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Hospital Job vs. Clinic Job: How to Choose the Best Work Environment


Hospital vs. Clinic Jobs: Which Is Better for You? - AIMS Education

It’s not always easy to determine which working environment will be the best fit for you. And with allied healthcare jobs available in both hospitals and clinics, the decision about where to start your career is a crucial one.

Some of today’s most well-known healthcare practitioners have built their careers in hospitals, while others have become highly regarded while working in clinics. Both have a lot to offer but vary in terms of expectations, requirements, and upward mobility.

Whether you’re just starting out or simply thinking about attending an allied healthcare certification course, take some time to educate yourself about the differences in these locations. Who knows? You might discover that your perfect future career is right around the corner.

What Are the Basic Differences Between Hospitals and Clinics?

Hospitals have several departments that are equipped to treat a wide array of medical issues and admit patients for treatment. These businesses offer many different opportunities for clinical work, as well as positions in research, education, and management. Many hospitals assign allied healthcare workers to one specific department, where they interact with patients, nurses, and physicians.

Because they’re open 24 hours a day and admitting patients of various conditions, hospitals (especially in cities) are more fast-paced working environments than private clinics. If you prefer a job where “anything can happen”, a hospital might be a great choice. Professionals who excel in these locations are easily able to find work at other hospitals throughout the country.

Clinics are “outpatient” medical locations, and they tend to focus on specific aspects of the medical field (e.g. gynecology, dermatology, chiropractic). They might be run by a primary physician or comprised of multiple doctors, otherwise known as a “group practice”. Because they tend to have more regular hours and patients usually make appointments, clinics offer a more dependable workflow.

Allied healthcare professionals in clinics may provide more one-on-one patient care, and might even perform tasks that fall outside of their designated duties (e.g. scheduling appointments, managing supplies). Regardless of where you work, professionals with a reliable and wide range of skill sets are extremely enticing to both prospective clinic and hospital HR departments.

Pros and Cons of Working at Hospitals and Clinics

Clinics and hospitals each have their own advantages and disadvantages, so we’ve compiled a general list for each setting. Be aware that subjectivity plays a massive role. For example, what one person sees as a positive attribute might be considered negative by someone else.

Pros of Working at a Hospital:

  • Hospitals often offer higher base salaries than clinics.
  • Plenty of employment opportunities exist throughout the country, offering great job stability to allied healthcare professionals.
  • Overtime is often available for most roles.
  • Hospitals provide exciting opportunities to learn a variety of skills, explore different career interests, and work with top-level talent.
  • Administrative professionals manage much of the paperwork for you.
  • Health insurance options are almost always available to full-time employees.

Cons of Working at a Hospital:

  • Salaries tend to come with caps.
  • Your schedule could involve rotating between days, evenings, and overnights.
  • Weekend and holiday hours may be required (sometimes at short notice).
  • Depending on your department, you may be regularly exposed to uncomfortable and/or depressing situations.

Pros of Working at a Clinic:

  • More dependable shifts, with fewer holiday and weekend hours required.
  • Work here is typically more routine than in a hospital, so you can better predict your duties on any given day.
  • It’s common to establish long-term relationships with patients.
  • Smaller practices have more of a community feel.

Cons of Working at a Clinic:

  • Pay is typically lower than at hospitals (though you might have more opportunities to negotiate for a higher salary).
  • Overtime is more limited at private clinics.
  • Allied health professionals may spend more time with paperwork tasks than at hospitals.
  • A predictable routine can become boring for some.


How Do You Choose the Best Work Place?

If you’re right out of school or an allied healthcare certificate program, it might be wise to apply to a hospital job to gain more diverse experience and exposure. If you already have the passion for a certain specialty, working in a private clinic that provides particular services may be the perfect place for you. Most hospital HR departments and clinics desire the same things: passion, ambition, and professionalism. So really, it comes down to where you see yourself.

Which Type of Environment Will Be Most Comfortable?

If you prefer a more laid back, affable workplace that emphasizes patient care, a clinic might be a great choice. The same goes for someone who hopes to avoid hospice situations. If you prefer a bustling working environment that provides an ever-changing array of conditions and situations, a hospital might be an excellent fit.

A great method for helping you make your decision is to ask some local healthcare professionals about their favorite elements of their jobs, and what they’d most like to change.

