Healthcare is a massive industry, and it is growing. However, the demand for specific healthcare jobs ranges from tepid to red hot. Here are 12 healthcare positions that will be in high demand in the next 10 years. We’ll include positions that don’t include an MD or Ph.D. and healthcare jobs that pay surprisingly well other than attending medical school. We’ll also explain what these jobs entail and how to qualify for them.
Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia during medical procedures and pain management. They’ll remain with the patient during and after the procedure. Nurse anesthetists earn on average 170,000 dollars a year. The number of nurse anesthetist jobs is projected to increase 16 percent over the next ten years.
To become a nurse anesthetist, you must complete a master’s degree from an accredited medical program. After a year of clinical experience, you can be considered for admission to a nurse anesthetist program. Most nurse anesthetists have experience in critical or acute care.
Physician assistants can examine, diagnose, and treat patients. The job title comes from the fact that most states require them to be supervised by a physician. They often serve as primary care providers at health clinics managed by a medical doctor.
A physician assistant earns around 108,000 dollars a year. The number of physician assistant jobs is expected to grow by nearly forty percent over the next ten years.
Becoming a physician assistant requires completing a two-year master’s degree in nursing. To earn the PA license, you must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. In states where physician assistants are only licensed if they work under a doctor, they must hold an agreement with a supervising physician.
Family Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners may serve as primary or specialty care providers. Demand for family nurse practitioners is exploding. Job growth for these general practice NPs is expected to grow by more than a third over the next ten years. They fill in the gap between demand for general practitioner doctors and the limited supply of those coming out of medical school. And with the population both growing and aging, we need more healthcare professionals on the front lines, though doctors are tending to go into higher-paying specialties. The solution is training nurses to provide the same services.
To become a family nurse practitioner, you must gain at least a master’s degree in nursing. This qualifies you to earn at least 70,000 dollars a year. Hold a postgraduate or graduate degree in Family Nurse Practice, and the average pay rate skyrockets to 110,000 dollars.
Universities like Carson-Newman offer an Online Post-Master’s FNP Certificate Program. They also offer support through your clinical placement and prepare students for the family nurse practitioner certification exam. This gives you the experience and credentials you need to work autonomously. A side benefit of becoming a family nurse practitioner is that you can work in rural and under-served areas that have a lack of doctors who must be there to supervise physician assistants.
Demand for registered nurses is expected to grow by 440,000 jobs over the next ten years. This is a 15 percent increase over the current three million nurses in the United States. This is a little under half the growth of nurse practitioner jobs; their numbers will grow from 155,000 to 210,000 nationwide. Registered nurses earn 74,000 dollars a year on average.
There are three main paths to becoming a registered nurse. The first is to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The next is to earn an associate’s degree in nursing. However, employers increasingly prefer those with a BSN. You can complete bridge programs to go from an associate’s to a bachelor’s degree. Another option is completing a diploma from an approved nursing path. Regardless of what degree you hold, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination to become a registered nurse or RN.
Occupational therapists help patients develop or regain the skills needed for daily living. They may aid patients in therapeutic exercises. They may help children with disabilities to engage in play to improve their coordination and strength. The job includes teaching patients how to use special equipment that makes daily tasks easier.
Demand for occupational therapists will grow by 24 percent over the next ten years. Occupational therapists need at least a master’s degree in nursing or physical therapy. Median pay is around 86,000 dollars a year.
Home Health Aide
An aging population is going to cause the number of home health aides to increase at least 40 percent over the next ten years. More than a million new home health aide jobs are expected to open up in the next decade on top of the three million positions that already exist. Home health aides provide support for patients in their homes. A few live with their clients, while others travel between several patients’ residences.
One side benefit of this job is that it is available everywhere, and it doesn’t have advanced educational requirements. You can generally enter the profession with just a high school diploma or GED. On the other hand, median pay is generally just above minimum wage. In 2016, median pay was just over 11 dollars an hour.
This job differs from certified nursing assistants who both provide basic medical supervision and assist patients throughout the day. A certified nursing assistant or CNA will take the patient’s vital signs, organize equipment, give sponge baths and aid clients. The certified nursing assistant is considered an assistant to registered nurses or licensed vocational nurses (LVN).
A CNA will work in retirement homes instead of the patient’s homes. It is possible to become a CNA without any formal education. Pay rates are around 14 dollars an hour. You may be paid more if you have an associate’s degree in nursing or technical college training. There are more than one and a half million CNA jobs in the U.S., and demand for this skillset is going to grow due to the demands of an aging population.
Medical assistants don’t deliver healthcare. Instead, they perform administrative tasks in healthcare facilities. These jobs are going to increase in number by a third over the next ten years. And that’s on top of the 700,000 existing jobs in this field.
These jobs require relatively little training, though you’ll be paid more if you’ve passed the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant exam and earned an associate’s degree in medical assisting. Median pay is around 34,000 dollars a year.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Nuclear medicine technologists work with radioactive drugs used for therapeutic or imaging purposes. They will also operate the imaging equipment used to diagnose or treat patients. The average pay for nuclear medicine technologists is 77,000 dollars a year. Projected job growth for the next ten years is ten percent.
To enter this profession, you need at least an associate’s degree from an accredited program. A few people enter this profession with a related degree and a 12-month certificate program in nuclear medicine. Certification in the field is a necessity, and some states require a license.
Radiation therapists operate machines that provide concentrated radiation therapy to treat a patient’s cancer. They will also explain treatment plans to patients and monitor patients during and after treatment. An associate’s degree in radiation therapy is the standard credential to work in this field. A few firms will accept someone who completed a relevant certificate program. In most states, you must be licensed, certified or both. There is a national certification exam for radiation therapists. Median pay for radiation therapists is 82,000 dollars a year. Projected job growth is 13 percent over the next ten years.
Speech Language Pathologists
Speech language pathologists are popularly called speech therapists. These professionals diagnose and treat communication and swallowing problems in children and adults. Their median annual pay is 78,000 dollars a year. Job growth for the next ten years is projected to hit 20 percent.
Most speech therapists hold a master’s degree. This role is regulated in all fifty states, and most require a license. When a license is required, you need at least a master’s degree from an accredited program, clinical experience under the supervision of a qualified pathologist and a passing grade on a licensing exam.
Genetic counselors provide counseling for patients based on genetic test results, whether it is their own DNA test or test results of an unborn child. Genetic counselors will provide information to both patients and other healthcare providers. Job growth is expected to be 30 percent over the next ten years. Median pay is 80,000 dollars a year.
To work in this area, you need at least a master’s degree in genetic counseling or genetics plus certification through the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
Nurse-midwives can and do deliver babies, though this is not everything they do. They may provide obstetric care for women and primary care for newborns. They can act as primary caregivers for women. They may treat sexually transmitted diseases and counsel women on contraception. Median pay is just over a hundred thousand dollars a year. Projected job growth is 21 percent over the next ten years.
In order to become a nurse-midwife, you must have at least a master’s degree from an accredited program. That’s only possible after you have a registered nursing license.
The healthcare jobs in greatest demand don’t always require an advanced degree. However, all of them are desperately needed to meet the needs of patients.