The 9 fastest-growing jobs in health care—and how much they pay

Read Advisory Board's take: Three steps to help fill the fastest-growing health care roles

Health care occupations make up nine of the 20 jobs that will grow the fastest by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

For the list, BLS identified the 20 occupations with the highest projected percent increase in employment between 2016 and 2026.

The health care jobs on the list

Home health aide was the highest-ranked health care occupation on the list, ranking No. 3 overall. The median annual income for home health aides is $23,310, and the occupation is projected to grow by 47% between 2016 and 2026.

The other health care jobs that are among the 20 fastest-growing jobs between 2016 and 2026 include:

  • Personal care aides, at No. 4, with projected growth of 39% and median annual income of $23,100;
  • Physician assistant, at No. 5, with projected growth of 37%, and median annual income of $104, 860; 
  • Nurse practitioners, at No. 6, with projected growth of 36% and median annual income of $103,880 ;
  • Physical therapist assistants, at No. 8, with projected growth of 31% and a median annual income of $57,430;
  • Physical therapist aides, at No. 11 (tie), with projected growth of 29% and  median annual income of $25,730;
  • Medical assistants, at No. 11 (tie), with projected growth of 29% and median annual income of $32,480,
  • Genetic counselors, at No. 11 (tie), with project growth of 29% and median annual income of $77,480; and
  • Physical therapists, at No. 16, with projected growth of 28% and median annual income of $86,850.

Overall, the fastest growing job is solar photovoltaic installer, with a projected growth rate of 105% and median annual income $39,490 (Hess, CNBC, 3/6).

Advisory Board's take

Micha'le Simmons, Senior Consultant, HR Advancement Center

These new figures from BLS underscore just how quickly the job market in health care is growing. And especially so in outpatient settings, where demand for medical assistants, home health aides, and nursing assistants is expected to grow more than 30%—far surpassing the 6.4% growth expected in hospital employment. This staggering growth can present problems for today's health systems, which often just aren't set up to recruit the right candidates for these roles.

So how can health systems ramp up their recruitment efforts for these outpatient entry-level health roles (as well as with perennially hard-to-fill roles like hospital nurses)? You need to remove as many barriers as possible for candidates to apply and interview.

“Hospitals need to remove as many barriers as possible for candidates to apply and interview”

You'll need to look beyond traditional recruiting channels and source candidates from a broader range of backgrounds. You can also consider adopting an new approaches like Baystate Medical Center—which committed to having walk-in interviews for nurses and condensing the entire hiring process from weeks into a few hours. While doing so might require new investments, with national bedside nurse time-to-fill hovering at a median of 54 days (almost two months) and rapid demand growth for outpatient entry-level roles, it's worth making some changes to the interviewing process to benefit candidates and the organization. In the end, making these changes will also help you use hiring managers' time more efficiently.

A key lesson to remember: Your prospective employees want convenience just as much as your patients do. We have to apply some of those same principles from consumerism to the application process.

If you want to take steps to speed the time it takes for qualified candidates to apply and be offered a job, you need to address a few things:

  1. Provide your managers with clear evaluation criteria for the interviews: In order for hiring managers to make faster hiring decisions, they'll need to quickly assess whether someone is a good fit or not. More often than not, hiring managers aren't using consistent criteria to evaluate a staff member for any given role. Check out our BBI interview template builder to give your managers questions they can ask to evaluate key competencies and guidance on what constitutes a good (or bad) response.
  2. Swap ad hoc interviews for dedicated interviewing blocks on managers' calendars: You'll need your managers to hold consistent times where they can be on-deck for an interview. The good news for them: No more random interview scheduling on their calendar.
  3. Leverage your own social media—and your employees'—to market your events: Most importantly, you need people to show up to hiring events. Don't overlook tapping your own employees to share about these hiring events on their Facebook or LinkedIn. There's no better brand ambassador for your organization than your own employees. Check out our social media audit (tool #10) to learn how some tips to better leverage social media in recruiting.

If you're interested in more on making your recruiting more candidate-centric, be sure to download our research report on how to Win Talent in a Candidate-Centric Market.

Download the Report

Then, be sure to look at our page devoted to resources for expanding and improving your candidate pool to get leading organizations' tools for how to make job posting clear, pitch to candidates at live events, and prepare managers to uncover candidates' 'hot button' issues to sell them on the job. 

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