When new employment opportunities present themselves, the first considerations that come to mind during the decision-making process typically are compensation, the office’s location or the commute to get there, the culture, and the actual work itself. Depending on whether you’re actively or passively searching, your outlook might be different.
You might be looking to take any kind of job to simply get your foot in the door or because you need the income. Perhaps you’re seeking a change in environment or maybe you’ve outgrown your current role. Regardless of your reason, where you ultimately land could potentially shape your career for the long-run and might even determine your level of satisfaction or performance. Knowing whether you are better suited to work for nonprofit or profit organizations in the health industry might come down to personality type and interests.
Nonprofit organizations are businesses designed to make change—and not in the monetary sense. Publicly owned, tax-exempt, or government organizations are usually mission driven or community oriented, with the goal of providing services or goods that benefit the greater good of society.
Nonprofit organizations, like charities or awareness organizations typically pay less, but most people who are attracted to this type of work feel rewarded knowing that they are making a positive impact in their community.
For-profit organizations, meanwhile, have a primary goal of making money. For-profit hospitals, for example, are not required to provide care to everyone because they are usually “choice” facilities and are less likely to be called upon to offer a great deal of uncompensated care. On the other hand, hospitals that are owned by stockholders or are part of a company that issues shares are more likely to upgrade facilities or technology in hopes of making returns on their investments—an aspect that some health communicators, especially those interested in health care marketing, may find that appealing. If you desire that your work help bridge literacy gaps or improve access to care to underserved areas, shiny new toys may not be as important to you.
Some prefer the flexibility that for-profit organizations offer because such organizations have fewer state and federal guidelines to which they have to adhere. In 2003, roughly 19 percent of hospitals were privately owned. Organizations like these rely less on raising capital through fundraising and focus more on services that are more creative to sell. For-profit jobs in health communications might include working for creative or consulting agencies, elective health providers (like cosmetic procedures or in fitness not covered by health insurance), pharmaceutical companies, and the insurance industry or in research for biomed devices.
Whatever your calling may be, both nonprofit and for-profit careers in health communications provide practitioners with opportunities to inform and influence individual decisions that enhance health. Peter Drucker, a thought leader known best for his philosophies in modern business once said “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” Regardless of your route, being able to drive change in society always makes working in communications rewarding.