Health careers to start your heart

A white male hand holds a stethoscope on to a graphic of a heart while another hand draws a line from the graphic of the heart.

Fast-paced, exciting work with the chance to travel and give back to your community – if someone describes their career this way, chances are they work in health. And that's a smart choice – as well as having a raft of fulfilling and heart-pumping careers, the health industry is also red-hot with job opportunities, with around 25,000 new nurses and 400 new specialists needed by 2030, just for starters.

We’ve rounded up our top reasons why a career in health will get your heart pumping.

Cull the dull in your day

Health workers never know what the day will bring. Even seemingly calm jobs, such as working in a laboratory as a technician, bring excitement – there are always new diseases, new discoveries, and new problems to solve.

General practitioners (GPs) see their share of excitement too:

Medical practice can get quite dramatic in a small rural town. I’ve seen everything at the hospital: gunshot wounds, heart attacks and amputations. I’ve also had parents carrying children through the doors with meningitis. You really do get to use all your skills.

Ron James, General Practitioner

If you can handle the changeable, high stakes and high energy environment in health, check out these jobs in our job profiles:

Change someone’s life

Every day you work in health makes a difference to someone’s life. Whether you’re an anaesthetist making sure a patient doesn’t wake up during surgery, or a speech and language therapist helping children learn how to eat, with a health career you have the power to change lives. 

It can be uplifting to be able to make a difference:

I feel very lucky because I come to work each day and love what I do. Occupational therapy is a great job. I gain great satisfaction in being able to help others achieve their goals and I have a job that has a real impact on improving individuals’ quality of life.

Christine King, Occupational Therapist

Make a difference with these health jobs:

Go places and earn

Always wanted to travel? Having a qualification in health opens up an exciting range of opportunities to travel and work in many countries. And it’s not just doctors and nurses who travel – medical radiation technologists and biomedical technicians are also in demand globally.

If you want to stay closer to home, moving to a rural area to work can really pay off. Recently, a Tokoroa clinic offered a salary of $400,000 with extra benefits for a general practitioner to move there, and many rural areas offer a top-up on salaries to attract more health workers.

Jet-set with these health careers:

Find out more


  • Ministry of Health, ‘Health of the Health Workforce Report 2015’, 15 February 2016, (
  • New Zealand Immigration, ‘Healthcare Jobs’, accessed 5 October 2016, (
  • Wilson, L, ‘More GPs Needed in Rural Areas Says Waikato University Professor’, 20 July 2016, (