative.
It’s easy to simply imagine a hospital setting when we think of the healthcare industry, but it’s actually incredibly varied. The industry, of course, includes hospitals and the pivotal roles of doctors and nurses. However, the healthcare industry also offers a wide range of specialised roles, as well as jobs in areas like drug manufacturing.
Even companies that produce equipment for medical purposes exist within the healthcare industry, so there’s certainly a role out there for you.
Why choose a career in healthcare?
No matter which subsection of the healthcare industry you choose to dive into, there’s one thing that you can be sure of; you’ll be making a difference. All areas of healthcare exist to provide crucial care to patients in need and leave a positive impact on the world.
In addition, job satisfaction often goes hand-in-hand with working in an impactful role, because you’re more likely to feel like your hard work has been worthwhile.
As well as doing a satisfying and impactful job, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to earn a decent salary in your role. Jobs in the healthcare sector tend to have highly competitive salaries, and these numbers can increase based on experience and skill.
Top 10 jobs in healthcare
So, let’s dive into some of the best jobs in the healthcare industry. All of the average salaries we mention have been taken from Payscale or Indeed.
1. Nurse anaesthetist
As the name suggests, these healthcare professionals focus on the introduction of anaesthesia. A nurse anaesthetist is responsible for administering sedatives, pain relief, and of course, anaesthesia. Unlike other nurse roles, anaesthetists are allowed to work independently without direct supervision.
Along with the administration of pain medication, nurse anaesthetists are also responsible for monitoring patients during and after surgery. In this role, you’ll be managing the recovery of patients to ensure a full and healthy recovery and report any anomalies.
Average nurse anaesthetist salary
Nurse anaesthetists can expect to earn an average salary of £36,654 in the UK. In comparison, the average nurse salary in the UK is £25,586, so it’s evident that specialising in specific areas can enhance your salary. The average nurse anaesthetist’s salary in the US is $160,732.
How can I become a nurse anaesthetist?
In order to secure your role as a nurse anaesthetist, you’ll need to become a registered nurse. In America, you need a master’s degree (often anaesthesia-focused) in order to pursue this role, alongside a certification to become a certified registered nurse anaesthetist.
You might consider taking our Introduction to Using Total Intravenous Anaesthesia (TIVA) course to learn more about administering anaesthesia.
One of the more well-known healthcare jobs, pharmacists work closely with different types of medication. Typically, a pharmacist will be responsible for dispensing medications to patients (prescription and over-the-counter).
However, there are different sub-roles within the pharmacist career path. Hospital pharmacists, general practice pharmacists and hospice pharmacists are just some of the routes you can take.
As well as dispensing and keeping track of medications, pharmacists are also expected to liaise with doctors and other healthcare professionals. As a pharmacist, you should also expect to offer advice and pharmaceutical information to patients.
Average pharmacist salary
The average salary for a pharmacist in the UK is £37,551, with more experienced pharmacists earning around £49,000. In the US, pharmacists can expect to earn an average of $116,061.
How can I become a pharmacist?
In order to secure a role as a pharmacist, you’ll need to have the appropriate qualifications and skills. In the UK, the typical requirement for pharmacists is to have a four-year master’s degree in pharmacy. This should be followed up by a year-long work placement.
If you’d like to learn more about the basics of pharmacy, check out our Essentials of Good Pharmacy Practice course by Taipei Medical University, or try our Pharmacy for Beginners course by the University of Malaya.
3. Healthcare manager
As we discussed in our recent healthcare management blog post, the scope of this role can include the overall management and leadership of either public or private healthcare organisations. Management is needed in order to ensure that operations within healthcare establishments are maintained seamlessly.
This healthcare career is a little different to the others we’ve listed as it’s very management and administration-focused. As a healthcare manager, you can expect to spend your time handling finances, overseeing and directing departments, purchasing new resources and strategically planning the establishment’s objectives.
This role can also vary depending on the type of healthcare management job you decide to pursue. Types of healthcare managers include healthcare administrators, hospital managers, health coordinators and clinical directors. This career path is perfect for those who are business and management inclined but wish to make a difference in the healthcare industry.
