The Growing Medical Job Market
Job growth in the U.S. healthcare market exceeds that of most other professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth is especially high in the area of medical assistants and support personnel. Personal and home healthcare aides will see over 50 percent growth through 2020. Nursing and various therapist roles will see 25 percent to 50 percent growth. This is why many people of all ages are considering a career in healthcare.
The Demand for Healthcare
America is aging and the baby boomers are retiring. Millions are retiring every year, ready to start the next phase of their lives. Some have put off different medical procedures until they retire and can take the time to recover. WebMD states that joint replacement procedures are increasing, mainly due to the boomers wanting to be more active in their retirement.
With elderly patients, common medical conditions can spark more serious ailments. The elderly woman with a broken hip is at a higher risk for post-operative infection and pneumonia. An elderly man with diabetes has a higher risk of glaucoma and circulation problems. New technology identifies medical conditions sooner and with more accuracy. People that have put off certain diagnostic studies are getting tested now with the new tools and techniques. Better testing allows more complete diagnoses and subsequent treatment options.
The Demand for Healthcare Providers
There is a job increase in all areas of the healthcare hierarchy. There has also been the trend to shift down responsibilities. The nurse is now doing things that a doctor would do. The nursing assistant is now doing things that a nurse would do. The largest growth in jobs will be seen at these supporting levels. The Chicago Tribune lists where many of these jobs might be found:
- Audiology clinics and offices: An audiology assistant might be used to help with hearing tests, record transcription, scheduling and hearing-aid fitting.
- Dentist office: Dental assistants and hygienists are used to do x-rays, teeth cleanings, patient scheduling and billing.
- Home healthcare: With more people preferring to recover from a medical condition at home, nurses aids and home care coordinators are needed to support the basic medical and lifestyle needs that a person has while at home.
- Medical Diagnostic Centers: Medical technologists and assistants are used for such tasks as drawing blood, x-rays, medical records management, patient scheduling and follow up.
- Outpatient Centers: More procedures and treatments are being done in outpatient centers, which require no overnight stay. Nursing assistants, medical assistants, and physical and occupational therapy assistants are in demand to work with patients in this setting.
Competing to Fill the Job Demand
The traditional educational path for a doctor or nurse is several years of college. There are several new ways to get into some of these high-growth jobs in healthcare. Online nursing degree programs are available for working adults and stay-at-home parents who can't always attend classroom programs. These online classes have convenient schedules and can be more affordable.
Some of these support roles require only one or two years of training, in a community college or training center. Some programs result in an associates degree while others confer a certificate of completion. People who are moving into the healthcare field from another profession find these programs an easier way to make a career move.