COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the medical field when it comes to employment, with millions of healthcare workers leaving their jobs and organizations facing a staffing shortage unlike any we’ve seen before.
Hiring qualified healthcare workers was already a challenge before the global pandemic, with surging numbers of Americans over the age of 50 driving the demand for care. All of this coupled with the fact that lifespans continue to increase means strong job growth and demand are projected for both the short and long term in healthcare professions.
We combed through data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the most in-demand professions in healthcare for 2022 and beyond. But first, let’s take a look at some of the data for the industry as a whole.
The State of Healthcare Employment in 2022
Employment in healthcare jobs is projected to grow at a rate of 16% between now and 2030, which is much faster than the average for all professions. In fact, healthcare has the highest projected job growth of any field in the U.S.
Healthcare practitioners and technical workers like physicians, RNs and dental hygienists can expect lucrative salaries, with the median annual wage for these professions rounding out to just over $75,000 a year.
To put it plainly, there’s never been a better time to be looking for a job in healthcare, and that’s the case for candidates with pretty much any level of experience. Still, some jobs are seeing more demand – and higher salaries – than others.
The 10 Most In-Demand Healthcare Jobs Right Now
1. Nurse practitioners
Nurse practitioners are among the most in-demand healthcare jobs, with sky-high projected job growth of 45 percent by 2030. The BLS also combines data from nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives in this occupational group.
Nurse practitioners receive generous compensation, with a median annual salary of $123,780. These advanced-practice nurses are tasked with the responsibility of assessing and treating patients, providing primary and secondary healthcare services.
2. Occupational therapy assistants
Occupational therapy assistants help patients who are working to develop and recover the physical skills needed for daily life and work. This in-demand job offers the opportunity to earn a lucrative salary (a median of $61,520 a year) without extensive higher education, requiring only an associate’s degree.
Job growth for occupational therapy assistants is projected at 34% by 2030.
3. Home health aides
Home health aides provide personal care to people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. They work in a variety of settings, including in patients’ homes and group care settings.
With a projected 33 percent increase in the 10-year period ending in 2030, home health aides are anticipated to experience an incredibly highest rate of growth. Many opportunities are available, no college degree is required, and it is an ideal starting point for those looking to move into other healthcare professions. The average median salary is $29,430 a year.
4. Physical therapist assistants
Physical therapy assistants work with physical therapists in implementing rehabilitation exercises and programs designed to help patients regain their mobility after injury or illness. This profession is projected to grow 32 percent through 2030 and earns a median yearly pay of $49,180.
Many physical therapists get their start as physical therapy assistants or physical therapy aides, making this job a great choice for those looking for strong future career opportunities.
5. Physician assistants
Physician assistants, or PAs, work on teams with physicians and surgeons and assist them in providing medical care to patients. They work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other outpatient settings.
PAs are well-paid healthcare professionals, earning a median pay of $121,530. It’s a segment of the workforce that’s projected to grow 31 percent through 2030. A bachelor’s degree is required, plus a master’s degree from a PA program.
6. Speech language pathologists
Speech language pathologists, or SLPs, diagnose and treat communication disorders in children and adults. Demand for professionals in this role has grown steadily over the past decade and will continue to do so, increasing an anticipated 29% by 2030.
SLPs earn a median salary of $79,060 a year. The job typically requires a master’s degree and most states require SLPs to hold a license.
7. Genetic counselors
Professionals in this emerging field assess patients for their risk of conditions like disorders and birth defects based on their genetics. They typically work in hospitals, university medical centers, diagnostic labs and physicians’ offices.
Genetic counselors earn a median pay of $80,150 a year. Job openings in the field are expected to grow by 26% over the current decade.
8. Athletic trainers
Athletic trainers work to diagnose, treat and prevent injuries and illnesses among athletes. They often work in educational settings like colleges and universities, while others work in physicians’ offices, private fitness centers or for professional athletic teams.
Athletic training jobs are projected to grow by 23 percent by 2030. Workers in the role currently earn a media pay of $48,420 a year.
9. Physical therapists
Physical therapists help ill and injured patients manage pain and regain movement. They generally work in health practitioners’ offices, in-home healthcare, hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors’ offices earning a healthy median salary of $95,620 per year.
Students preparing to become a physical therapist must earn a doctoral level degree. The BLS outlook projects 21 percent growth for this profession through 2030.
10. Medical assistants
Medical assistants help healthcare teams with clinical and administrative tasks. They might be responsible for things like drawing blood, taking vital signs, giving injections, prepping exam rooms and helping with minor procedures.They work in every type of healthcare setting, from hospitals to private practices.
A college degree is not required to become a medical assistant. This in-demand healthcare profession is anticipated to see job growth of 18 percent. Workers in this role earn a median pay of $37,190 per year.
Other High-Growth Healthcare Jobs
In addition to the top 10 mentioned above, BLS data suggests strong growth outlooks for these other roles:
- Respiratory therapists
- Massage therapists
- Veterinary technicians
- Orthotists and prosthetists
- Occupational therapists
The aforementioned list of in-demand healthcare jobs illustrates the importance of having efficient healthcare staffing solutions in place. Healthcare recruiters understand the nuances of the different professions, which allows them to secure interest from the most qualified job seekers. Healthcare staffing specialists implement assessments and gain insight to ensure that organizations only interview prospects that are ideally suited for the positions. Staffing agencies also have an expansive network of highly regarded talent and have existing relationships with candidates in your niche.
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