The healthcare industry is booming, with employment projected to grow 15% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by an aging population, increased prevalence of chronic conditions, and demand for access to healthcare services.
For job seekers interested in entering a rapidly growing field, healthcare offers diverse, well-paying career paths with bright outlooks. This article will explore ten of the most in-demand healthcare jobs today. Whether you’re drawn to direct patient care or prefer behind-the-scenes hospital roles, read on to discover promising healthcare career opportunities.
Physical therapists help patients recovering from injuries regain movement and manage pain. They examine patients and develop treatment plans using techniques like exercises, hands-on therapy, and electrical stimulation. Their work setting is usually in hospitals, private practices, and nursing care facilities. Employment for physical therapists is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, adding over 35,000 new jobs.
The median annual wage for this profession is over $92,000. With demand driven by aging baby boomers vulnerable to chronic conditions like arthritis and stroke, the physical therapy field offers excellent job security and salary potential.
For students exploring alternative careers for psych majors, this role can offer a fulfilling path as it requires an understanding of human behavior, especially related to coping with physical pain and discomfort. Physical therapist roles also appeal to people interested in fitness, movement, and helping others regain mobility.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses who provide primary and specialty healthcare services. The nurse practitioner job market is booming, with employment expected to increase 45% from 2020 to 2030. This amounts to over 114,000 new NP jobs.
NPs can prescribe medication, examine patients, diagnose illnesses, and provide treatment like physicians. Becoming an NP requires six to eight years of study; you must complete an MSN and acquire a specialization. This lengthy course is worth it as NPs enjoy high salaries – the median annual wage is over $120,000 – and increased autonomy versus registered nursing roles.
With physician shortages driving demand, nurse practitioners are extremely valuable in primary and specialty care settings.
Medical and health services managers
Also known as healthcare administrators, medical and health services managers plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. As hospital networks and outpatient facilities expand, these professionals will be needed to organize and manage operations. Employment for this role is projected to grow 32% from 2020 to 2030, adding over 139,000 new jobs.
Healthcare administrators oversee staff, manage budgets, implement policies, and ensure facilities meet service delivery laws and standards. Regarding education, most medical and health services managers should have at least a bachelor’s degree.
The median annual wage exceeds $104,000. With strong business and leadership skills, people can advance in this fast-growing field to enjoy lucrative salaries and shape the future of healthcare delivery.
Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks to keep healthcare offices running smoothly. As physician practices expand, so does the demand for these versatile allied health professionals. Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 17% from 2020 to 2030, adding over 167,000 new jobs.
The role of medical assistants is to handle scheduling, maintaining medical records, and billing, and may assist with patient exams or procedures. Most of these professionals have a postsecondary certificate or associate’s degree.
The median annual wage is over $37,000, higher than many administrative roles. Those interested in healthcare administration with minimal direct patient contact would thrive as medical assistants. It’s an accessible healthcare career with steady demand across outpatient settings.
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians
These professionals analyze body fluids, tissue, and other samples to support diagnosis and treatment. Employment for this role is projected to grow 7% from 2020 to 2030, adding over 22,000 new jobs in this behind-the-scenes healthcare occupation.
Technicians typically need an associate’s degree, while technologists need a bachelor’s degree. These professionals complete tasks like operating lab equipment to analyze blood, urine, and tissue samples. The demand for this role stems from the growth of conditions like diabetes needing bloodwork monitoring.
For those seeking vital healthcare roles away from patient contact, medical lab jobs offer stable salaries and job prospects in hospitals, clinics, and commercial labs. The median annual wage exceeds $55,000.
Diagnostic medical sonographers
Also called ultrasound technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers use special imaging equipment to create images and videos of internal body structures. Because of the aging population’s increased risk for medical conditions requiring imaging, this field is projected to grow 14% from 2020 to 2030, adding over 9,700 new jobs.
Sonographers work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, and diagnostic imaging centers. It’s a rewarding career choice for those wanting to operate cutting-edge imaging technology and provide compassionate care during potentially stressful procedures.
Sonographers obtain certification after completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program in sonography. Their median annual wage is over $77,000.
Occupational therapy assistants and aides
Under the direction of occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and aides help patients recovering from illness or injury regain daily living and work skills. Demand for occupational therapy services will drive 17% employment growth from 2020 to 2030, equaling over 35,000 new assistant and aide jobs.
Assistants need an associate’s degree, while aides require on-the-job training. These roles involve assisting patients with therapeutic activities related to movement, cognition, and other areas. It appeals to those interested in rehabilitation and psychology.
With occupational therapists taking on more complex cases, they will increasingly delegate routine duties to assistants and aides – fueling strong job growth and competitive salaries. Their median annual wage exceeds $33,000.
Driven by an aging population, rising rates of chronic illness, and expanded health insurance coverage, the healthcare field offers diverse roles with bright outlooks for job seekers. While clinical roles like nurses and physical therapists dominate the list of fastest-growing healthcare professions, ample opportunities exist on the administrative side too. Whether you prefer hands-on patient care or behind-the-scenes hospital operations, investing in healthcare job training will pay off with exciting, well-compensated career paths.