Top Jobs in Women’s Health Guide

Whether you're a business leader, social worker, or registered nurse, there's a place for you in women's health. Learn about top jobs in women's health.

portrait of James Mielke
by James Mielke

Published August 31, 2022

Edited by Colin Weickmann
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Top Jobs in Women’s Health Guide
Image Credit: Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images


Whether you're completing an MBA, tackling a pre-med curriculum, or finishing a social work internship, the expansive field of women's health is home to limitless career options. Jobs in women's health include many diverse roles from nursing to nonprofit management.

Read on to learn about popular career areas in women's health, their earning potential, job outlooks, and what it takes to pursue various jobs. If dedicated to advocating for and expanding women's health, the business-minded executive and clinical healthcare professional are equally at home in women's health. See which job in women's health mirrors your skills and interests.

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Why Work in Women's Health?

For those passionate about women's health, many reasons exist to work in this professional field.

Are you a student who wants to ensure that women have successful pregnancies? Or, do you want to use your social work degree to improve the community health outcomes for women? Careers are available, growing, and often offer wages above the national median.

One of the main benefits of working in women's health is that many professional opportunities exist. Generalist careers, family planning and reproductive health, violence prevention, and cancer treatment all provide career options that lean on an extensive list of skills. Women's health is open to lactation consultants and MBA grads alike.

Women's General Health Careers

Whether a doctor, nurse, or healthcare services manager, these professionals are often on the frontline in women's health. General women's health careers can include family physicians, women's health nurse practitioners, and registered nurses (RNs).

Learn how these generalist healthcare careers play a vital role in the day-to-day services of women's health.

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

A women's health nurse practitioner typically offers medical expertise in areas including gynecological, obstetric, and reproductive health. Responsibilities and areas of specialization can vary, but these professionals utilize training to offer competent healthcare for women throughout their lifespans.

Daily responsibilities can vary significantly, but common tasks include conducting gynecological exams, prescribing medication, crafting treatment plans, and various diagnostic work. These professionals typically work closely with doctors to address patient needs and create treatment plans.

Registered Nurse

An essential part of the healthcare world, there are more than 3 millionregistered nurses in the United States. Relying on hands-on training and professional licensure, these workers assess patient conditions, record essential health information, operate medical equipment, and work with other healthcare professionals to establish treatment plans.

In addition to foundational nursing courses and skills, registered nurses can also tackle specializations and certifications in areas such as substance misuse, genetics, neonatal, and public health nursing.

Family Medicine Physician

Family medicine physicians are healthcare generalists who address the typical healthcare needs of individuals and families. Requiring the completion of an MD degree and national licensure, these professionals assess, diagnose, and treat common ailments facing children and adults alike.

Upon graduation from an accredited MD program, these medical professionals complete a residency in family medicine. Along with their medical license, family medicine physicians must secure certification from the ABFM or AOBFP.

Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work alongside physical therapists to address the needs of women recovering from various injuries and surgeries. These professionals work closely with physical therapists to treat patients through exercises and targeted massage while also closely monitoring patient progress and recording critical information.

PTAs must complete an associate degree program that holds accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Upon graduation, PTAs must successfully complete a licensure exam.

Health Services Manager

Typically holding at least a bachelor's degree, health services managers, executives, and administrators play a vital role in the effective functioning of various healthcare facilities. Whether overseeing a sizable facility or a clinical department, these professionals utilize experience and training to manage their sites' finances, hiring, and efficiency.

These healthcare leaders work closely with clinicians and administrative staff to ensure their facility meets all of the necessary legal and regulatory standards. Additionally, these workers assess performance and establish plans to enhance quality and performance.

Family Planning and Women's Reproductive Health Careers

OB/GYN nurses, doctors, sonographers, and lactation consultants continue to play an essential role in women's health. Various family planning and reproductive health jobs are listed below.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Nurse

Obstetrics and gynecology nurses utilize training and experience to offer competent healthcare in reproductive health. These registered nurses work alongside OB/GYN physicians and often assist in routine examinations, screening services, and recording essential patient information.

