Imprisonment has caused the derailment of many a career. Felons struggle to find jobs when released. This is partly due to the number of years spent out of the job market.
While their peers are gaining work experience and training, felons are often stuck in prison. By the time they are free, they are way behind what age-mates have achieved.
Despite its high level of specialization, many felons do aspire to join the field of medicine. So what are the best medical jobs for felons?
When we think of medical careers, jobs like being a doctor and nurse often come to mind. In reality, the healthcare field is quite wide with a range of career opportunities.
Depending on what career path you choose, the level of training can vary. Some certificate programs can last less than a year while degrees will take several years. For many felons, shorter courses are a better option. They offer a faster way to get started in the field.
Whatever the length of training, there are sometimes certain barriers to joining this field. Before one begins to pursue these careers, it is vital to do the research. Let’s first consider these challenges and how they can affect prospects.
Challenges of Joining the Medical Field
One of the biggest concerns with medical careers is licensure. To become a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional often means having to acquire a license. This comes after completing the required educational training.
However different states have different licensing requirements. Some do prevent felons from qualifying for licenses. Others may only exclude specific crimes or set waiting periods.
It is advisable to familiarize yourself with state licensing requirements before even starting on training. This will let you know if this is a viable career path to embark on.
If your criminal history is a barrier, you may want to consider choosing a different career or relocate.
Another barrier that felons tend to encounter is that of funding for education. Medical courses are often amongst the most expensive to take up. Not just the tuition, but also the books.
There are resources like Pell grants that can reduce the burden. But felons may have to contend with taking up costly loans to cover the difference. These can tie them down for years to come.
Medical schools also have their admission requirements. Many have rules against permitting students with felony convictions. This is to ensure a high ethical standard amongst its graduates.
Just as with states, it is best to find out what rules apply to those with criminal convictions. You may want to consider schools with less strict admission rules.
Employers also have strict guidelines and carry out extensive background checks. Because of the vulnerable people they deal with, confidential records, and narcotic medications, care is taken. Felons may find it difficult to secure work in such environments.
Despite all this, some felons do manage to achieve successful medical careers. Let’s look at why this field is so appealing.
Why Pursue a Medical Career?
One of the top reasons people join the field is job satisfaction. Healthcare careers are all about helping people in need get help.
There is a lot of personal satisfaction derived from being able to soothe someone’s suffering. Many also find it challenging and satisfying to figure out the cause of people’s health problems. And then work out solutions.
Another upside is that the pay can be quite good. Medical jobs are amongst the best remunerated. The more specialized, the more income one can earn.
Those in research can also benefit from grants and awards. Recognition is also often high. Rewards can come in the way of money, ceremonial awards, and more.
It is also a sector with many job openings. You can find work in just about any place you decide to settle.
Career growth opportunities are also plentiful. With people always in need of medical care, there will always be demand for these services and organizations.
So given all the upsides, what medical jobs can felons qualify for?
Best Medical Jobs for Felons
The higher profile career, the tougher the ethical standards. This is why felons can find it particularly difficult to qualify as doctors and nurses.
There are however lower-level medical jobs that are more accessible. Let’s look at some of the best options with lower academic and experience thresholds.
Home Care Aide
Many people live at home or in care facilities with physical or mental impairments. They may find it difficult to carry out even simple tasks like going to the bathroom. A home care aide or assistant helps with this.
The amount of work involved tends to vary depending on the patient’s condition. The position can be part-time, full-time, or even live-in. some of the duties involved include:
- Helping patients get dressed/undressed
- Assist with bathing and grooming
- Supervise taking of medication
- Book appointments and accompany patients to doctor visits
- Assist patients with day-to-day activities like cooking and cleaning
This is one of the simplest medical field jobs. One can start with no experience or certification and simply learn on the job.
It does however help to pursue some training. There are both school-based and online courses to pursue. It is a good first job to consider when deciding if a medical career is worth advancing into.
The median salary for these aides is about $23,210.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
CNAs work under the supervision of registered or licensed practical nurses. Also referred to as nurse’s aides, they assist patients with everyday tasks. This career can often be a stepping stone towards becoming a licensed or registered nurse.
Some of the tasks performed by CNAs include:
- Collecting and recording patient vital signs
- Turning and repositioning bedridden patients
- Feeding and bathing patients
- Cleaning hospital rooms
- Changing and washing bed linen
- Dress wounds
- Stock supplies
These are duties that can be undertaken at any hospital. CNAs can however also be found at hospices, retirement homes, and rehabilitation centers. Their median salary in the U.S. stands at just under $30,000.
Medical Administrative Assistant
Also referred to as a medical office assistant, this is a desk job. It entails duties such as:
- General accounting and medical billing services
- Updating patient records
- Booking appointments
- Ordering office inventory
- Transcribing medical notes
- Responding to phone inquiries and emails
This job helps ensure the smooth running of a doctor’s practice or hospital department. There are certificate, diploma, and associate degrees that can be taken to qualify. They train on the skills and terminologies required to work in this environment.
While not mandatory, there are credentials one can acquire as a medical office assistant. They can be gained through the National Heathcareer Association and the American Association of Medical Assistants. The median salary for medical assistants stands at about $34,800.
This is a finance position within the medical field. Medical billers submit medical claims to insurers. This work requires attention to detail when filling in data in online systems. Duties can include:
- Submitting medical claims to insurers
- Check eligibility of patients for treatments and procedures
- Check patient billing for accuracy and completeness
- Follow up on unpaid claims
- Arrange patient payment plans
This career may require one to acquire at least a year’s experience in a medical office environment. A qualification in accounting, insurance, or healthcare administration may also be needed.
This is a popular choice for felons as one can work as a medical biller from home. Work at home careers are less stringent on background check issues. The pay is also good with medical salaries ranging around $40,350.
These are just a few of the many jobs available in the medical field. As a felon, even these jobs can be challenging to secure. Those that do succeed often go through stressful appeals and campaigns.
Many employers in the field have to abide by strict rules. Access to patient records, certain medications, and the Medicare system can make hiring tricky. Federal and state oversight can make them reluctant to give second chances even to a great potential hire.
Before you start on a career path with so many potential pitfalls, do the research. Consider the duties you will have to undertake and if your felony will be a barrier.
Also, consider if a license is involved. State licensing boards have their standards to be met. Even medical schools can be problematic when allowing a felon to graduate from their program.
The reality is that there are many great jobs out there. Many do not delve into your background and can be quite lucrative. They can offer great career advancement and even the potential to start your own business.
Do not feel tied down to limited options. Talk to a career counselor or simply do a little online research. You are bound to find something satisfying and well-paying with an open attitude and a strong work ethic.