Job growth in the healthcare industry is often described as “explosive.” That’s not an exaggeration when the numbers are considered.
In a recent report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offered a list of the fastest growing jobs for 2017. Of the top dozen jobs, nine are in healthcare. That’s based on projections from the federal agency for the years between 2014 and 2024.
Fastest Growing Jobs in Healthcare
These jobs range across a number of different career fields within the healthcare industry. It’s another indication that there has never been a better time to enter the healthcare field.
The following professions all made the list of fastest growing jobs. The rate of growth is based on BLS projections. The median salaries are based on federal government numbers from May 2016, the latest available.
Occupational Therapist Assistant
Occupational therapist assistants work with patients to develop or recover physical skills needed to navigate everyday life. The BLS projects a staggering 43 percent growth in the profession by 2024. Occupational therapy assistants made a median pay of $59,010 in May 2016, with those in home health services making the most at $66,430.
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical therapist assistants work with physical therapists in providing help to patients with restricted movement because of chronic conditions or serious injury. The BLS projects 41 percent growth in the profession by 2024. Median pay is $56,610, with those working in nursing homes making the most at $65,240.
Physical Therapist Aides
As with assistants, aides also work with physical therapists in providing help to those with restricted physical movement. The BLS projects a 40 percent increase in this profession by 2024. The median pay is $25,680.
Home Health Aide
The home health aide field has exploded as an aging United States population requires more assistance even as many stay active longer than ever. Almost one million people already work in this field. The BLS projects even more growth by 2024, about a 38 percent gain. The median pay is $22,600, with the highest 10 percent in the field making $30,600.
Nurse practitioners play an increasingly important role in healthcare. They coordinate patient care and also provide much of the primary and specialty care once performed by doctors. The term nurse practitioner typically also refers to nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives. The BLS projects 31 percent growth in this field by 2024, with almost a quarter of a million entering the field. Median pay in the field was $107,460.
Physical therapists work with patients to regain physical movement as well as manage pain. Most patients have suffered either an injury or have a chronic condition that restricts physical movement. The BLS projects 34 percent growth in the field by 2024. Median annual pay as of May 2016 was $85,400, with the top 10 percent making more than $122,000.
The expansion of healthcare services has led to a need for those who can safely transport patients. The need for ambulance drivers is expected to grow 33 percent by 2024. Median annual pay was $23,850 in May 2016.
Occupational therapy aides
Much like occupational therapy assistants, aides work with patients to recover the physical movement needed for day-to-day living. Many work for home health care agencies, nursing homes or hospitals. The BLS projects 31 percent growth in the field by 2024. Median annual pay in May 2016 was $28,330.
This job field has grown quickly as physician assistants now perform many of the patient care duties once reserved for doctors. They diagnose and set up treatment plans for patients. The BLS projects 30 percent growth in the field by 2024. Median annual pay in May 2016 was $101,480.
These represent the fastest growing jobs in healthcare, but by no means all of them. As healthcare continues to expand, workers are needed in every job related to providing medical services.
For recent graduates looking for their first job and working professionals looking to transfer to a new location, there has never been a better time to be in the healthcare field.