Careers in the healthcare field are plentiful. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is adding more jobs than any other field. Some of this is a direct result of the sheer number of baby boomers aging into a bracket that needs more medical care while simultaneously retiring from the healthcare field.

This type of job market does make it easier to find a placement in your chosen field, but it doesn’t guarantee you the right placement. Developing a career plan will help you assess where you are and where you want to go professionally.

Career Planning: What Is It and How Can It Help?

Businesses develop a business plan before they even launch. This helps them identify the market and develop the blueprint that will help them reach success. This can be a simple or complex process but the main reason behind planning is to fully imagine your goals so that you can plot the steps to reach them.

The same basic premise works in career planning. If you identify what you want, you can visualize how to reach it. In healthcare, there can be different amounts of necessary training and education to reach the minimum skill level to enter the field. There is often more work to be done in order to excel at your position once you’re in the field.

If you develop a career path, you can often find the best path toward your goals.

Career planning isn’t just a step you should take in college, prior to picking your chosen field. You can revisit your career plan at any time and reassess where you are and where you want to go. Healthcare workers sometimes enter the field and find that they have an interest in a different specialty or position.

How to Develop Your Healthcare Career Plan

Developing a career plan can be very simple or fairly complex. Some people want to research every bit of data and educate themselves as fully as possible before ever trying to plan their career. Other people dive in as soon as they’ve made a decision.

The detail you use can be individual to the way that you work. For instance, if you were a student who did well following outlines, planning your career with multiple, very detailed steps might benefit you. For others, the planning stage can become a form of procrastination. They won’t move toward their goals until their plan is perfect. At some point, you need to move forward. Remember, too, that your career plan can (and should) be adjusted throughout the course of your professional life.

These are some basic steps to follow as you start your career planning:

  • Know Thyself. Your plan always starts with an honest assessment of yourself. This includes your current skill level and personal preferences as far as the type of facility you’d like to work in and specific job in healthcare you’d like to pursue. You might even start this process with a list of possible job choices and then narrow them down as you learn more about them. This is a good time to research positions and talk to people in the industry to get a great feel for the responsibilities and lifestyle you’ll have if you pursue that career.
  • Planning the Process. Once you know what career you’d like, you need to plan the steps to get there. Talk to the experts and look for role models to help you develop a plan to help you build the skills you need for that profession.
  • No plan works unless you physically start the process. Assessing and planning what career you want is great but you need to stop planning and start moving toward these goals.

Your dream healthcare career might need more detailed planning, especially when large amounts of education are required. But starting with a plan is the most practical way to increase your chances of success.