Finding the right position in the healthcare field can be the first step toward a challenging and well-paid career. According to the experts at Forbes, approximately five million new jobs will be created in the healthcare sector by 2022, making this an outstanding field for new graduates and students deciding on their course of study.
Here are five high-growth jobs to consider in the modern healthcare environment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for physical therapists was nearly $80,000 in 2012. Experts are forecasting 36 percent growth in this profession between 2012 and 2022, making it a solid choice for students considering a career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists provide rehabilitative services for patients recovering from injuries or living with chronic conditions. A Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is required for licensure as a physical therapist; prerequisites for this degree program generally include a bachelor’s degree and coursework in areas related to healthcare and medicine. After graduation and licensing, physical therapists can set up independent practices or can work in clinical and hospital settings.
Nutritionists and Dietitians
With projected growth of 21 percent in available jobs between 2012 and 2022, nutritionists are likely to be in high demand throughout the healthcare field. A bachelor’s degree is required for nearly all professional dietitian and nutritionist positions. Internships and supervised training may also be included as part of the curriculum requirements. Licensing is required in many states. Many nutritionists pursue advanced degrees and certifications after graduation to obtain high-level jobs in this field. The Registered Dietitian Nutritionist credential is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration in association with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is a preferred credential among many employers.
With median salaries approaching six figures and a 31 percent growth in demand projected by 2022, nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses enjoy outstanding job security and solid compensation in the job market. Aspiring nurse practitioners must first meet the requirements to become a licensed registered nurse. A master’s degree is also required and typically includes practical experience in the clinical environment as well as coursework. Most students already hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing before pursuing a nurse practitioner master’s degree; however, some institutions offer bridge programs designed for those with an associate’s degree or certification at a lower level. Nurse practitioners are qualified to offer advanced health care services in clinics, hospitals and private practices and may be the primary healthcare provider in underserved communities and remote rural areas.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a bright job outlook for audiologists in the next few years. A growth rate of 34 percent will provide added employment opportunities for these healthcare professionals. Audiologists must be licensed and must have a doctorate in audiology to practice their trade in the U.S. Physiology, genetics, anatomy, communication development and pharmacology are among the main areas of focus for students pursuing these advanced degrees. After graduation and licensure, audiologists may practice in hospitals, clinics and private practices or may serve school districts by performing routine hearing tests on their students. Certification is available through the American Board of Audiology or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Orthotists and Prosthetists
New technologies have revolutionized the field of artificial limbs and prosthetics and have led to increased demand for qualified orthotists in the healthcare industry. This field is projected to grow much faster than average in upcoming years.
Orthotists and prosthetists are responsible for designing braces and prosthetic devices and fitting patients for these items to ensure the highest degree of mobility and functionality. Students interested in this field must obtain a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics. Coursework focuses on human anatomy, physiology and laboratory materials to provide a solid framework for future activities. In most cases, students must also engage in hands-on clinical experiences that allow them to put the skills they have learned in class to work in real-life situations.
Choosing to train for one of these professions can increase the job opportunities available to students after graduation. Additionally, the high demand for professionals in these fields can potentially boost the compensation offered by employers and the job security of individuals pursuing these careers in today’s competitive job market. The right educational programs can provide the skills and knowledge needed for success in the modern healthcare industry.