OB/GYN nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, community clinics, family planning centers, and urgent care clinics. During their academic experience, aspiring OB/GYN nurses gain experience in areas such as fetal heart monitoring, obstetric patient safety, postpartum issues, and women's reproductive health.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Physician

These healthcare professionals utilize their expertise and extensive training to provide patients with competent care for women. OB/GYN physicians address childbirth issues, female reproductive health, and pregnancy. Additionally, these professionals assist in diagnosing and treating health issues and family planning.

OB/GYN physicians must hold a medical doctor degree and complete the requirements necessary to secure board certification. Standard responsibilities can include performing pelvic and breast exams, monitoring pregnancies, and various diagnostic work.

Sonographer

Medical sonographers gain essential training to operate diagnostic imaging equipment. Vital to the diagnostic process, these professionals take patient medical histories, prepare diagnostic equipment, and ensure the quality of images. Diagnostic imaging workers also assess images and prepare an overview for physicians.

These professionals can also specialize in obstetric and gynecological sonography. These workers track fetal health and development and work alongside physicians to evaluate potential congenital disabilities and other issues.

Labor and Delivery Nurse

Labor and delivery (L&D) nurses lean on their clinical experiences and professional licensure to offer compassionate and competent care for both those giving birth and newborns. While this career only technically requires an associate degree and nursing licensure, it is common for L&D nurses to hold a bachelor's degree in the field.

These professionals work alongside OB/GYN doctors and nurses to ensure safety in labor and delivery. Additionally, L&D nurses consider the holistic health of patients and provide critical care for their emotional and physical health.

Lactation Consultant

Lactation consultants supply clients with valuable information about lactation and breastfeeding. Traditionally working in healthcare settings, these professionals advise parents on breastfeeding along with troubleshooting issues like low or mild production, breast pain, and latching issues.

Requirements can vary between employers, but these healthcare professionals are often registered nurses. Lactation consultants often complete specialized training and certification through the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.

Infertility Specialist

Infertility specialists gain foundational medical training by completing a medical doctor degree while completing the necessary requirements to secure certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. These professionals then gain extensive clinical training alongside reproductive endocrinologists.

These women's health professionals lean on their training to address fertility issues, fertility preservation, uterine problems, and various genetic diseases impacting future children. Infertility specialists also treat issues such as endometriosis and amenorrhea.

Women's Mental Health Careers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide attempts among adolescent girls have risen dramatically. As mental health conditions continue to gain prominence and lose stigma, the work of mental health professionals becomes more and more vital.

Jobs in women's mental health include psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners. Continue reading to learn more about these essential jobs.

Psychiatrist

Like other medical doctors, psychiatrists rely on years of both classroom learning and clinical experiences before they earn their doctoral degree and professional credentials. These professionals work with patients to address the complex union of the psychological, emotional, and physical while using science-based diagnostic methods. Psychiatrists commonly work with patients dealing with depression, anxiety, and bipolar and other conditions.

In addition to the fundamentals of psychiatry, these professionals often specialize in areas like addiction, geriatric, and pediatric psychology. Future psychiatrists can jumpstart their careers through associate, master's, and other psychology degree programs.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric nurse practitioners lean on their expertise and clinical training to address their patients' psychiatric conditions. Some common issues these professionals tackle include substance misuse, mood conditions, anxiety, and depression. These workers evaluate patients and their medical history and devise treatment plans with other psychiatric professionals.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, correctional facilities, mental health centers, Veterans Affairs facilities, and various inpatient and outpatient state facilities.

Women's Cancer Prevention, Screening, and Treatment Careers

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 13% of women born in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis for women, making up about 30% of new female cancer cases.

As a result, it is no surprise that women's health jobs involving cancer prevention, screening, and treatment are especially vital. We highlight several essential careers below.

Oncology Physician Assistant

Physician assistants specializing in oncology play a vital role on a cancer treatment team. Focusing on competent, compassionate, and efficient care, these professionals often serve as liaisons between patients, doctors, and staff.

Daily responsibilities can vary, but these professionals commonly take medical histories, perform routine examinations, assist in surgical procedures, and offer health counseling. Additionally, oncology physician assistants work closely with physicians to develop and implement treatment plans.

