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5 ways to take your health career overseas

Photo: 5 ways to take your health career overseas
Whether you're a trained GP, a nurse, a health policy specialist, a pharmaceutical developer, or anywhere in between, your skills can take you anywhere.

Qualified healthcare professionals of all stripes are in huge demand everywhere in the world, with every indication being that this demand will rise in the future.

Working somewhere other than your home country can have significant benefits.

It can help you to develop valuable new skills, or immerse yourself in a different healthcare culture, or pursue more humanitarian goals for the good of everybody.

If you want to broaden your horizons and take your healthcare career overseas, it is important to make sure that you stand out from other candidates.

Here are the five simple steps you can take to ensure that you have your pick of international healthcare roles.
Know Your Goals

Before you begin your globetrotting career journey, it is important to have a strong sense of your goals and why you actually want to move.

For some, practising medicine overseas offers a chance to make substantially more money than they would at home.

For others, it is a chance to help those most in need, working in humanitarian settings to save the lives of the most vulnerable.

Then there are those that view working overseas as an exciting chance to get in on the ground floor of the medical innovations of tomorrow.

Whatever your motivation, make sure you allow this to guide your job hunting process.

Master English

If you already have a specific country in mind, you will most likely need to be fluent in the local language before you apply, especially if you wish to work in a patient-facing setting.

For everywhere else, having a strong grasp of professional English is key, especially if you wish to work at a large multinational healthcare company.

In addition, strong English skills will put you at the front of the queue for roles in popular global destinations such as the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada.

Consider resources that allow you to learn conversational English with a real native speaker outside of your office hours, as this will have the most impact on your development.

Get Your Qualifications Recognised

Many highly qualified medical professionals fail to realise that their credentials are not recognized outside of their home country.

It is crucial that you learn the process of getting your existing qualifications translated and recognized in the country you wish to work in.

Luckily, there is nearly always a streamlined, highly formalised process for doing this, especially in wealthier regions such as the EU, which is keen to court trained medical staff from around the globe.

Remember, in some cases, you will actually need to complete additional examinations or training prior to or straight after your arrival in order to begin legally practising your profession in your chosen country.

Learn Where You Are Needed

While medical professionals are needed everywhere, some places need specific types of professionals more than others.

For example, here in Australia, the Government maintains a regularly-updated list of "shortage occupations", outlining the types of professionals that are most in need and therefore most likely to obtain a fast-track visa and paid employment.

Make sure to conduct thorough research to find out which countries are in need of the skills that you can offer.

By choosing the right destination, the process of relocating, obtaining your paperwork, and getting your qualifications recognised will typically be much, much smoother.

Make Contact With the Right Organisations

Finding the right medical role for you can be a complicated undertaking.

Navigating job sites alone will not yield the results you need. Therefore, it is important to reach out to the organisations that can help you match you with the types of roles you are looking for.

For those looking to work in humanitarian settings, for instance, it is worth joining the career network for major NGOs such as Medecins sans Frontieres or the Red Cross.

Those looking to work in specific national health systems, such as the UK's NHS, would benefit from signing up to the British Medical Association's Careers Portal.

The right organisation will match you with the right opportunity.

These steps can help you take your medical skills anywhere in the world where you wish to go.

A little preparation goes a long way.

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