Here’s the good thing about health care as an industry: There are hardly any “dead end” jobs. If you consider each position a rung on the “career ladder,” every job in health care–from kitchen staff to janitor–can lead you closer to the rewarding position that’s the best fit for you.
What is a career ladder?
In a word, it’s a promotion. Working your way up from entry level to management or other levels of higher pay or authority is usually the career goal. Career ladders in health care provide a range of different pathways to interesting and rewarding careers. While most start at the bottom, it’s possible to start anywhere with proper training and education.
Once you start up the ladder, you can always step over onto a new career ladder, if that better matches your interests, instead of continuing up. Lateral moves are still considered progress.
What does a career ladder look like?
It depends on your current position or your position of interest, but here are a few examples:
- Nurse aid → patient care tech → LPN → registered nurse
- Sterile processing → surgical tech → clinical lab tech → radiologic tech
- Medical secretary → medical records → medical transcriptionist → billing and coding
- Environmental and dietary → patient transport → tech positions → supervisor
Perhaps one of the most common ideas of a career ladder starts with a job as an EMT. Many students use this job to gain experience and earn money while going to school to become an emergency medicine physician.
CareerOneStop.org offers this more in-depth example of what a career ladder might look like as well.
Why a career ladder?
Hospitals and other health care employers want to hire the best workers they can find. For many health care careers that means years of education and training. If you need to work while going to school to prepare for one of those careers, it may be difficult to find the time and money to continue your education. Consider a career ladder program to get education and skills training on the job, so you don’t have to take time off and lose income while you prepare for a higher-paying position.