20 Best Medical Careers for Work-Life Balance

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Today's blog post discusses the 20 best medical careers for work-life balance.

When people think of careers in the healthcare industry, demanding hours and brutally long shifts regularly come to mind.

After all, medical residents are legendary for working 28-plus-hour shifts and 80 to 100 hours a week, basically living in their white lab coats around the clock.

However, not every healthcare career is all-consuming, and many medical jobs offer reasonable hours, flexible shifts, and opportunities for work-life balance.

We’ve put together 20 career possibilities for those who want to work in healthcare, help others, and still have a life outside work — and then we’ve covered one important technology that could eventually mean more flexible schedules for almost all healthcare professionals.

20 Best Medical Careers

medical assistant

1 – Medical Assistant

Medical assistants help physicians with a variety of tasks both administrative and clinical, depending on their level of experience and the needs of their facility.

Busy hospitals tend to have more demanding work schedules, but smaller officers and clinics often have more reasonable hours.

Medical assistants require minimal training, and the position is a great entry-level opportunity for those looking to break into the healthcare industry. Click here to learn more about becoming a medical assistant.

2 – Registered Nurse

Once they’ve completed their training, nurses are often able to set their own schedules, at least to some extent, and choose the shifts that work best for them. Some even go to work on their own, either in private facilities or in people’s homes, allowing them even more control over their schedule. You do need a bachelor’s degree to become a nurse — or a master’s degree if you’ve already graduated from college. However, some degree programs can be completed on your own time, and associate’s degrees or training/certification programs are also an option. Before you know it, you’ll be donning scrubs for your first shift.

3 – Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists work with patients who have emotional, mental, or developmental conditions that can make completing everyday tasks like eating or bathing difficult. Occupational therapists work in a variety of environments, including nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and homes. It does require a master’s degree to become an occupational therapist, but after you earn your degree, you’ll be able to choose between full- and part-time work.

medical coding

4 – Medical Coder

Medical coders assign codes to patient files based on doctors’ notes of the patient’s symptoms, diagnoses, procedures, and medication. Medical codes help standardize treatment notations and protect patient privacy.

Medical coders may work directly for hospitals or private practices, and some work independently as freelance coders after they get enough experience. Because of the nature of this work, medical coding can offer opportunities for flexible schedules and/or remote work.

There’s no official degree for medical coding, though getting a certification can give you a leg up in the job-hunting process.

You can check this school to find out what's involved in becoming a medical coder.

Medical billers use the codes provided by the medical coder to bill insurance companies and patients, create and present health insurance claims to insurance companies, and collect money for healthcare professionals and facilities. Learn how to become a medical biller here.

In smaller offices, the same person often handles both coding and billing.


5 – Dietician or Nutritionist

Unfortunately, becoming a dietician is an up-front commitment: You’ll need to get a bachelor’s degree, pass an exam, earn your credentials and a license, and possibly complete an internship or externship. Once you become a nutritionist, however, you’ll have much more control over your schedule. Some dieticians join an existing practice, while others go into private practice for themselves or even work out of their own homes, which allows them to set their own hours.

Addition from the publisher: If you don't have a bachelor's degree, you can become a Nutrition and Personal Trainer. You’ll be an inspiration for those who need help tweaking their diet and/or developing an exercise routine to meet their individual goals. You’ll lead, instruct, and motivate. Get more information here.

6 – Home Health Aide

Home health aides help individuals who have some kind of disability — whether due to age, illness, or injury — and need help with daily tasks to ensure a higher quality of life. They may go into individual homes or work at an assisted living facility that serves multiple patients at once. Home health aides can work full-time or part-time, and night or weekend shifts are sometimes an option, depending on the facility. Becoming a home health aide doesn’t require an official degree, but you might have to undergo some type of training or testing in order to be hired as one.

7 – Physical Therapist

Physical therapists design recovery plans for a variety of patients, from athletes recuperating from injuries to patients recovering from a stroke. Physical therapists work with their clients to improve mobility, strength, flexibility, balance, range of motion, and more. Becoming a full-fledged physical therapist requires getting a physical therapy degree and passing a state licensure exam, while physical therapist aides only need an associate’s degree.

Find out how to become a Physical Therapy Aide.

8 – Dental Assistant

Dental assistants help provide patient care, take X-rays, keep records, and schedule appointments. Most dentists are only open during regular business hours Mondays through Fridays, which automatically limits your hours as a dental assistant.

Some even choose to go part-time, only working two or three business days a week to give themselves more flexibility.

Depending on your state’s requirements, you might need to attend a one- or two-year program, and once you’ve graduated you’ll help with both administrative and clinical tasks at the office.

Click here to find out more about how you can get trained as a dental assistant in as little as 4 months.

9 – Speech Language Pathologist

Working with patients of all ages from babies to adults, speech-language pathologists help to improve communication and swallowing problems. They work in a wide variety of environments, including hospitals, schools, physicians’ offices, colleges and universities, rehabilitation centers, and private practices. Different workplaces offer different degrees of flexibility in terms of schedule. Speech-language pathologists earn a master’s degree before passing a state licensure exam and becoming certified to practice.

10 – Telehealth Opportunities

While telehealth isn’t a specific occupation, the rise of telemedicine — remotely delivering healthcare through technology such as secure video calls and chats — is opening up more flexible schedules for a variety of practitioners. Doctors, nurses, and other professionals can make themselves available according to their own schedules for these virtual visits. And since they’re consulting with patients remotely, practitioners don’t have to drive to and from appointments, freeing up yet more time.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sacrifice the rest of your life to work in healthcare and help others. These nine careers are a great starting point for aspiring medical professionals who still want work-life balance. And even if none of these careers appeal to you, one day soon telehealth technology might create a more flexible schedule for you.

