The healthcare landscape has changed much in recent years, and the future will bring about more change—particularly through things like A.I. and machine learning. Every year, we learn new things about the body, new processes, and adopt new technology to make the healthcare system as effective as possible. With that technology comes new jobs as well. While the healthcare industry itself is constantly growing, there are also certain niches within the system itself that are growing far more than others.
In this guide, we’ll cover five of these niches. In most cases, the growth is attributed to the rise of some new health problems (like COVID-19), or the expansion of the healthcare system into new territory. Let’s look closer at these five healthcare careers on the rise.
Online Education and COVID-19
COVID-19 has had a major impact not only on our social lives, but also on our education. Now, more than ever before, online and hybrid education models are being adopted to combat the spread of the virus, and many are finding that they actually prefer these models to traditional educational models. Why? It could be that working from home induces less stress, is more affordable, or just makes things more convenient. Either way, online healthcare schools and programs are more abundant than ever, and you can gain dozens of different certifications in 1-2 years.
1. Medical Assistants
One of the fastest-growing occupations in healthcare today is that of a medical assistant. Medical assistants are largely responsible for various clinical and administrative tasks in physician’s offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and more. They answer phones, file paperwork, take down information, and assist in the general organization and administration of healthcare facilities.
According to the BLS.gov website, medical assistants can make around $34,000 per year, but this will depend on numerous factors. As of last year, 2019, there were about 725,000 jobs in the US, with a projected growth outlook through 2029 of about 19%. The US is expected to add over 100,000 more medical assistant positions in the next decade!
2. Nurse Practitioners, Midwives, Anesthetists
With a median salary of about $115,000 per year, this is a niche that you might want to consider if you’re looking for a higher-end healthcare career. Practitioners, midwives, and anesthetists provide direct specialized care for patients, including administering medication, delivering children and post-childbirth care, and more. This is a rewarding and challenging niche, and one that can set you up with a comfortable living.
As of 2019, there were about 263,000 of these jobs in the US, but according to the BLS, the niche is expected to grow by 45% through 2029. There are to be an estimated 117,000 new jobs added in the next decade, so there’s never been a better time to get your degree. Oh, and you’ll typically need a master’s degree to work in this niche, so don’t wait!
3. Physical Therapists
Following a major operation, trauma, or some other medical impairment, a patient will usually be referred to a physical therapist to learn to regain muscle control and autonomy. The physical therapist is responsible for helping to guide the patient back to a sense of normalcy. Physical therapists are a crucial component of the recovery process, and the job market for these specialists is on the rise.
There are an estimated 258,000 of these jobs currently available in the US, with an estimated growth rate of 18% through 2029. It’s expected that about 47,000 jobs will be added before 2029.
4. Occupational Therapists
Similar to physical therapists, occupational therapists are also responsible for assisting in the rehabilitation process of ill, disabled, or recent surgery patients. Occupational therapy can be a rewarding and exciting career, as you’ll be helping patients to regain mobility and functionality to return to everyday life.
There are about 143,000 of these jobs available today, with an expected growth of around 16% through 2029, adding an estimated 22,000 jobs before the decade is over. It’s a good time to become an occupational therapist, but you’ll need a master’s degree to work in the field.
5. Pharmacy Technicians
While the need for pharmacists might be on the decline (at -3%), the need for pharmacy technicians is on the rise by about 4% through 2029. While this is far less than the other careers on this list, a 4% growth is still growth! The demand for pharmacy technicians has risen as the need for more efficient pharmacies and the rise of online/mail-order pharmacies.
The great thing about becoming a pharmacy tech is that it takes only about 10-14 months, depending on the program. There are fast-track programs to get you into the field in just 10 months, so if you’re looking for a quick ticket into healthcare, this is it. The projected growth numbers mean that you’re likely to find a job once you graduate, as there are around 422,000 of them already.