Best Health Care Jobs
Today our focus on preventing disease, illness and injury is just as apparent as our fight to diagnose and treat them. And as the youngest baby boomers celebrate their 50th birthdays this year, the need to employ qualified health care personnel to both prevent and treat medical conditions intensifies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports we not only need to retain those workers already in the field, but also add a substantial number of new ones, with the most occupational growth expected among health care support jobs. That’s why for this year’s list of Best Health Care Jobs, we include usual suspects like nurses and physicians, but also a few unexpected picks like diagnostic medical sonographers and veterinary technicians. Read more on how we rank the best jobs.
There’s a slightly lower education bar to enter this occupation than to become a physical therapist, but assistants do many of the same tasks, including monitoring therapeutic exercises, observing progress in a treatment plan and offering proper education for patients post treatment. Physical therapist assistants fell slightly from No. 9 to No. 11 this year, but this occupation is growing at breakneck speed: 41 percent between 2012 and 2022.
They’re basically animal doctors, but they’re so much more: They protect food supply by inspecting livestock, they promote public health by fighting animal-borne diseases and they help educate people on how to have a healthy relationship with animals. Given the advancements in this field, expect a 12 percent employment jump between 2012 and 2022.
Occupational therapy assistants work alongside occupational therapists, assessing patients’ abilities and devising a plan of action to improve their quality of life. Demand is particularly high in this occupation as baby boomers age. Expect 42.6 employment growth and 12,900 new job openings between 2012 and 2022.
In many ways, clinical lab techs are the glue that holds our hospitals together. They conduct many of the tests physicians use to diagnose patients and form a treatment plan. The BLS projects this field will balloon 29.7 percent by 2022.
Dietitians and nutritionists advise clients on food and nutrition, develop meal plans and track progress to live a healthier lifestyle or reach a nutritional goal. According to the BLS, this job should grow by more than 21 percent by 2022.
This job has both social and technical elements. The technical: You have to master using the medical equipment and make sure the patient is properly placed to get a just-right image. And the social: You’re interacting with nervous patients awaiting information on a medical condition. Sonographers made a median salary of $65,860 in 2012, and there will be 27,000 openings for the next decade.
There’s an art to alleviating pain and stress using touch, and there’s a need for more trained professionals with the ability to do just that. The BLS predicts that our No. 17 job, massage therapist, will grow 22.6 percent between 2012 and 2022.
Behind any qualified veterinarian is his or her support team: the technologists and techs who handle lab work, assist in surgery, administer anesthesia and collect patient histories. Sounds like the field for you? Consider this: Vet techs and technologists also have excellent job prospects and a low unemployment rate. The BLS predicts there will be 25,000 new job openings in this field between 2012 and 2022.
If you become a skin care specialist, you’ll work closely with clients to evaluate their skin condition, discuss treatments and improve their appearance. Sound interesting? Then you’ll be pleased to know this field is booming, with 39.8 percent expected job growth between 2012 and 2022.
Not every scrub-wearing hospital attendant is a doctor, orderly or nurse. Some are RTs, trained professionals who offer medical care and treatments to patients with heart and lung problems. The BLS forecasts about 19 percent employment growth in this career.
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