Have you ever thought about a job in healthcare? You wouldn’t be the only one.
Healthcare is the fastest growing job sector in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is largely a result of the growing senior population. Advancements in medicine have made it possible for more people to live healthier and longer lives, increasing the demand for healthcare workers. Additionally, with the increase of insured people as a result of the Affordable Care Act, there will be a higher demand for a variety of healthcare services.
Doctors are always in demand, but other jobs are just as essential, especially in regards to technical assistance, research and caring for basic needs, such as grooming and bathing or facilitating trips to the doctor.
Think you may be interested in joining the rewarding field of healthcare? Check out these five jobs growing in the healthcare industry today.
1. Registered Nurse
Nursing has always been a popular healthcare field and continues to grow. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that he the employment of registered nurses (RNs) is expected to grow 19 percent by 2022, faster than the overall average of occupations.
RNs are often regarded as the backbone of the healthcare field, as they not only provide and coordinate patient care, but also connect with patients by offering support and advice. They also have the important job of educating patients and the general public about various health conditions and information. RNs are not limited to hospitals and physician’s offices; they can also work in forensic departments, correctional facilities, religious communities and in the armed forces.
This position requires either a bachelor’s or associates degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. RNs must also be licensed. As of 2012, the median annual wage for a RN was $65,470.
2. Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical engineers have the complex task of evaluating issues in the areas of biology and medicine and designing solutions to improve the quality and effectiveness of patient care. They typically work in manufacturing plants, universities, hospitals, research facilities and government regulatory agencies. The field is projected to grow 27 percent by 2022.
Biomedical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from an accredited program, but can also obtain a bachelor’s degree in a different field of engineering and go on to earn a graduate degree in biomedical engineering. They can also get on-the-job training in biomedical engineering. As of 2012, the median annual wage for biomedical engineers was $86,960.
3. Occupational Therapy Assistant
With a job growth rate of 41 percent by 2022, occupational therapy assistants are in high demand right now. Working primarily in occupational therapists’ offices, hospitals and nursing care facilities under the direction of occupational therapists, they are directly involved in helping patients develop and recover daily functioning skills.
Occupational therapy assistants typically require an associate’s degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program and must be licensed in some states. As of 2012, the median annual wage for occupational therapy assistants was $53,240.
4. Physicians Assistant
Physician assistants (PAs) are known as the right-hand to the doctor. They practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons, but are qualified to treat and diagnose patients. This popular healthcare position is expected to grow 38 percent by 2022, due to the shortage of physicians and increase in those who require care.
Physician assistants must complete an accredited educational program, which usually leads to a master’s degree, and must be licensed. As of 2012, the median annual wage for physician assistants was $90,930.
5. Genetic Counselors
Genetic counselors are becoming increasingly popular thanks to advancements in medicine and technology. The field is projected to grow 41 percent by 2022 and should have better than average job prospects than most fields. Working in university medical centers, hospitals and diagnostic laboratories, genetic counselors evaluate whether individuals or families are at risk for various genetic conditions. For example, if someone has a known family history of genetic disorders, diseases or birth defects, a genetic counselor can assess and facilitate testing to find out if they or their family members are at risk. Based on this information, patients are able to make lifestyle choices accordingly.
Genetic counselors typically require a minimum of a master’s degree in genetic counseling or genetics, though some earn a Ph. D. As of 2012, the median annual wage for genetic counselors was $56,800.