How many jobs are available in healthcare? (With careers)
Updated 21 July 2023
The healthcare industry is a rapidly growing field with a constant demand for skilled practitioners to provide essential care and services to patients. With a wide range of roles, from frontline operatives to administrative staff and specialised practitioners, this sector has abundant opportunities. Understanding the job market in healthcare can help you make informed decisions about your career path and prospects. In this article, we explore how many jobs are available in healthcare, look at prominent job roles and discuss things to consider when looking at a career in the sector.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
What is the healthcare sector?
The healthcare sector is an essential industry encompassing a wide range of services, institutions and practitioners dedicated to maintaining and improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities. It includes such settings as hospitals, clinics, care homes and private practices, where healthcare providers offer diagnostic, preventive, therapeutic and rehabilitative services. The sector constantly evolves to meet people's changing needs, with practitioners working collaboratively to deliver high-quality care and promote healthy lifestyles.
How many jobs are available in healthcare?
If you're passionate about working with people, you may be interested in learning how many jobs are available in healthcare. The health and social work services sector employs over one million people, and a very high percentage of online job adverts are for healthcare jobs, especially support workers and nurses. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has around 770,000 registered practitioners. Some prominent job roles in healthcare include:
National average salary: £23,155 per year
Primary duties: Medical secretaries play a vital role in supporting healthcare practitioners by handling administrative tasks and ensuring smooth day-to-day operations. Their responsibilities include managing appointments, maintaining patient records, transcribing medical notes and handling correspondence. While a background in administration is advantageous, some medical secretaries choose to pursue further qualifications, such as an Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) certificate, diploma or membership. Excellent organisational, communication and interpersonal skills are crucial for success in this role.
National average salary: £30,957 per year
Primary duties: Registered nurses (RNs) play a vital role in delivering patient care by assessing their conditions, administering prescribed treatments and evaluating patient responses. They collaborate with interdisciplinary healthcare teams to develop and implement individualised care plans. Registered nurses also support patients and their families by providing essential health education and promoting self-care strategies. By maintaining detailed patient records, they contribute to the continuity of care and facilitate communication amongst healthcare providers. Aspiring RNs complete a nursing degree and register with the NMC.
National average salary: £35,795 per year
Primary duties: Occupational therapists (OTs) offer invaluable support to individuals facing physical, mental or developmental challenges by helping them enhance their daily living and working skills. By creating personalised treatment plans, teaching new skills and supplying adaptive equipment, OTs make a lasting impact on their patients' lives. To pursue this career, individuals complete a degree in occupational therapy and register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). OTs possess strong communication skills and a keen understanding of human behaviour.
National average salary: £37,304 per year
Primary duties: Physiotherapists dedicate their careers to diagnosing and treating individuals with physical conditions and mobility issues. They form customised treatment plans that include exercise, manual therapy and pain management advice to help patients regain their independence. Becoming a physiotherapist involves a relevant degree or degree apprenticeship alongside registration with the HCPC. With their knowledge and skills, physiotherapists help their patients achieve improved physical health and general well-being.
National average salary: £47,160 per year
Primary duties: Pharmacists dispense medications, counsel patients on proper usage and closely monitor drug interactions. They offer expert advice on medication usage, side effects and management of health conditions, serving as a valuable resource for both patients and healthcare practitioners. Pharmacists play an essential role in promoting public health by providing immunisations, health screenings and education on disease prevention. To become a pharmacist, complete a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree, undergo a pre-registration training year and register with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
National average salary: £51,135 per year
Primary duties: Clinical psychologists work with individuals experiencing mental health challenges, utilising various therapeutic approaches to help them manage and overcome difficulties. They conduct comprehensive assessments to identify underlying psychological issues and develop personalised treatment strategies. Clinical psychologists collaborate with other mental health practitioners, engage in research to advance the field of psychology and contribute to the development of evidence-based practices. Requirements include a British Psychological Society-recognised degree in psychology and registration with the HCPC.
General practitioner (GP)
National average salary: £74,803 per year
Primary duties: GPs provide comprehensive care by diagnosing and treating a wide range of health conditions, offering preventive care and referring patients to specialists when necessary. GPs build long-term relationships with patients, guiding them through various health-related matters throughout their lives. To start a career as a GP, individuals complete a medical degree, engage in a two-year foundation programme, undertake specialist GP training and register with the General Medical Council (GMC).
National average salary: £79,038 per year
Primary duties: Surgeons specialise in performing various surgical procedures to treat diseases, injuries and deformities. They work closely with patients to explain the surgical process, risks and post-operative care requirements, collaborating with other healthcare practitioners to ensure comprehensive patient care. Surgeons complete a medical degree, foundation training and further surgical training in a specific area. After obtaining a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), they can register as specialists with the GMC.
National average salary: £80,281 per year
Primary duties: Dentists play a vital role in maintaining oral health by diagnosing and treating various dental issues, including tooth decay, gum disease and misalignment. They perform such procedures as fillings, extractions and root canals while ensuring patient comfort and safety. Dentists emphasise preventive care by educating patients on proper oral hygiene practices and recommending regular dental check-ups. Their workday sees them collaborate with dental hygienists and assistants to provide comprehensive care and maintain a high standard of practice. Aspiring dentists earn a dental degree, participate in a foundation training programme and register with the General Dental Council (GDC).
Related: How to become a dentist (with steps)
Advantages of working in healthcare
A career in healthcare offers numerous advantages, making it an attractive choice for many individuals. The following list outlines some of the key benefits of working in the healthcare sector:
Impact on society and personal fulfilment: Healthcare practitioners can make a meaningful impact on people's lives, contributing to their well-being. This sense of purpose can lead to high levels of personal fulfilment and job satisfaction.
A diverse range of job opportunities: The healthcare sector offers various job opportunities catering to different skills and interests. This diversity allows for professional growth and the flexibility to explore different areas throughout one's career.
Innovation and technological advancements: Healthcare work often requires practitioners to stay at the forefront of innovation and technology. This exposure provides opportunities to learn new skills, adopt cutting-edge techniques and contribute to advancing medical knowledge.
Job security and stability: The healthcare sector is generally resilient to economic downturns, as the demand for medical care remains constant regardless of financial circumstances. This demand can offer international work experience and collaboration opportunities, making healthcare an appealing career choice for many.
Factors to consider when pursuing a career in healthcare
Pursuing a healthcare career can be an exciting and fulfilling choice, but it's essential to consider several factors before starting on this career path. The following list highlights key aspects to keep in mind when contemplating a healthcare career:
Educational requirements and experience: Different healthcare roles require specific qualifications and experience levels. Researching these requirements can help you make informed decisions about your career path.
Work environment and patient demographics: Some healthcare jobs involve working with particular patient populations or settings. Understanding these aspects allows you to choose a profession that aligns with your preferences and values.
Working hours and flexibility: Many healthcare jobs involve shifts or irregular hours, which can be challenging. Evaluating your availability and flexibility is crucial to achieving a healthy work–life balance.
Salary and financial considerations: Healthcare salaries can vary significantly. Researching average salaries and considering factors such as benefits and the cost of living can help you make informed compensation decisions.
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