The medical field can be a place of happiness – or at least contentment. You’re out there healing people, or at least making them feel better. Sometimes, you will be their lifesaver. That is joyful, but the process can be stressful.
The medical field can also be a place of misery. Gory visions, desperate situations, and the knowledge that you could make a mistake that will have dire consequences can lead to anxiety and depression. Add to that the fact that the victim’s relatives will often blame you – even when it wasn’t your fault – and the job can become a nightmare.
But what makes a job happy? It’s a combination of several factors, including salary, benefits, job satisfaction, and work/life balance. And also something harder to measure, like whether you feel your work is meaningful.
In this article, you are going to learn what are the happiest jobs in the medical field, and what makes them so.
The Intricacies of Happy Medical Jobs
There are a few things to consider when looking at the happiest jobs in the medical field. The first is what salary you can expect to earn. Obviously, this isn’t the be-all and end-all of happiness, but it is important. After all, you can’t do much with your life if you’re living in poverty.
The second is benefits. This can include everything from paid vacation days to health insurance and retirement plans. The better the benefits, the happier the employees tend to be.
The third is job satisfaction. This is more difficult to quantify, but it’s important nonetheless. A job can have a high salary and great benefits, but if you’re not satisfied with the work you’re doing, it’s not going to make you happy.
The fourth and final factor is work/life balance. This is especially important in the medical field, where long hours and on-call shifts are common. If you don’t have a good work/life balance, it can lead to burnout – and that’s not happy.
There are also other factors that are harder to quantify. For a cruel, yet revealing example, imagine you were a pathologist. You’d be tasked with performing autopsies, which means you’d see some of the worst that humanity has to offer on a daily basis. It’s a gruesome job that, as you can imagine, isn’t exactly what you’d call happy. These people eventually become desensitized to it, but it’s definitely not something to consider for a list like this one.
For some people, the idea of helping others – even if it’s in a small way – is enough to make them happy. Others need to see tangible results from their efforts. This is something that varies from person to person, so it’s difficult to quantify.
So, with all of that in mind, let’s take a look at the happiest jobs in the medical field.
The 10 Happiest Jobs in the Medical Field
Before we get into the list, let’s define what we mean with the ‘medical field’. For the purposes of this article, we will consider any job that requires a medical degree – so that means doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and so on. We will also be looking at both traditional and non-traditional jobs. You don’t need to be working at an hospital or to have a white coat to be considered part of the medical field.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into the list.
This should come as no surprise. Pediatricians are, after all, working with some of the most vulnerable members of society – children. They not only have the satisfaction of knowing that they’re helping to keep kids healthy, but they also get to see the joy that comes with it.
It’s not all fun and games, though. Pediatricians also have to deal with the heartbreak that comes with sick or injured children. But even then, they know that they’re making a difference in the lives of their patients.
Working with kids is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. You are saving humanity’s future, one child at a time.
Financially, pediatricians do very well, with a mean annual wage close to $200,000. And while right now birth rates aren’t the best, it’s safe to assume we humans will keep making kids for the foreseeable future. So, if you’re looking for a stable and happy career, this is a great option.
If there’s one job that’s both important and fulfilling, it’s nursing. Nurses are the unsung heroes of the medical field. They do so much to help their patients – from providing comfort to administering medication. And they do it all with a smile on their face.
A nurse’s day-to-day job can vary, but it typically involves a lot of hands-on work. They might be caring for patients, administering medication, or even cleaning bedpans. Nurses also have to keep track of patients’ medical conditions and update their charts. They often work long hours, and on-call shifts are not uncommon.
Nurses are some of the most compassionate people you’ll ever meet. They see sick and injured people every day, yet they still manage to see the good in everyone. It’s truly amazing.
It’s not an easy job by any means. But it is a rewarding one. Nurses make a difference in the lives of their patients every single day.
And, like pediatricians, nurses are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of registered nurses will grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030. That’s much faster than the average for all occupations. Plus, their median salary is a respectable $77,610 per year.
So, if you’re looking for a stable and fulfilling career, nursing is a great option.
Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who specialize in pain management. They administer anesthesia to patients before, during, and after surgery. And they also manage pain for patients who are suffering from chronic pain conditions.
In a typical work day, an anesthesiologist might:
- Administer anesthesia to patients before, during, and after surgery
- Monitor patients’ vital signs during surgery
- Manage pain for patients who are suffering from chronic pain conditions
One important thing to note is that you are most likely to work on call. So, if you are the type of person who likes to have a lot of free time, this is not the job for you. You need to be able to work long hours on short notice.
But, if you don’t mind working odd hours, then anesthesiology might be a good fit for you. It’s a very demanding job, but it’s also very rewarding. The field of anesthesia is growing as more and more people need pain management. The good news is that anesthesiologists are very well compensated for their time. The median salary for anesthesiologists in the U.S. is $331,190 per year. And, the job outlook is excellent.
A nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert who helps people make healthy choices. They work with individuals, families, and groups to promote good health through proper nutrition.
Nutritionists often work in hospitals, clinics, or private practices. They might also work in public health or research. And they use a variety of techniques to help their patients improve their health. For example, they might use dietary assessment, counseling, and education to help people make healthy choices.
You can have a direct impact on your clients, and also an indirect one on society as a whole. As the world becomes more and more health-conscious, the demand for nutritionists is expected to grow.
Specifically, the demand for nutritionists is expected to grow by 11% from 2020 to 2030, thanks to the increasing prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases. Salary-wise, a dietician earns $61,650 per year. Not the most lucrative job in the medical field, but still pretty good.
