Thursday, September 11, 2014
Three Growing Fields in Healthcare by Emily Newhook
As the U.S. economy continues to recover from the recession, new job creation will play a critical role in the recovery. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health care and social assistance are expected to contribute significantly to new job creation between 2012 and 2022. With such significant growth, looking for a job in the health care industry is a smart choice for recent graduates and young professionals. Here are three health care fields that are growing quickly.
1. Home Health and Personal Care
Personal care and home health aides work with people who may be disabled, cognitively impaired or chronically ill, often older adults. Personal care aides assist clients with a range of daily tasks and help them take care of themselves. Home health aides do similar work and also provide basic health services such as medication administration or checking vital signs. Additionally, people who work in this field play an important role in the lives of their clients by providing companionship and support, which is essential for people who may otherwise experience social isolation.
The BLS estimates home health and personal care aide jobs will grow much faster than average, adding 424,400 and 580,800 new jobs respectively between 2012 and 2022. The home health and personal care field could be a great place to begin a career in health care because it doesn’t require an advanced degree to get started; typically aides receive training from their employer to help earn state-mandated certifications. Many people also find the direct patient interaction and care a rewarding experience.
2. Physical and Occupational Therapy
People who go into physical therapy as either a therapist or aide help those who have experienced illness or injury recover mobility and manage pain. Occupational therapists and aides also play a critical role in the recovery and long-term care of patients by helping them recover or develop skills needed for everyday functioning. As the baby boomer generation ages, there will likely be increased demand for these jobs in order to help the aging population maintain mobility and independence later in life. Therapists also work with the increasing population of people living with chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
According to the BLS, as many as 171,600 new jobs will be added to the field (therapists and aides) between 2012 and 2022. Assistants and aides are required to have at an associate’s degree from an accredited program. In order to become a physical therapist, most people first earn a bachelor’s degree and then a three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Similarly, occupational therapists must complete a master’s degree and can pursue a doctorate as well.
3. Medical and Health Service Management
Also known as health care executives and administrators, people in this field help facilitate medical and health services operations by planning, directing and coordinating services in facilities ranging from small clinics to departments to large hospital systems. Managers work with all types of health care professionals including physicians, nurses and other health care workers. In addition to being able to collaborate effectively, medical and health service managers must stay on top of current health care policies, regulations and advances in medical technology. Between 2012 and 2022, this field is expected to produce an estimated 73,300 new jobs.
The health care and social assistance sector is expected to account for about one-third of new jobs by 2022, so now is an ideal time for young professionals to enter the health care industry. The three fields outlined above illustrate the diversity of job opportunities and educational or training requirements. The potential for long-term career growth makes choosing a job in the health care industry a good decision for the future.
About the author: Emily Newhook (@EmilyNewhook) is the community relations manager for the online MHA program (MHA@GW) and the online master of public health program (MPH@GW) offered through the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. In her free time, she enjoys horror movies, baking and exploring the D.C. area.