In the midst of a struggling economy, there is one sector that is rapidly growing – booming, in fact. That sector is health care. Just as the baby boomers flooded the market with a demand for toys and diapers in the 1950s, so are they now flooding the market with a need for increased health care.
An aging population and major changes to the healthcare system in the U.S. translates into a huge demand for skilled workers who can tend to patients in all realms of health care. In the past eight years, health care employment has seen steady growth – one of the very sectors that can claim this bragging right. More recently, in the past twelve months, the health care industry has added an average of 24,000 jobs per month, according to government statistics, while other industries have been barely holding on.
And this trend is expected to continue. In the next ten years, more and more baby boomers will reach retirement age, and changes to the health care system under “Obamacare,” which have already begun and will continue through 2014, include mandating health insurance for American citizens, allowing children to stay on parents’ plans until age 26 and replacing paper records with electronic records.
For people interested in pursuing a career in the medical field or one that is closely related to it, now is the best time to receive training. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that these 9 health care fields will be seeing significant growth from now until 2018:
- Billing and Accounting
Medical billing specialists and accountants are expected to grow 66% by 2018, mostly due to the increased number of Americans who will possess health insurance.
- Cardiovascular Technicians
High blood pressure, heart disease and stroke are more common in older adults. Technicians will be needed to operate the machinery, and this sector is expected to grow 52%.
- Public Relations Specialists
As the health care industry becomes more technologically savvy, smartphones and social media will become more common tools of the trade, in addition to traditional machinery. Therefore, hospital public relations will grow 52%.
- Physician Assistants
This arena will see another 52% increase, as physician assistants will be needed to take on more and more patients and help fill in the widening doctor gap.
- Pharmacy Technicians
52% more pharmacy technicians will be placed in hospitals, nursing homes, retail stores or pharmacies to help distribute the influx of pharmaceuticals to patients who need them.
- Massage Therapists
A slow shift toward alternative forms of medicine means that massage therapists may increase by 52%. Older adults will always be able to use a great massage.
The field of nursing will see a boost, with practical nursing growing 21% and registered nurses increasing by 43%. More patients in hospitals mean a greater demand for skilled nurses.
- Counseling, Clinical and School Psychologists
As depression and anxiety become more common, psychologists are invaluable in helping patients deal with life stressors. This sector is expected to grow 43%.
- Customer Service Representatives
Hospitals are trending toward customer service satisfaction, conducting surveys and becoming more attentive to patients as customers. Therefore, expect to see this field in health care grow 52%.
The prospects for the future of health care employment are bright indeed. Dale Carnegie, author of the best selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People, remarks that in his decades of research about what people care about, health and social interaction constantly rank as the top two concerns. If you can pursue a work environment where you will contribute to improving both the health of a person and their social well being (with a simple smile and conversation), you will have a most rewarding career.