There’s no question that the health care industry is booming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. is on track to add 5.6 million health care jobs between 2010 and 2020 – that’s the largest projected increase of any industry. What may surprise you, however, is that some careers in health care are growing more rapidly than others. Are you considering a career in health care? A degree that prepares you for any of these jobs will set you up for rapid employment.
Medical assistant careers involve working in physicians’ offices and other health care facilities and completing administrative and clinical tasks. This can involve everything from helping physicians with patient examinations to scheduling appointments and preparing blood for laboratory tests. The range of duties and responsibilities depends on the location, specialty, and size of the facility. While formal education is not necessarily required, graduates from medical assisting programs are usually preferred by employers. Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 31% from 2010 to 2020.
Employment growth for physical therapists is expected in increase by 39 percent between 2010 and 2020 – that’s 25% faster than average. Physical therapists work with people who have been injured or have undergone treatment for illnesses to help them improve their movement. Physical therapists usually work in private offices or clinics, hospitals or nursing homes. Both physical therapists and their assistants play vital roles in rehabilitation and helping patients with chronic conditions manage their pain.
Home Health Aide
Home health aides and personal aides use their skills to help a variety of people live more comfortably, including the elderly and people who are disabled, chronically ill or cognitively impaired. The duties of home health aides depend upon whom they are working with and can range from assisting with daily personal tasks like getting dressed to doing light housekeeping or organizing clients’ schedules. Employment of home health aides is projected to grow by 70 percent between 2010 and 2020 – an astronomical amount compared to the average growth rate for all occupations (14%) during that period. This likely has to do with the fact that the baby boomer generation is aging.
Medical Radiography technicians perform a variety of duties, all of which revolve around diagnostic imaging examinations like X-rays. As a radiologic technologist, you may be required to adjust and maintain imaging equipment, prepare patients for procedures and follow orders from physicians about precisely which area of the body to image. Radiologic technologists typically need an associate degree. At least, they need to be licensed or certified in most states. Employment of Radiologic Technologist may increase by about 28% from 2010 to 2020. Advances in technology could also help increase demand.
Registered nurses work in hospitals, physician’s offices, home healthcare services, nursing facilities, correctional facilities, schools, and the military. They perform a wide variety of tasks in their job, from caring for the sick to educating about medical conditions and providing emotional support. While a registered nursing associate degree is the minimum requirement, employers are increasingly demanding a bachelor’s degree. RNs also often pursue advanced degrees while working in that position. For registered nurses specifically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 19.4% employment growth and 526,800 brand new jobs between 2012 and 2022.
Dental hygienists work in dental offices and their duties include cleaning teeth, examining patients for signs of various oral diseases, and providing other preventative dental care under the supervision of a dentist. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Dental hygienists typically need an associate degree in dental hygiene. While all states require dental hygienists to be licensed, requirements vary by state. Employment for all types of dental hygienists will increase 33.3% by 2022, which is much faster than the average growth rate for most professions as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Veterinary technicians work under the supervision of veterinarians, combining a variety of disciplines such as nursing, imaging, lab work, and customer service. They work in animal hospitals, animal shelters, laboratories or zoos. The duties of a veterinary technician include providing first aid and nursing care, assisting veterinarians during examinations and procedures, performing or aiding with diagnostic tests, conducting routine procedures like dental cleanings and immunizations, and preparing animals for surgery. Veterinary technicians need an associate degree must become registered, licensed or certified in their state. Employment of veterinary technicians is projected to grow 30% from 2012 to 2022.
Post updated on March 7th, 2014.
1 Henderson, Richard, Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Industry employment and output projections to 2020,’ - http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2012/01/art4full.pdf
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Medical Assistants,’ March 29, 2012 –http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-4
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Medical Assistants,’ March 29, 2012 -http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Physical Therapists,’ April 6, 2012 -http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm
5 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Home Health and Personal Care Aides,’ April 5, 2012 -http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-and-personal-care-aides.htm
6 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Radiologic Technologists,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm#tab-2
7 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Radiologic Technologists,’ March 29, 2012 -http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm