What are the Best Professions in Healthcare for Work-Life Balance?

Maintaining a balance is important no matter the profession, but staff shortages, demanding schedules, and high-stress situations can make it especially difficult for those in the healthcare industry. Some positions will always be high stakes, but if you’re looking for a job that reduces the chance of burnout, keep reading. These six jobs vary on education requirements and salary, but they all have the flexibility, workplace culture, and environment that’s necessary for a good equilibrium.

Health Informatics Specialist

Health informatics specialists are involved in the technological side of healthcare. They often have regular hours in an office setting and may have the opportunity to work remotely. Combined with a higher than average entry-level salary of $78,790, the profession boasts a positive work-life balance. Duties may vary, but in general, health informatics specialists can expect to: implement and manage healthcare information systems (e.g. electronic health records), collect and analyze patient data, safeguard information and data, and comply with federal and state regulations. A bachelor’s degree in health information management or nursing informatics, is a requirement for this career.

Speech Language Pathologist

If you want to work in a variety of settings and have flexible schedule options, speech language pathology might be an attractive career path. Speech language pathologists evaluate and treat individuals who have speech, language, voice, or fluency disorders. They may also help with swallowing issues. You’ll need a master’s degree in speech language pathology to get started, then most graduates complete a clinical fellowship, sit for the Praxis exam, and depending on the location, earn a state license. This profession requires more education, but the potential earnings are also higher. The national mean wage for speech language pathologists is $89,460. Once you’ve become a licensed speech pathologist, you’ll have the option of opening your own practice or working in a variety of other settings including schools, early intervention programs, or possibly taking on remote (telehealth) clients.

Public Health Educator

Public health educators work in a variety of settings including federal, state, and local public health departments, for private companies, universities, or even non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While the day-to-day of this profession will vary depending on employer, it’s a good bet that schedules will be relatively stable and you’ll likely spend at least some of your time in an office. There may also be opportunities for remote or self-paced work (a stark difference when compared to a busy shift in the ER or surgical ward). Most public health educators will need a Masters in Public Health (MPH), but if you’re looking to advance to the top of the field or work in academia, a Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) or a PhD in Public Health, might be paths to consider. The average salary for this position is $60,843, with the potential to earn more depending on location and employer.

Nurse Practitioner

Burnout is common in the nursing profession, but nurse practitioners may have a better shot at avoiding career stress. For starters, nurse practitioners often have predictable hours (think: 8am-4pm Monday through Friday). This stability can be a welcome change after years of changing shift work. And because the job requires more education, there’s the opportunity to earn more and take on management roles. There are also a number of nurse practitioner specialities to choose from including psychiatrist or pediatrics. A nurse practitioner can expect to earn an annual wage of $124,680, which is much higher than the median annual wage ($77,760) across all healthcare practitioner jobs. To become a nurse practitioner, you’ll first need to have a bachelor’s in nursing, hold a R.N. license, and then complete a master’s (or doctorate) degree in nursing with a practitioner certification. Finally, you’ll need to pass a board certification exam.

Physician Assistant

If you like the idea of working closely with patients and even prescribing medications, consider a career as a physician assistant. These individuals work under the supervision of a medical doctor, but they aren’t required to attend medical school, and don’t take on the same liability and administrative burden as doctors. While medical school isn’t necessary, the path to becoming a physician assistant can still be long, with most programs lasting about three academic years. Keep in mind that most PA programs require an undergraduate degree and prior healthcare experience. With a median wage of $126,010, Physician Assistants are high earners, with a bit less stress and fewer years of school than their medical doctor colleagues. In fact, Physician Assistant is the second highest ranked job in healthcare and the fifth highest ranked job overall, according to the U.S. News and World Reports. Most PAs work around 40 hours per week, but depending on the speciality, a full time schedule may be as little as 30 hours per week. This can be an attractive balance for individuals with young families, those who like to travel, or anyone looking to spend more time on personal endeavors.

Radiologic Technologist

Radiologic technologists administer imaging tests such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to diagnose and monitor a number of health conditions. This profession earns a mean annual wage of $70,240, which is a relatively high salary for a position that doesn’t require a bachelors or masters degree. And the profession is expected to grow by 6% over the next decade, which is faster than average across all careers. This means job security as well as growth and earning potential for individuals. Beyond the financial benefits, radiologic technologists can also expect to work an average of 40 hours a week with days that are varied and interesting. If you’re someone who doesn’t like the idea of working behind a desk, this position can be a solution. The field is always innovating with new technology emerging and there are plenty of opportunities to specialize including mammography, nuclear medicine, or radiation therapy.