Oncologist

Oncologists utilize their extensive training to diagnose and treat patients addressing various cancer-related issues. These professionals evaluate medical histories, perform tests, and use various diagnostic methods to detect cancer, including MRIs and biopsies.

These medical professionals must complete a medical degree along with an extensive residency. Before earning board certification, these oncologists gain extensive hands-on clinical experience.

Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists play an essential role on oncology and healthcare teams, assisting in the administration of radiation treatment, the operation of X-ray machines, and documenting vital patient information. These professionals often work at hospitals and cancer centers.

In addition to meeting the requirements necessary for professional certification, radiation therapists often have strong critical thinking and interpersonal skills. Before radiology tech certification, radiation therapists demonstrate proficiency in areas such as MRI and nuclear medicine technology and sonography.

Mammography Technician

Similar to other diagnostic imaging professionals, mammography technicians screen individuals for health conditions, including breast cancer. These workers hold professional certifications and gain essential clinical experiences and technical expertise. In addition to using mammography equipment, these technicians also maintain the equipment.

Alongside diagnostic work, mammography technicians collect vital patient data and medical histories. These professionals work in various medical settings, including hospitals, doctor's offices, and cancer centers.

Violence Prevention and Treatment Careers

Data shows that 1 in 3 women experience violence in an intimate relationship. These staggering statistics point to the need for prevention and expanded treatment options.

Social worker, psychiatric social worker, and domestic violence nurse jobs are listed below. Keep reading to see if these careers are right for you.

Social Worker

Social workers help individuals and groups identify, address, and cope with personal and interpersonal concerns they face on a daily basis. Whether working with an individual dealing with breast cancer or someone in a volatile relationship, social workers lean on various clinical skills to help people address conditions or situations in a healthy, productive way.

While individuals with a bachelor's in social work can begin their work in entry-level positions, clinical practitioners typically hold a master's degree or doctorate in social work.

Psychiatric Social Worker

Psychiatric social workers utilize the same foundational training as other social workers, but they also spend time gaining clinical expertise in facilities that offer psychiatric services. These social workers help their clients manage mental health conditions and access the support and resources they need.

These professionals typically hold a master's in social work and often work in outpatient psychiatric clinics and inpatient psychiatric facilities. Psychiatric social workers typically have training in group therapy and crisis interventions.

Domestic Violence Nurse

Domestic violence nurses typically hold both RN licensure and complete certification requirements in forensic nursing and sexual assault nursing. In addition to offering emotional, mental health, and physical support for patients, these professionals also act as advocates for domestic violence survivors in legal matters.

While commonly working in hospitals, domestic violence nurses also work in public health settings and community clinics. In addition to clinical settings, these professionals often work closely with law enforcement.

Domestic Violence Advocate

Domestic violence advocates work closely with survivors of domestic violence. Often along with government organizations and nonprofits, these workers assist survivors in finding safe housing, medical services, and legal resources. Some of these professionals also utilize training to conduct counseling and support groups.

While this role does not require a particular degree, many domestic violence advocates have academic backgrounds in counseling and social work.

Public Health and Women's Advocacy Careers

Common careers for individuals in public health and women's advocacy include women's health educators and women's health researchers. These professionals lean on academic and professional training to expand community wellness while advocating for their clients.

Continue reading to learn more about these essential careers.

Women's Health Educator

Often working in community settings, women's health educators offer educational programming to promote both individual and community wellness. These professionals develop wellness strategies and programs while advocating for clients as an intermediary. They facilitate communications between clients and healthcare and social service organizations.

Women's health educators work in healthcare facilities, public health departments, community organizations, and various nonprofits. Common responsibilities include assessing clients' health needs, helping clients secure various health services, lobbying for expanded health resources, and developing new programs through a data-centric approach.

Women's Health Researcher

Often working with public or community health groups, women's health researchers collect data to assist in identifying various needs of clients and communities. In addition to gathering and analyzing data, these professionals also craft and report findings to various government, health, community, and health education groups.