How Will Your Job Affect Your Family and Personal Life?

Working a night shift at a hospital might be ideal for your schedule if you don’t have kids now, but a clinic setting will likely be an appealing choice if you’ve got children in school full-time. It’s okay to change your mind, but changing a hospital work schedule may present a few extra hurdles.

By assessing your specific needs, interests, and goals – and determining which setting is the best fit based on these criteria – you’ll be much more likely to attain satisfaction early in your career.

Gain Insight and Skills in Your Allied Healthcare Certification Course

If you’ve worked in a clinic or held hospital jobs, what has your experience been like? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Otherwise, if you’re currently considering a career in exciting fields like surgical technology or diagnostic medical sonography, get the ball rolling by contacting an AIMS representative today.

14 thoughts on “Hospital Job vs. Clinic Job: How to Choose the Best Work Environment

  • Aleshire Mueller says:

    It sure was nice when you said that one of the benefits of working in a hospital is the idea that there are better career opportunities because the demand for hospital employees is increasing. If that is the case, then I will suggest my sister to choose to work in a hospital after finishing her studies. She insisted on taking a neonatology career, and now she is in search of a job related to it. Hopefully, she finds one soon.

  • Kate Welling says:

    I didn’t ever think that clinics got weekends and holidays off. That is awesome considering hospitals do! Like what you said, if you have a passion for a particular specialty, working in a clinic might be the perfect place for me. I would love to work in a clinic, but I have never been to one! I think I should go visit one before I apply for one.

  • Yogita patidar says:

    paitent work

  • Gomathi says:

    Hi all, now am thinking to go to job in health care field like hospital exposure.so what should I do ,any certification kind of and which is best .can anybody tel me about this?TIA

    • Breanna says:

      If you’re just starting, you can get your CNA license and work as a patient care technician! Or phlebotomy certification if you don’t want to do all of the dirty work Nurses and CNA’s have to do. Good luck!

  • Dr Mousumi Guha Roy says:

    I have worked in hospital earlier. Now I don’t like it. As there is six days duty in a week. Now I want to do private practice in clinic. It is less trouble some.

  • Sarah Smith says:

    It’s really interesting that women’s health providers who work at a clinic have better holidays and can develop long-term relationships with their patients while those who work at a hospital enjoy better pay and can learn more skills. This makes me think I would prefer going to a clinic for women’s health services. In my opinion, it’s best to have a relationship with your healthcare providers.

  • Destiny Banks says:

    As a new graduate RN, if I got my first job at an outpatient surgery center, would it affect getting a job in a hospital setting later?

    • eli says:

      WOW I think that’s awesome considering that you were a new graduate. Because most places that I have looked into require at least 1-2 yrs of ICU experience. I think you will acquire great experience, especially since your in a surgery center. You will have the aspect of perioperative nursing. In the future it all comes down to how you present yourself to an interviewer.

  • […] make appointments for further exams, get consent forms from patients, and fill out safety reports. Sonographers at smaller clinics may be expected to handle these tasks […]

  • Adrian Jones says:

    It’s great you talked about the differences between working in a hospital and a clinic since at first glance they both look the same but at the same time they’re not. One of the reasons why most nurses opt to go for a clinic is because of the schedule reliability–which would allow them to see their family rather than being forced to follow irregular schedules with messed-up sleeping patterns. If I had the chance to work in urgent care then I would definitely want to work in a smaller, more familiar setting since it allows me to become more intimate with the patients that would be visiting if ever.

  • Dean Phillips says:

    I really like how you said that there are plenty of employment opportunities that exist in a hospital. My brother is a few months away from graduating from medical school and he has not determined whether he wants to work at a hospital or a private clinic. It might be good or him to weigh the benefits and the technology each possesses before he decides.

  • jb says:

    Is it better to take less pay (maybe for 6th to 1 yr) at a highly reputable university medical school or a better paying job at a little known place. This is for overall career reference.

  • Randy Chorvack says:

    I love how one of the pros you listed is long-term relationships with patients that you wouldn’t be able to get at the hospital. That’s good for the patient too because then they can learn to trust you more than they’d trust a doctor they’ve only seen once. Having that relationship makes them more likely to be comfortable telling you things and help you catch health concerns quickly.

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