Want to make a difference in healthcare, but not sure if nursing, medical or other professional programs are for you? Consider preparing for non-clinical health jobs. Whether you want to improve patient outcomes, contribute to public health, promote general well-being or manage programs or health organizations, there are plenty of opportunities when it comes to non-clinical healthcare jobs for health majors.
Candice Howard-Smith, Ph.D., professor and coordinator for interprofessional health sciences at Troy University, says it’s common for students not to know what they want to do beyond work in healthcare. “They might know they want to help people, or work in a hospital or do something related to fitness and wellness,” she says. “But they do know they don’t want to work in nursing, go to medical school or pursue a professional degree program.”
TROY, she says, aims to help such students discover the wide variety of non-clinical health jobs that await them.
Clinical vs. Non-Clinical: What’s the Difference?
Before exploring your career options, it’s important to know the difference between clinical vs. non-clinical healthcare jobs.
Clinical healthcare is direct patient care. It includes the diagnosis, treatment and management of medical conditions. Clinical healthcare professionals include physicians, nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists and other health-related practitioners.
Non-clinical healthcare involves little or no direct patient care. It includes general health promotion, health administration, policy and more. Non-clinical healthcare complements clinical healthcare by providing comprehensive patient services and contributing to their overall well-being and health.
Exploring Healthcare and Related Fields
The healthcare field is expansive, encompassing primary care, clinics, hospitals and hospital systems, specialty care and urgent care. It also includes smaller organizations, such as rural healthcare facilities, community health centers, maternity clinics, hospices and more.
All of these facilities require a variety of personnel to function effectively — and not just clinical staff. Healthcare facilities need administrators, program coordinators, case managers, marketing and public relations professionals, human resource staff, mental health professionals, health educators and researchers, to name a few. If you’re interested in non-medical health careers but still want to work in health care, there are almost endless opportunities to find your fit.
If you’re passionate about health and wellness, consider these fields:
- Public health: Improve community and population health through disease prevention, health education, policy development and health promotion.
- Mental health and social services: Provide support, services and programs for individuals struggling with mental health challenges, such as addiction, eating disorders, suicidal ideation and trauma.
- Fitness: Improve physical health through exercise, nutrition and lifestyle.
- Health policy and administration: Develop, implement and manage healthcare policies, systems and organizations.
- Health education: Promote healthy behaviors and educate individuals and communities on how to improve health.
- Sports coaching: Help athletes and teams improve performance and achieve competitive goals.
Other fields include epidemiology, medical research, sports medicine and rehabilitation. Each of these holds promise for health majors looking for non-clinical health jobs.
Types of Health Careers in Healthcare Organizations
So, what are some specific non-clinical healthcare jobs? It depends on your major and work experience. TROY’s interprofessional health sciences degree is one way to prepare for non-clinical healthcare jobs. It provides a sound foundation in areas such as nutrition and career exploration in occupational health sciences. You’ll then build on that solid foundation with courses related to healthcare settings, including business, communication, health sciences and human services.
TROY’s interprofessional health sciences program is excellent for students who do not want to be a healthcare provider but want to work in healthcare settings and contribute as a manager, administrator, director, coordinator, social services worker, case worker or a related role, notes Dr. Howard-Smith.
“It’s not only for administration or human services,” she explains. “We also have students who want to be certified strength and conditioning coaches. This major can be used to get all the prerequisites required for a professional program while still getting a degree that has a focus. It’s a really customizable program based on a student’s needs.”
Some of the best healthcare careers for health sciences majors looking to work in non-clinical roles in hospitals or clinics include:
- Health services manager
- Healthcare marketing manager
- Healthcare educator
- HR manager
- Public relations specialist
“With these careers, you’re still working with the public and drawing on your health education. You’re just not providing direct care,” says Dr. Howard-Smith. “For many of our students, that allows them to tap into their interests and talents in other areas, such as communication, management or research.”
To prepare for these types of health careers, you can choose a TROY minor in entrepreneurship, promotion, advertising media, communication studies, public relations or case management. Other related minors at TROY include health promotion, foundations of health sciences and human services.
Types of Health Careers in Health-Related Settings
TROY’s interprofessional health sciences degree also prepares you for non-clinical health jobs in nonprofits, government agencies, public health departments, rehabilitation centers, mental health organizations, and health and wellness companies. TROY’s program offers training in health promotion, human services, social work, nutrition, exercise science, coaching — or almost any career path you choose.
“The interprofessional aspect is crucial for non-clinical health jobs because you need to know how to collaborate with providers and other health professionals,” says Dr. Howard-Smith. “But you also need to have a broad base of knowledge that you can apply to various situations. For example, ethics, law, cultural competence, communication and interpersonal skills are critical regardless of your position, whether you work in public health or help administer hospice care.”
Some of the best health careers for health sciences majors who want to work in non-clinical settings include:
- Health educator
- Hospice administrator
- Mental health program coordinator
- Pharmaceutical sales person
- Public health specialist
- Social and community services manager
- Social services case worker
- Sports coach
With additional education or certifications, you can also pursue non-clinical health careers like strength and conditioning specialist, medical equipment sales and wellness director.
If you want to work in the health field but aren’t sure which non-clinical health jobs are for you, TROY’s program builds career exploration into a foundational course.
“Students in our program have the opportunity to explore different career options in a dedicated course,” notes Dr. Howard-Smith. “The objective is to introduce students to a variety of future endeavors, whether it’s continuing their education, obtaining a certification in an area or getting a job right after graduation. If you come into the program without a specific end goal, this class will help you land on one.”
Start Your Non-Clinical Healthcare Career at TROY
The biggest advantage of TROY’s health sciences degree, according to Dr. Howard-Smith, is that it’s customizable.
“Every student’s goal and need is different. This degree program offers them the flexibility they need to truly follow their unique career path,” she says. Ready to take the next step in your health career? Explore the interprofessional health sciences degree program to learn more.