With most of us working until we are at least 65 years of age before retiring, choosing a career path is not something you will enter into lightly. The amount of work required to obtain a career is extensive, especially for people looking to enter the medical field. So how can you be sure you are selecting the right medical career for you? Here are some things you should consider in the selection process.

What is your motivation?

In any career you will need to have a long, hard think about what is driving you to pursue that kind of position in the first place. With many television dramas romanticising a career as a doctor or surgeon, you need to be sure you have realistic expectations of what to expect. For those entering medicine, it’s long hours, a lot of hard work and huge responsibility as people’s lives are in your hands. Whether you are looking to care for people, improve treatment methods, take research that step further or are looking to advance as far as you can, your motivation will help to steer you in the right direction.

Be honest about the type of person you are

In order to find the best role for you, you need to be honest and evaluate your personality and skillset. Are you someone who works best in a team? Are you good with people? Are you someone who handles stress extremely well and thrives in high pressure environments? Are you a very sensitive person? The answer to these questions will help you narrow down the areas that are going to suit you most. For example, someone who thrives on pressure and excitement may not feel fulfilled in an administrative office job and may be better suited to the ER or military medical jobs.

What type of environment do you want to work in?

Once you have an idea of your personality and skills, you can start having a think about the type of environment you think you will thrive best in. Remember, there are a wide range of areas within the medical field and this goes beyond being a GP or surgeon. For those good with children perhaps a paediatric clinic is the way for you. For those wishing to assist the elderly, an assisted living community or aged care facility may be best. Some may choose to have less interaction and prefer to work in a lab.

More than the environment, you will also need to consider the physical location of the types of roles you are considering. Are there places nearby where you could obtain a role? If not, are you willing to move to a place that is offering positions?

Once you have narrowed it down to a couple of potential career pathways, it is then a matter of looking at the education/training that is required and assess whether you are willing to put in the hard yards to obtain it.