Average healthcare manager salary
The average salary for a healthcare manager within the UK is £37,842, but this will vary and increase depending on which area of management you choose to get into. For example, a clinical director can expect to earn an average salary of £65,136, while clinical directors in the US earn an average of $79,160.
How can I become a healthcare manager?
To land a role as a healthcare manager, you’ll need to hold a bachelor’s degree, although a Master’s degree would be preferred. Our Master of Business Administration in the healthcare sector is the perfect degree to get yourself a healthcare manager position.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, check out our Introduction to Management and Leadership Health Services microcredential, or our Managing Change in a Healthcare Environment course.
Healthcare professionals who work in the field of optometry specialise in eye health. Not to be confused with opticians, optometrists are trained to detect any eye abnormalities, signs of illness and issues with vision. Optometrists can even detect health issues such as diabetes via an eye exam.
Although the role sounds similar to that of an optician, opticians lack the necessary medical knowledge to fully diagnose issues. Optometrists are highly trained medical staff and are involved in the preoperative and postoperative care of a patient.
Optometrists are responsible for carrying out eye examinations, diagnosing health issues and issuing relevant treatment when necessary.
Average optometrist salary
The average salary of an optometrist in the UK is £37,885, with the potential to reach up to £50,000 with more experience. In the US, the average annual salary for optometrists is $110,630.
How can I become an optometrist?
If a role in the eye health field interests you, you’ll need to have a degree in optometry. You’ll also need to carry out a supervised work placement with a qualified optometrist for one year before you can secure your first role.
It’s also important to have a genuine interest in human anatomy and eye care, and a passion to excel in this area, in order to stay engaged.
If you have a keen interest in teeth, then you might be interested in becoming a dentist. Dentists are doctors that specifically work on mouths and teeth, and specialise in oral health.
As a dentist, you can expect to examine and diagnose issues related to teeth and gum health. Although the role is specific, it involves a lot of different skills and challenges. Some of the tasks you’ll have a dentist include filling cavities, cleaning teeth, removing unhealthy teeth, and taking and reviewing dental x-rays.
Some dentists choose to progress to becoming an orthodontist, which requires additional training. Orthodontists are focused more on the movement and structure of your teeth and jaws. Braces and teeth alignment often fall under the responsibilities of orthodontists.
Average dentist salary
Dentists in the UK earn an average salary of £51,785, and more experienced dentists can earn around £98,000. If you choose to study for a further three years to become an orthodontist, you could earn an average salary of £77,757 in the UK. The average salary of a dentist in the US is $138,089.
How can I become a dentist?
To start your journey in the world of dentistry, you’ll first need to get a bachelor’s degree in dentistry, which will take you five years to complete. Once you have your degree, you’ll also need to carry out one to two years of supervised training.
If you’re interested in learning more about this area of the healthcare industry and bagging yourself one of the most prestigious jobs in the medical field, check out our Discover dentistry course.
6. Medical technician
The role of a medical technician is to assist doctors and lab technicians in preparing, collecting and analysing lab samples, and sometimes helping to diagnose patient issues. However, what you do on a day-to-day basis as a medical technician will really depend on your field of expertise, whether that’s phlebotomy, MRI scanning, surgery or something else.
Average medical technician salary
The average UK salary for a medical technician is £30,877, but this can vary greatly depending on the kind of technician you are. For example, MRI technicians make an average of £36,267 in the UK. Technicians in the US can expect to make approximately $74,334.
How can I become a medical technician?
Most roles will require you to get a degree in medical technology, but there’s also the option to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with a level four apprenticeship. As an EMT, you’ll have a hands-on role, helping paramedics provide lifesaving treatment.
The title of doctor is a broad term within the healthcare industry, as there are many different kinds of doctors. However, it’s often used to refer to General Practitioners. GPs are responsible for diagnosing and treating patients who are experiencing health issues.
General practitioners can opt for a career in public health or seek out a private practice to offer their skills. A doctor will spend their days diagnosing, prescribing and administering medication, and providing advice to sick patients.
