Shift to a career in Health

Need a change? Need a job?

If you have been thinking about changing careers then why not consider a career in health? 

There are over 200 careers in health and any one could be perfect for you. Some roles offer on-the-job training and others require tertiary study. You may even find one that is a natural next step up or across from what you're already doing.

Read the stories below of others who have already walked the path that you may be considering to travel down.... 

Jason, Medical Radiation Therapist

“Each step of my career in health has led to bigger and better things. I began as an Orderly,
became a Patient Care Assistant and I’m now a Medical Radiation Therapist (MRT). I use x-ray machines to provide images of the body. Patients come to me with all sorts of conditions, and examining them isn’t always straight forward. I have to think creatively and work around their injuries to get the images we need for a proper diagnosis. We spend very little time with each patient, but the images we produce can have a major impact on their treatment and care. Working with patients as well as hi-tech medical equipment is the perfect combination. If it also sounds perfect for you then look into becoming an MRT”. 


Elisapaeta, Community Health Worker

For ten years I worked as a Passport and Citizenship Officer. When my workplace went through restructuring, I decided to become a Community Health Worker. When I applied for the role, I had no qualifications in Community Health Work. Because of family commitments, I couldn’t study full time or afford the fees. With the support and financial help from my employer, I completed the Certificate in Community Health Work. The heart of what I do is education and motivating people to lead healthy and independent lives, as well as help with access to community services. Our community needs more people to support them in this way- you can be one of them”.


Evi, Midwife

“Before I became a midwife, I was a teacher at a swimming school. When I started my Midwifery training, I was raising two teenagers on my own. Maintaining a well-balanced work and home life was challenging, but I did it! This is proof that others in similar situations can do it too. Because I work in the hospital on rostered shifts, I know exactly when I’m working and when I’m not. I don’t always have to work Monday to Friday which suits my current lifestyle. As a Midwife, I support women and families during a special time in their lives. If you’d like to support and educate women and families during pregnancy, birth and the new born stage made Midwifery your career choice.


Sophia, Dental Therapist

“I finished a Computer Science degree and realised it wasn’t what I wanted in a job, so after travelling overseas, I decided to train as a Dental Therapist. I studied Oral Health and because I had no experience in Oral Health, my training was all the more interesting. The highlight of my job is working with children. I’m thrilled when I see my treatment relieving their pain and improving their oral health”.

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Cassandra, Peer Support Specialist

“The opportunity to become a Peer Support Specialist came when I was in the early stages of recovery from a mental illness. I’m a qualified primary school teacher, but I hadn’t been employed for two years. In 2005, I completed the Peer Employment Training Programme. Four years later, I’m now the professional leader for the Peer Support Specialists in mental health. Peer Support Specialists are people who have had a personal experience with recovering from mental illness and want to help others recover. I was impressed that my employer recognises the experience of mental health sufferers and how valuable this is in helping other people’s recovery”.


Rae, Dietetic and Speech Language Therapy Assistant

“For twenty years, I worked in administration roles in health - as a Receptionist and a Ward Clerk. Although I enjoyed the work, my desire was to have more patient contact. As a Dietetic Assistant, the main thing I do is screen patients for malnutrition. I ask questions about their appetite and measure their height and weight. If a patient is considered a high risk, I refer them to a Dietitian. The other part of my job is Speech Language Therapy. Here I work through communication exercises with patients and keep the Speech Language Therapist updated on their progress. I strongly encourage anyone who has a desire for a more fulfilling job to stop thinking about it and     make the change. It may mean moving out of your comfort zone, but it’s well worth it”. 


Roshni, Pharmacy Technician

“I used to be a Procurement Officer in a pharmaceutical company in Fiji. When I moved to New Zealand, I worked in a retail pharmacy as a Pharmacy Assistant. I did my training at a tertiary hospital while looking after my young kids. It’s very practical. You learn on the job and a Pharmacist from my team mentored me. Day-to-day, I look after our drug supply and prepare medicines for the wards. Because the job is so practical, good concentration skills and attention to detail are essential. Knowing that I play a part in saving lives and keeping people well is the best part of my job. I also love the variety of people and situations that come with each day. If you like the sounds of this role, make the move - it’s never too late!”


Anne, Programme Manager

“I used to lecture in Business Studies at AUT before I shifted into health. In my job, I teach others to see life through a cultural lens. I design innovative approaches to improve health outcomes for Pacific populations, and I get to work with Pacific and other health sector leaders, health workers and agencies. An essential skill for this role is understanding how to network and collaborate with others. If you’re looking for a place to make a difference, grow, be challenged, supported and valued then come and work in health. We need an army of soldiers from all ethnicities and all walks of life to serve our diverse community.”

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Thomas, Health Promoter

“Before coming into health, I was a Maori performing arts teacher. I didn’t have any medical training, but when I read the job description for the Health Promoter job, I realised it was something I could be good at. I help schools identify their health needs, and then work with staff and members of the school community to improve them. I get on the job training, which covers everything from building relationships with communities to facilitating with confidence. Our team has a good mix of cultures, backgrounds and ages, so we share ideas, learn from each other’s experiences, and relate to the diverse communities we work with.”


Rae, Social Worker

“After 29 years as a Postal Worker, I was made redundant. I had no qualifications, and my husband had recently passed away. I wondered if it would be worth doing a diploma at my age. I pictured myself on the benefit, standing in a queue waiting for handouts, and I thought there must be a better option. I saw how beneficiaries were being treated, and I knew I could do more to care for them - I was inspired.
I completed a Diploma in Social Work, but I didn’t stop there. After that, I moved into Maori Mental Health for my local DHB and with their support I completed a Bachelor of Social Work. A big part of being a Social Worker is knowing how to communicate with people to find out what they need. If helping people take control of their lives inspires you too, then social work is the way to go.”


Brian, Registered Nurse Student

“I helped nurse my mother when she was sick and bedridden. While doing this, I discovered that I enjoyed nursing, so I decided to make it my job. As part of my training, I’ve had hospital and community placements. Most of these have focused on age care, because supporting and caring for the needs of older adults appealed to me. I love that I can build meaningful, long term relationships with the patients - it makes my job even more fulfilling.  With nursing, there are a variety of areas to work in. Find out what type of nurse you want to be and make it happen.”


Ian, Anaesthetic Technician

“I was a Health Care Assistant, but I wanted a job that would fulfil my interests in medical knowledge, so I became an Anaesthetic Technician. Training is classroom based and on the job so you get paid to work full time in the hospital. During training, I would prepare the anaesthetic machine and equipment and help the Anaesthetist monitor the patient before, during and after the operation. I get to see some interesting medical cases like heart operations and organ transplants.
To do this job you can’t get faint at the sight of blood. You also have to enjoy working with hi-tech equipment, have a good eye for detail and remember that learning on the job is a continuous process.”  

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