Women's health research can work in a variety of settings, including healthcare facilities, public health departments, and nonprofits. Due to the data-based approach to women's health, these workers often have academic backgrounds in the social sciences.

In addition to compiling and synthesizing data, women's health researchers commonly share findings with various healthcare and social services groups.

Nonprofit Program Manager

Nonprofit program managers play a critical role in the day-to-day functioning of nonprofit organizations. These professionals work with leadership and staff and oversee critical elements like budgets, staffing, and planning. Nonprofit managers also play a role as project managers, ensuring desired outcomes and evaluating the effectiveness and impact of various projects.

While hard academic standards exist for nonprofit program managers, these professionals typically hold at least a bachelor's degree. Larger nonprofits may look to managers with extensive experience, strong leadership skills, and graduate-level degrees in areas including business and management.

How to Find a Job In Women's Health

Because women's health is such a broad professional area, the first step in landing a job after college is determining which area of women's health is a good fit.

For some, this might mean continuing their education in various graduate programs for business management, social work, or healthcare. Additionally, more targeted certificate programs can help college grads further hone their skills while expanding career options and earning potential.

During college and beyond, networking with women's health organizations and professionals is a time-tested way to jumpstart a career in women's health. Whether a student completes an internship or dedicates time volunteering at a women's health organization, these experiences often lay a professional foundation on which college graduates can build.

Whether embarking on your job search or considering ways to grow skills, a passion for women's health is at the heart of these professional pursuits.

Frequently Asked Questions About Women's Health Jobs

Why is women's health unique?

Women's health is unique because it encompasses an expansive spectrum of professions and disciplines. Medical doctors, social workers, and business professionals all gain skills that can be applicable in women's health.

Some popular degrees for those pursuing a career in women's health include clinical roles like nursing and radiology and also any number of social science and business programs.

Women's health is also unique because it is open to graduates from any level of education. Those with a bachelor's degree in nonprofit management can play a critical role in any number of nonprofits focusing on women's health. At the same time, oncologists offer compassionate care for women dealing with breast cancer.

What are some women's health issues?

Just as the number of careers in women's health is expansive, so are the issues surrounding women's health. Whether it is the political battles surrounding recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings or the challenge of securing resources for survivors of domestic violence, women's health issues encompass political, social, and economic areas. Often, these issues are inextricably linked.

As a result, the professional options for individuals pursuing a career in women's health are seemingly endless. There is room for doctors, social workers, sociologists, business professionals, teachers, community organizers — the list goes on.

Is it worth it to be a women's health nurse practitioner?

Women's health nurse practitioner is an excellent option for clinical professionals wanting to offer compassionate care to women. These healthcare professionals work closely with patients and their families and often focus their work on areas like general wellness, lifespan care, and reproductive and prenatal health.

Requiring a master's degree and special certification, those pursuing this career can also complete a doctor of nursing practice degree. These professionals earn a median income of nearly $121,000 per year as of May 2021, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will grow by 52% between 2020 and 2030.

What are the best jobs in women's health?

The field of women's health is broad. As a result, college graduates have access to many professional options that mirror their skill sets. The best jobs in women's health allow passionate individuals to utilize their skills and training in areas including healthcare, social work, business, and civil service.

While some helping professions offer meaningful work over higher paychecks, women's health offers many satisfying jobs with higher-than-the-median pay.

Students seeking a career in women's health should consider their skills and particular passions within the field. In addition to coursework, students can gain extensive real-world experiences through internships and volunteer opportunities.

What is the highest-paying women's health job?

The field of women's health is full of higher-paying careers, and topping that list are obstetricians and gynecologists. These doctors earn a median salary of nearly $300,000 per year, as of May 2021.

Family health practitioners earn about $236,000 annually. For those not envisioning a career as a doctor, other healthcare roles like domestic violence nurses, mental health nurse practitioners, OB/GYN nurses all earn median wages above the median salary for all U.S. workers.

In addition to clinical healthcare work, women's health jobs also rely on individuals in business, social work, community organizations, and the government. These professionals can expand career options and hone specialized skills through various graduate degrees and professional certificate programs.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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