Doctors can also choose to specialise in specific areas of interest. Some of the roles available include paediatrician, dermatologist, neurologist and psychiatrist. Because the role of a doctor is quite broad, your tasks and responsibilities will vary greatly depending on your specialism and experience.
Average doctor salary
In the UK, the average salary of a general practitioner is £63,624, with more experienced professionals earning around £102,000. In the US, doctors earn an average salary of $194,645.
How can I become a doctor?
To become a doctor in the UK, you’ll need to have a five-year degree in medicine. You’ll also need to complete a two-year foundation course in general training. To specialise in your chosen area, an additional three years of training is required.
Our Study Medicine: Applying for Medical School and Becoming a Medical Student course by the University of Glasgow will help get you started.
Dietitians interpret and apply the science of nutrition to help treat patients and clients. This may include helping patients trial diets, supplements or dietary interventions, and usually involves offering practical and personalised advice based on science.
Everything that a dietitian does is heavily backed up by various recognised methodologies, scientific evidence, and current public health research. They cannot offer advice to gain personal financial benefit in the same way that a nutritionist can.
Average dietitian salary
The average salary for a dietitian in the UK is £33,914 per year in the United Kingdom, but highly specialised dietitians for the NHS can earn as much as £44,503. In the US, the average dietitian earns $57,267 per year.
How can I become a dietitian?
While you don’t need a degree to be a nutritionist, you’ll need to successfully complete an approved dietetics degree at undergraduate level in order to be a dietitian. This will require you to have two or three A levels in chemistry, maths or biology.
You can read our blog most on how to become a dietitian for more information, including advice from real NHS professionals.
The role of a surgeon is one of the most prestigious healthcare careers in the industry. To put it simply, surgeons are responsible for carrying out surgery on patients in order to treat illness and injury. These surgeries can range from minor keyhole surgery to complex brain surgery.
A surgeon’s relationship with patients goes beyond the operating table. This role also requires you to carry out initial assessments to determine whether surgery is necessary or not. Surgeons will also manage postoperative care for patients such as monitoring the use of antibiotics.
Like a lot of healthcare careers, surgeons have the opportunity to specialise in specific areas of interest. Some of the roles available include paediatric surgeons, neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons.
Average surgeon salary
The average salary for general surgeons in the UK is £69,748, with more experienced surgeons earning around £108,000. The average salary for a neurosurgeon in the UK is £97,216, so clearly, those who choose to specialise in a specific field can expect much higher salaries. Surgeons in the US can expect to earn an average of $233,009.
How can I become a surgeon?
The journey to becoming a surgeon takes time, as it requires a lot of skill and knowledge. In order to become a surgeon in the UK, you’ll need to have a five-year degree in medicine, along with a two-year foundation programme for training.
You’ll then need to spend an additional two years carrying out core surgical training before starting your role as a surgeon. If you wish to specialise in a specific type of surgery, the specialist training could take up to an additional six years.
The role of a physiotherapist (or physical therapist) is to examine patients and determine the causes of mobility problems. They’ll then recommend exercises and other interventions designed to address any issues
This profession is mostly hands-on working with the patient – the physiotherapist works with a patient’s needs, much like a doctor, but also incorporates aspects of massage and personal training.
Average physiotherapist salary
If you work for the NHS in the UK, you can expect to start on £25,655 per year, with that rising to as much as £75,000 in a management role. In the US, the average annual salary for a physical therapist is $74,077.
How can I become a physiotherapist?
To practice as a physiotherapist, you’ll need to qualify either by completing a degree in physiotherapy or undertaking an apprenticeship.
Once you’ve qualified, there are plenty of opportunities for further learning. Through online training, you can fill any gaps in your knowledge, learn to deal with more specialised problems, and develop your practice as a physiotherapist. Check out our top physiotherapy courses to learn more.
Whether a role as a pharmacist or a surgeon has caught your eye, we hope that this article has offered some insight into what your next healthcare role could be. There are an array of highly in-demand jobs in the medical field that also pay well, so why not start your healthcare journey today?
If you’re keen to learn more about the healthcare industry, check out our Understanding thinking in healthcare systems course, which gives insight into international healthcare systems.