Getting an education in health care could put you among the highest paid workers in the nation or prepare you for one of the country's most in-demand occupations. All ten of the highest paid jobs in the United States belong to medical practitioners, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, by government estimates, six of the ten fastest growing jobs from 2012-2022 are health care careers.
For job seekers, one of the best aspects of the health care field may be its diverse range of employment opportunities. While physicians and surgeons must have advanced degrees, there are plenty of options requiring only short-term training or an associate degree. Here's a breakdown of careers in health care.
PROJECTED EMPLOYMENT CHANGE
JOB GROWTH %
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||$60,410||58||33.1%|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||$57,750||125||27.1%|
|Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides||$50,130||254||27%|
Health care practitioners include surgeons, physicians, specialists and similar professionals who are experts in the field of medicine. These individuals must spend years in the classroom before they can begin their work, but in return for their dedication, they earn the highest salaries in the country. According to the BLS, anesthesiologists had the top-paid occupation in 2014, earning average annual salaries of $246,320.
However, not all practitioners need a medical degree. For example, registered nurses typically have an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing. These professionals earned, on average, $69,790 in 2014. Meanwhile, licensed practical and vocational nurses may not even need a degree, and they earned average salaries of $43,420 in 2014. Demand for both RNs and LPN/LVNs is expected to grow faster than average in the years to come.
The next category of health care careers covers technical occupations. These professionals are technicians and technologists who often operate specialized equipment to assist physicians in diagnosing and treating illnesses.
Diagnostic medical sonographers, clinical laboratory technicians and MRI technologists are a few of the in-demand career options in this category. Some technical occupations require a bachelor's degree, but a number of positions are open to those with an associate degree or postsecondary training. What's more, technical occupations are in-demand across the country. Diagnostic medical sonographers have the highest job growth in this category with the BLS estimating demand for these workers will increase 46 percent from 2012-2022.
This final category of careers in health care may be best for those who want to be a part of the growing medical field but don't feel as though a clinical job would be right for them. Administrative support occupations provide a range of services from record-keeping to billing and coding.
With electronic patient records now the norm, medical offices are increasing relying on trained workers who can ensure that complete and confidential files are maintained. As a result, medical records and health information technicians are expected to see job growth of 22 percent from 2012-2022, according to the BLS, while demand for medical secretaries could increase 36 percent during that time frame.
Whether you want to study to become a highly-trained surgeon or are looking for a position that will allow you quick entry into the workforce, this page is your starting point for finding the perfect career. Explore the sections above to learn more about jobs for practitioners, technical specialists and administrative support positions. If you need customized guidance, click the online support box at the bottom of this page for help in pinpointing specific programs that support your career goals.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition
2. Fastest growing occupations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_103.htm
3. May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
4. Medical quotes, http://www.quotegarden.com/medical.html