Between the aging baby boomer population and the millions of Americans who are expected to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, the health care industry should be one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy in the coming years. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts it will be the fastest-growing industry in the country through 2020.1
But that rapid growth will affect some health care positions more than others. With 2014 right around the corner, people who would like to pursue a career in the health care field might be interested to know which specific jobs are expected to offer the most opportunities in the coming year.
Top health care jobs in 2014
Careercast.com recently compiled its list of the 200 best jobs in America, and 12 health care jobs finished in the Top 50 spots.2 All of them are predicted to experience rapid expansion in the coming year, and they range from some of the most sophisticated positions in the industry to lower-level professions that still offer excellent salaries and benefits.
Here is a look at a few of those 12 jobs:
The second job on the list – after biomedical engineer – is dental hygienist. It is projected to experience 38 percent job growth in 2014, and the median salary is slightly more than $70,000 a year, according to the statistics bureau.3
With a slightly higher level of responsibility than a certified dental assistant, dental hygienists also make a bit more money on average. However, starting out as a dental assistant is a great way to work your way up to a hygienist position, making these professions fantastic opportunities in 2014, both in terms of number of openings and the kind of salary you can expect to earn.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
Coming in at No. 8 on the CareerCast list is pharmacist. And while the median salary for a fully certified pharmacist is more than $115,000 a year – with an expected job growth rate of 25 percent in 2014 – those opportunities for pharmacists also spell good news for pharmacy technicians.
The pharmaceutical industry is experiencing the same kind of rapid growth that is being seen throughout the health care sector. That should mean most jobs associated with medication production and distribution will reap the benefits of that buildup, which makes becoming a pharmacy technician a great way to get your foot in the door of this burgeoning industry.
Medical coding and billing
With a median salary of nearly $35,000 a year and an expected job growth rate of 21 percent, medical records technician – which handles medical billing and coding – was the 11th best health care job on the list.
The Affordable Care Act, and especially the millions of newly insured Americans, will put a much greater onus on record keeping throughout the health care industry. Qualified medical coders and billers will be at the forefront of that effort. They will not only have to handle a larger volume of paperwork, but also learn new rules, systems and procedures for how those records and bills need to be handled. That necessity will make these professionals some of the most crucial and in-demand in the health care industry as it begins systemic reforms that are likely to be going on for years to come.
Bucking the trend
One thing that everyday Americans and economists alike have bemoaned as the country continues to dig its way out of the recession is the kinds of jobs that have been created over the past few years. Many of them are low-paying retail and restaurant positions with few or no benefits and little opportunity for advancement. That makes the growing health care industry a bit of an anomaly in the current economy.
Health care professions offer people opportunities that are rarely found in other industries these days. In its job projections from 2010, the statistics bureau predicted that 5.7 million health care jobs would be added over the ensuing decade, and so far hiring appears to be playing out at that rate. For 2014 alone, the statistics bureau foresees a 27 percent rise in health care wages and salaries.4
CareerCast’s findings and methods
The CareerCast list only serves to reaffirm those findings. Developed by Tony Lee, the list was put together with the help of researchers at the University of Wisconsin and staffers at CareerCast. It builds on an annual report that Lee put together for the Wall Street Journal starting 16 years ago.
The list rates 200 jobs based on information from the statistics bureau, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and trade associations that are related to each industry that was evaluated.
One of the reasons many health care professions scored so highly was that most of them offer regular 9-to-5 hours, comfortable work environments and a certain amount of flexibility in terms of commitment and energy.
1 Henderson, Richard, “Employment Outlook: 2010-2020,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2012. http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2012/01/art4full.pdf
2 “The Best Health Care Jobs of 2013,” CareerCast HealthCare Network. http://healthcare.careercast.com/article/best-healthcare-jobs-2013%20
3 Kim, Susanna, “12 Fastest Growing Health Care Jobs,” ABC News, Dec. 5, 2013. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/12-demand-health-care-jobs/story?id=21100548
4 Adams, Susan, “The Best Jobs in Health Care in 2014,” Forbes Magazine, Dec. 3, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/12/03/the-best-jobs-in-health-care-in-2014/