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Careers in health

Keen on a cool health gig? Maths is your secret weapon!

Careers in health are hot! Did you know that more than 1.8 million people were employed in the healthcare and social assistance industry last year? It’s Australia’s largest employing industry according to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee. If you love health and numbers, you’re in luck. Everyone from dentists to bioinformaticians, epidemiologists and psychologists rely on solid maths and data skills in their 9-5.

Job inspo

1.Pharmacists are constantly working with formulas, equations, measurements and conversions when dispensing medications.

2. Audiologists need arithmetic to assess differences between each ear, plus ratios and statistics to work out if hearing test results are in a normal range.

3. Dentists require measurements to check gum health and monitor tooth enamel wear.

4. Physiotherapists need geometry to measure the mobility of a patient’s joints.

5. Psychologists rely on data and statistics to prove hypotheses and interpret psychological tests.

6. Optometrists use vision angles in eye tests, percentages to record vision changes and formulas to calculate prescriptions.

7. Dieticians work with percentages and equations to figure out daily nutritional intakes, as well as patient data to come up with individual meal plans based on age, weight and other factors.

RELATED: A to Z of health jobs

Pandemic workers

Maths and data pros working in health have been some of the real heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Epidemic modellers use their data skills to understand, predict and help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Bioinformaticians have been analysing info to try and identify the origin of COVID-19. And statisticians? They forecast the numbers for our pollies.

RELATED: Three maths lessons everyone is getting from the COVID-19 pandemic

STEM spotlight on nursing

The National Skills Commission has identified the top 10 jobs that are projected to
grow the most by 2025 and coming in second is a registered nurse! And guess what?
There’s plenty of maths in nursing. Think:

• Arithmetic for IV and medication calculations
• Metric conversions and decimals when dealing with weight
• Fractions, ratios, rounding and unit conversions for administering medication dosages
• Percentages for giving oxygen

Maths help

Unis like the University of South Australia, Western Sydney University and RMIT have online hubs and resources to help you scrub up on the specific maths skills you’ll need for nursing, and TAFE SA even offers a short course called Maths for Nursing.

Data star

Mingzhu SunMingzhu Sun has a PhD in statistics from the University of Queensland and works as an optimisation specialist at Predictive Analytics Group! We DM’ed her about maths + health.

CwS: Hello! What’s a handy skill to have in a maths career?
M: 
Data visualisation is very essential to any kind of maths-related jobs. To
visualise data, coding skills are very important. I mainly used R or Python tools for this.

CwS: Why should students stick with maths if they want a career in health?
M: A solid foundation in maths and stats is essential to a career in health and
other industries. Maths helps you develop logical thinking and problem-solving skills, and those skills are highly transferable and needed for almost every single profession in the digital world.

Start your career here

MATHS + HEATH STUDY

MATHS + HEALTH JOBS

  • Epidemiologist: $71K–$106K
  • Registered nurse: $57K–$91K
  • Statistician: $60K–$117K

Salaries according to payscale.com

This article originally appeared in Careers with STEM: Maths 2022.

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is Careers with STEM’s digital content strategist. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.

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