Dentists have one of the most important jobs in the medical field. They are responsible for keeping our teeth healthy. And, as we all know, our teeth are essential for both our health and our appearance.
The job itself isn’t necessarily the best. You’re looking into other people’s mouths all day. And our mouths aren’t exactly the cleanest places in the world.
But, despite all that, dentists are some of the happiest people in the medical field. They get to help people improve their appearance and their health. And they get to do it in a relatively low-stress environment.
Teeth are an important part of everyone’s life. When we have crooked teeth, we are perceived as being less intelligent and trustworthy. When we have yellow teeth, we are perceived as being less attractive. Health-wise, not only are our teeth essential for eating, but they are also connected to our overall health.
Dentists make a good living, with a median salary of $163,220 per year. And while the job can be stressful at times, it’s also very rewarding. Knowing that you are helping people to have beautiful smiles and stay healthy is a great feeling.
6. Respiratory Therapist
Breathing is a bit of a lost art. We often take it for granted, but the fact is that breathing is essential for life. There is good breathing and bad breathing. The diffusion of practices such as Yoga and meditation has increased the public’s awareness of the importance of good breathing.
Respiratory therapists are medical professionals who help people breathe better. They work with patients who have respiratory problems, such as asthma, COPD, and sleep apnea.
In a typical day, a respiratory therapist might:
- Assess patients’ breathing difficulties
- Develop treatment plans to help patients breathe better
- Perform tests to measure lung function
- Educate patients on how to manage their respiratory problems
Your work will have an immediate impact on your patients – you will help them to breathe better and live a better quality of life. And, respiratory therapy is a growing field. The demand for respiratory therapists is expected to grow by 23% from 2020 to 2030. That’s much faster than the average for all occupations.
The only downside is that the job is not as financially rewarding as other jobs on the field. The median salary for respiratory therapists in the U.S. is $61,830 per year. It’s still a more than livable salary, just lower in comparison to others on this list.
Optometrists are responsible for helping people’s eyesight. They perform eye exams, prescribe glasses and contact lenses, and diagnose and treat vision problems. Sight is our most important sense, and without it, we would be lost. Whenever we see a blind person we wonder how they cope and function in their daily lives. Meanwhile, we can’t even notice if someone lost their sense of smell. We aren’t saying that smell is not important, but living without vision is harsher than living without smell.
Now, you may be wondering about ophthalmologists – don’t they do a similar job? They do, but ophthalmologists are medical doctors who treat more serious eye conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts. Basically, optometrist are the stress-free version of ophthalmologists. Depending on your interests and aspirations, you might want to look into the latter. But for the sake of this list, optometrist are the happier ones.
Optometrists typically work in private practices or optical stores. They usually have regular hours and don’t have to deal with the same kind of stress that other medical
Optometrists are in high demand, as the population ages and more people need vision correction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of optometrists will grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030. That’s much faster than the average for all occupations. And, with a median salary of $124,300 per year, it’s a great career option.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat mental health conditions. Mental health is often overlooked, but it’s just as important as physical health. In fact, mental health is essential for overall well-being.
Mental illness is more common than you might think. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in any given year. That’s a lot of people who need help.
Psychiatrists are in a unique position to help people who are suffering from mental illness. They are trained to understand the complex relationship between mind and body. And they can prescribe medication to treat mental illness.
The field of psychiatry is growing as more and more people understand the importance of mental health. And it’s a very lucrative career too. The median wage for psychiatrists in the U.S. is $249,760.
Warning: We must say that it’s not always easy to help people who are suffering from mental illness. It can be very emotionally draining. Some of the stories you hear will make your heart skip a beat, and your mind will race with worry. But it’s also very rewarding to know that you are making a difference in someone’s life.
9. Physical Therapist
Physical therapists help people recover from injuries and improve their movement. They work with patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly.
Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to help their patients. They might use:
- Heat and cold therapy
- Electrical stimulation
Patients often come to physical therapy to recover from a sports injury, car accident, or surgery. But physical therapists also work with patients who have chronic conditions, such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Anything that has to do with how our body moves is within the scope of physical therapy.
The job outlook for physical therapists is very good. The demand for PTs is expected to grow by 21% from 2020 to 2030, thanks to our aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions. That’s much faster than the average for all occupations. And, with a median salary of $95,620 per year per year, it’s a very financially rewarding career.
10. Speech-Language Pathologist
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) help people with communication disorders. This can include anything from stuttering to difficulty understanding or using spoken language. Since language is our main vehicle of communication, you can imagine how important it is to be able to speak effectively.
SLPs work with people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. They might work in a hospital, private practice, or school setting. And they use a variety of techniques to help their patients improve their communication skills. For example, they might use techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and sound-based therapy to help people with communication disorders.
The demand for SLPs is expected to grow by 25% from 2020 to 2030, thanks to our aging population and the increasing prevalence of communication disorders. That’s much faster than the average for all occupations. And, with a median salary of $79,120 per.
These are just a few of the happiest jobs in the medical field. If you’re considering a career in healthcare, there are many options to choose from. And, with the demand for healthcare workers expected to grow in the coming years, now is a great time to enter the field.
The medical field is a mixed bag. Sometimes you have to deal with sick people and sometimes you have to see people at their worst. But, if you’re the kind of person who gets satisfaction from helping others, then a career in healthcare could be the perfect fit for you.
While some of the jobs on this list, like anesthesiologist, require a lot of schooling, there are many jobs in healthcare that don’t require a college degree. So, if you’re looking for a rewarding career that can make a difference in people’s lives, consider one of the jobs on this list.