December 11th, 2009
From nursing to physical therapy to health information technology, many of the fastest-growing careers available today are in the health care sector and will be long into the future. In fact, in many regions of the country, health care is the only industry actually adding jobs in a layoff economy. As just one of many examples, the Lee County Memorial Health System was credited with being a major source of economic stability in Southwest Florida in a recent article by the News-Press, a newspaper in Fort Myers, Fla.
The reasons behind the growth of health care jobs are manifold. The first reason is sheer population growth, and that increase results in more people overall needing medical care. Even more notable, however, is the aging of a large segment of our population, the Baby Boomers. The older you become, the more likely you are to have injuries and illnesses that require visits to a health care center. This creates a demand for skilled health care workers to meet the demand created by this aging population. As for how long this trend will last, consider this data from the U.S. Census Bureau: By 2030, all of the Baby Boomers will be 65 and older, meaning almost 1 in 5 U.S. residents will be 65 and older.
Another reason health care jobs are in demand is because many health care workers are nearing retirement age, particularly health care workers who are Baby Boomers. For example, the aging of nurses in the U.S. has contributed to projections of a widespread and ongoing nursing shortage. And there's nothing like a shortage to help your health care skills be in high demand after college.
The Huffington Post noted that the jobs of tomorrow are going to be in health care and green tech. The article also points out that 17 of the next decade's 30 fastest-growing jobs, as projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, will be in health care.
Just a sampling of those health care occupations in which job growth is expected to be high are: physicians, physician assistants, nurses, physical therapists and health information technicians. Between 2008 and 2018, jobs are projected to grow by 22 percent for physicians and surgeons; 39 percent for physician assistants; 22 percent for nurses; 30 percent for physical therapists; and20 percent for health information technicians. Good luck finding that kind of job growth outside of health care!