Roughly 28 percent of all new jobs created between 2008 and 2018 will be in the health care industry. This means you’re looking at roughly 3.2 million new health care positions nationwide. Health care is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the United States, currently employing over 14 million people, prompted partly by a growing aging population. Most jobs in health care are currently in high demand, especially the highly specialized fields.
There are several health sciences jobs in the top 20 fastest-growing careers. The following, listed with their average annual salaries, are in the highest demand:
Biomedical Engineers ($77, 400)
Home Health Aides ($20,000)
Medical Scientists ($72,590)
Physician Assistants ($81,230)
Skin Care Specialists ($28,730)
Biochemists and Biophysicists ($82,840)
Physical Therapist Aides ($23,760)
Dental Hygenists ($66,570)
Medical and Dental Assistants (between $28 – 32,000)
Physical Therapist Assistants ($46,140)
Each of these careers is seeing growth of at least 33%. Health care employment has risen consistently at a time when other industries have been struggling to make any gains at all. Unemployment rates in the general population have been relatively static, and are just over 9% as of June 3, 2011, while unemployment for those in health sciences were as low as 1.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
High-Growth Jobs To Consider
The career paths that are experiencing the highest job growth in health care are home health care services, health practitioner offices, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and outpatient care centers. The specific occupations expected to gain the highest number of new jobs through 2018 are: physicians and surgeons, physician assistants, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, clinical laboratory technologists, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists. The national average for people with a bachelor’s degree in health science, at the beginning of their careers, is $37,800. For those mid-career, the average is $69,600, up by about $2,000 from the 2009 average. Of course, these are national averages and actual income can differ greatly depending on your chosen career path, experience, and geographic location.
There are several health care and health science careers among the 20 highest paying jobs in the United States. Topping this list, with salaries well over $100,000 are:
Peri- and Neo-natologists
A cursory glance at websites like explorehealthcareers.org should show you just how much jobs in the medical field are growing. Many of these careers in medicine do not require a bachelor’s degree. For some, those may be the best options. However, the higher degree attained, the more likely you are to be employed. In 2010, the unemployment rate for those with a PhD was 1.9%, 4.0% for people with a master’s, 5.4% with a bachelor’s, and so on. Colleges and universities around the nation have cut back on scholarship programs for a lack of funding, so it’s best to check with each institution you might be considering for your education.
Developing Professional Goals
Health science student need to be motivated, energetic and interested in helping others. You’ll need to be a strong communicator and be open to learning new technologies. Learning a foreign language can increase your potential in the job market both at home and abroad. There are many people in the U.S., especially in urban areas, who speak little to no English. Patient and doctor both benefit when you don’t have to wait for a translator. Think about social issues related to the health sciences, such as the high suicide rate in young people. They may be opportunities for you to engage in innovation and problem-solving. They may even become a source of passionate interest. Learn about public or international health agencies for which you might want to work, such as the World Health Organization, and find out about their qualifications for job applicants.
If you have some knowledge of the qualifications that will be required for you to fulfill your professional goals, you can start out with a clear path in mind. Having a goal doesn’t mean you can’t change your plans, and it certainly helps the push forward. Each career path is different and comes with varying hurdles and hoops along the way. To avoid encountering preventable set-backs, try to plan far in advance for your first post-degree job.