Deborah Swanson is a Coordinator for the Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com, a site dedicated to celebrating medical professionals and their journeys. She keeps busy interviewing caregivers and writing about them and loves gardening.

More Work at Home Medical Careers

Here are some additional medical careers I added to this list: 

11- Medical Transcription / Medical Transcription Editor

If you would like to work from home, transcription is a great career for the right people. Medical transcriptionists listen to recorded dictation from medical professionals. They type the information they hear on the recording and create written documents from the recordings.  The transcript then becomes part of the medical record.  They use transcription software to open audio and video files, and a foot pedal to speed up, slow down or stop the files.

A good medical transcription course will teach you medical terminology, typing skills, transcription skills, listening skills, and how to set up medical record documents.

12 – Medical Administrative Assistant with EHR

Medical administrative assistants are specialized administrative personnel who keep the modern medical office running smoothly, especially as electronic health records are becoming more common. Responsibilities may include creating and updating patients' electronic health records, managing the day-to-day operations of a medical facility, scheduling and coordinating appointments, verifying patient insurance, completing and submitting insurance claims, preparing correspondence between medical providers and their patients, and providing quality customer service to patients.

Medical administrative assistants work in a variety of healthcare facilities, and the demand for people with EHR expertise will increase as electronic health records become more standard. Positions can be found in doctors' offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and many other types of healthcare facilities.

Train for a successful career as a medical administrative assistant with EHR expertise. Find out more about becoming a medical administrative assistant with EHR.

13 – Medical Scribe

The need for medical scribes has become more common in medical offices. They check off boxes on EHRs, record critical information and allow physicians more time to focus on their patients.

Medical scribes generally work behind the scenes —sometimes from home—listening to dictations and converting them into written documents. Their daily responsibilities might include:

  • Translating medical abbreviations and jargon into the appropriate long form.
  • Listening to the recorded dictation of a doctor or other healthcare worker.
  • Interpreting and transcribing dictation into patient history, exam notes, and other documents.
  • Reviewing and editing drafts prepared by speech recognition software.
  • Following up with the healthcare provider to ensure that reports are accurate.

Find out how to become a Medical Scribe.

14 – Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians prepare prescription orders, process insurance claims, and walk patients through the details of their medications.

Skills you need to be a pharmacy technician include excellent verbal communication skills, professionalism, and critical thinking.

According to Career Step, the average salary for most pharmacy technicians is nearly $33,000 a year.

Projections show that employment for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow 7% by 2028.

90% of employers encourage or require certification for pharmacy technicians. lab coats online Pharmacy Technician program includes a free voucher to take the PTCB exam.

See the information about Careerstep's Pharmacy Technician training and information provided by Careerstep below.

Info about Pharmacy Technician training - an excellent medical career

Careerstep has excellent training to become a Pharmacy Technician. Learn how to become a Pharmacy Technician here.

15 – Hemodialysis Technician

Hemodialysis technicians provide life-saving medical intervention to patients with chronic kidney disease or renal failure. Hemodialysis techs operate the blood-filtering dialysis machine and monitor patients during treatment.

The daily duties of a hemodialysis tech include the following:

  • Preparing the hemodialysis machine
  • Monitoring patients during treatment
  • Responding to emergency situations
  • Talking patients through the dialysis process
  • Ensuring equipment is sterile
  • Educating patients on healthy behaviors

Learn how to become a hemodialysis technician.

16 – Patient Care Technician

A patient care technician provides basic care to people needing daily assistance. This includes bathing, feeding, and catheter care; managing supplies; and performing EKG and phlebotomy procedures.

Find out how to become a Patient Care Technician.

17 – Veterinary Receptionist/Medical Office manager

This is a perfect job for someone who loves animals. Career Step's unique training program prepares you to become a veterinary assistant and medical office manager. Your combined veterinary medical receptionist skills will make you a critical part of any vet clinic or medical office.

As a veterinary assistant, you’ll work with animals, helping to care for their injuries and treat their illnesses. Your responsibilities include:

  • Feeding, bathing, and exercising animals
  • Restraining animals during exams and procedures
  • Monitoring and nursing animals after surgery
  • Cleaning and prepping equipment and facilities

As a veterinary clinic receptionist or medical office manager, you'll keep the administrative side of the practice running smoothly. This includes:

  • Scheduling and coordinating appointments
  • Managing day-to-day operations
  • Verifying patient insurance
  • Creating and updating electronic health records

Find out how to become a Veterinary Receptionist.

18 – EKG Technician

EKG technicians test the electrical activity of the heart. This job entails:

  • Properly placing electrode patches on patients’ bodies
  • Measuring basic vital signs
  • Performing rapid response procedures
  • Operating an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine
  • Measuring and identifying rhythms
  • Interpreting and summarizing EKG test results

EKG technicians work in hospitals, clinics, cardiac centers, and private practices.

Find out how to become an EKG Technician.

19 – Health Coach

Most people know that they should eat right and hit exercise several times per week. But they often don't do it. Health coaches help people integrate exercise and nutrition, and provide the motivation people need to do what they need to do to take better care of their health.

20 – Healthcare IT Professional

Healthcare information technicians work as part of an internal IT team in healthcare facilities and public health agencies. They install and maintain electronic health record systems and provide general technical support. They secure the management of health information across computerized systems. Their responsibilities include:

  • Obtain, process, and record healthcare data.
  • Ensure information quality and security.
  • Install and administer basic computer systems and networks.
  • Determine hardware and interface problems and provide support.

Learn how to become a healthcare IT Professional.

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