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Choosing a Career

(Text compiled from the U.S. Department of Labor website www.bls.gov, NAAHP's Medical Professions Admission Guide: Strategy for Success, 5th edition, and the catalogues for UH’s ten campuses, Brigham Young University at Hawaiʻi, Chaminade University, and Hawaiʻi Pacific University.)

Professional careers in healthcare and law are growing rapidly, not only in terms of the number of jobs available but also in terms of what kinds of jobs are available. Healthcare and law are expected to continue growing, as our population increases and ages.

  • The following careers begin at the post-baccalaureate level (i.e., after you have completed your Bachelors degree) and require a doctoral degree. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are available in Hawai'i. For more information, click on the career that interests you:

* = have schools in Hawaii.

  • The following careers are all offered in Hawai'i. In these fields, you can begin working with a Bachelors or Masters degree, although some continue on to the Doctoral level. For more information, click on the career that interests you:
  • If you are exploring careers, click on one of the following fields for a list of degrees offered in Hawai'i:

Careers in law and healthcare offer exceptional geographic mobility because jobs in these fields are everywhere. These fields also offer relatively high stability: jobs may last for many years, and because demand in both fields is rising, new jobs are being added.

Law and healthcare are both fairly stratified, although that is slowly changing. Each career has a set number of years spent in training, a specific degree required to practice, and an income range related to the amount of training required. Levels of independence and authority also vary with each career, with doctoral levels offering the most.

In terms of vertical mobility, careers in law and healthcare tend to be static, tied to the degree completed. In general, you train for and remain in a specific career: medical technicians are not “promoted” to doctors any more than paralegals are “promoted” to lawyers. Changing careers requires additional education, training, and licensing. Physicians and lawyers tend to head their careers' hierarchies; other careers usually serve in support positions or as related specialists.

Choose the career you ultimately want, even if the path is long. Particularly in healthcare, schools are sometimes reluctant to accept workers from fields that are in short supply. For example, because of the current nursing shortage, some medical schools resist admitting nurses unless the applicants have compelling reasons to change careers.

Generally speaking, pre-health students should keep their options open as long as possible and prepare for several fields simultaneously. As an entering Freshmen, you should have 4-6 possible fields in mind; by the end of your Sophomore year, you should narrow that list down to 2-3 fields; by the end of your Junior year, which is when you begin applying, you should have one "first choice" field plus an alternative plan.

For more information on what to consider when choosing a career in healthcare,

  • discuss your options with an academic advisor;
  • visit PAC to discuss types of jobs and degree levels, and to reserach various careers; and
  • read Chapter 1 of NAAHP's Health Professions Admissions Guide: Strategy for Success, 6th edition; a copy is available in PAC.

For more information on what to consider when choosing a career in law,

  • discuss your options with an academic advisor;
  • visit PAC to discuss types of jobs and degree levels, and to research various careers; and
  • read Careers in Law by Munneke; a copy is available in PAC.

For exploring other careers related to health or science,

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