Health care-related jobs represent eight of the 10 "Most In-Demand and Fast-Growing Jobs of 2017," according to CareerCast.
CareerCast based the rankings on growth percentage forecasts and the number of new jobs expected to be created by 2024.
Home health aide earned the No. 1 spot, with a median salary of 22,600 in 2016 and the number of aides projected to increase by 38 percent between 2014 and 2024, accounting for 348,400 new positions by 2024. CareerCast said the aging Baby Boomer generation is in part responsible for the projected growth in the demand for home health aides.
Other health care jobs that are among the 10 most in-demand and fast-growing include:
- Physical therapist, at No. 2, with a median salary of $85,400 in 2016 and a projected growth of 34.56 percent between 2014 and 2024, accounting for 71,800 new jobs by 2024;
- Emergency medical technician, at No. 3, with a median salary of $32,670 and a projected growth of 24 percent between 2014 and 2024, accounting for 58,500 new jobs by 2024;
- Nurse practitioner, at No. 4, with a median salary of $107,460 and a projected growth of 31 percent, accounting for 53,400 new jobs by 2024;
- Occupational therapist, at No. 6, with a median salary of $81,910 and a projected growth of 29.04 percent, accounting for 30,400 new jobs by 2024;
- Physician assistant, at No. 7, with a median salary of $101,480 and a projected growth of 30 percent, accounting for 28,700 new jobs by 2024;
- Diagnostic medical sonographer, at No. 9, with a median salary of $64,280 and a projected growth of 26.53 percent, accounting for 27,600 new jobs by 2024; and
- Optician, at No. 10, with a median salary of $35,530 and a projected growth of 25.45 percent, accounting for 17,800 new jobs by 2024.
CareerCast did not provide the underlying factors driving growth for every position. However, it pointed out that demand for physical therapists is growing because patients are increasingly seeking preventive and restorative care (Lagasse, Healthcare Finance News, 5/30; CareerCast, "Most In-Demand and Fastest-Growing Jobs of 2017," accessed 5/31).
How health care employers and educators can build tomorrow's workforce
Entry-level health care jobs can be the launching pad for fulfilling careers built on caring for others—and for entering the middle class. But health care employers across the country are struggling to fill entry-level jobs (roles requiring minimal formal education but that are critically important to delivering high-quality, cost-effective care). In some cases, there are not enough candidates. In others, the candidates are lacking key skills and competencies.
There is tremendous potential for health care employers to work in partnership with educators to train and recruit the entry-level staff needed to serve patients in their communities.