Nurse practitioners, occupational therapists and physical therapists topped the list for the fastest-growing healthcare jobs in the coming decade, and home health aides and personal care aides followed closely behind. Medical assistant jobs are growing at a far faster rate than most occupations in the U.S., with a projected 31% growth in the number of jobs available between 2010 and 2020. Dental assistant jobs are expected to grow 31 percent between 2010 and 2020, leading to an additional 91,600 jobs over 10 years. The following jobs include audiologists, which are expected to grow by 34 percent, dental hygienists by 33 percent, nutritionists by 21 percent, physical therapists by 36 percent, and medical records jobs by 22 percent.
While average employment changes for all positions in all industries are projected at 7 percent until 2026, this list shows demand is far greater in healthcare, where it is expected to grow by an incredible 18 percent–that is 2.4 million new jobs, more than in any other occupational group. Employment in healthcare occupations is expected to grow by 15 % from 2019 through 2029, far faster than the average of all occupations, adding an estimated 2.4 million new jobs. The report found that healthcare has gained 143,800 jobs since early 2021, but is still short by 449,500 jobs from its February 2020 pandemic levels. Between December 2020 and December 2021, the health care industry added 63,300 jobs, an increase of 0.4%.
Overall, since February 2020, the healthcare workforce has lost over 500,000 workers, of whom approximately 400,000 are employed by nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Nursing and medical facilities made up most of the losses, losing 38,000 jobs as of September, and hospitals lost 8,000. Meanwhile, in December 2021, nursing homes saw a net loss of 5,200 jobs, while in-home health agencies lost 2,200 jobs. Healthcare jobs in services provided outside of hospitals, like in walk-in clinics, actually increased by 28,000, but that was not enough to make up for the losses.
Other health care jobs followed in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and doctors offices, in home health care, assisted living, nursing, and living-in care situations, and in other areas. There has been a big push by patients to seek out care outside hospital settings due to the new ACA regulations, said Kyle Mattice, health services chair for The Execu|search Group, which is based in New York. Many nursing assistants are employed by senior living communities, caring for older patients who cannot perform some tasks independently. Registered nurses handle most nursing needs at hospitals and clinics, from coordinating care for patients to providing emotional support for families.
Registered practical nurses provide essential nursing care in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health facilities. Surgical technologists also may be asked to perform light patient care, similar to the duties of a nursing assistant or home health aide. In some cases, a home health aide can help administer medications and monitor and record vital signs, with guidance from the nurse. Medical aides also assist physicians in exams, taking patients blood pressures, and can give injections or medications.
Some nurse practitioners are working as medical assistants, as the training for the two jobs is similar. Emergency Medical Technicians, or EMTs, work in fire departments and for health care device distributors, but the majority of them get jobs at hospitals and urgent care clinics. Although some workers may be hired with only an associates degree, most workers in health care require a lot of training, bachelors degrees, or medical degrees in order to be employed by medical facilities. Psychiatrists sometimes work as internists, but mostly they work with other providers of health care in diagnosing the mental status and stability of patients.
Health professionals are woven across the economy, employed by big institutions such as hospitals, health insurers, and nursing homes, but also at places such as small bookkeeping firms that help doctors obtain reimbursements for their care, and as independent brokers who help sell insurance products to customers. Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are 16 million jobs related to medicine, and that profits generated in the health care industry are estimated at around $2.7 trillion annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says a total of around 320,000 new healthcare jobs were added to the economy in 2012. In a Health Affairs article, the Bureau of Labor Statistics credits the jobs created by health care with helping the overall U.S. economy bounce back after the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for skilled healthcare workers across various sectors is expected to grow 19% by 2024. Given current shortages, and considering that many workers may continue to retire, the U.S. health care sector could be without over one million professionals within just a couple of years. Even if the governments massive expansion in the health sector left doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals jobs untouched, it would still force the reshaping of an enormous system employing millions of middle-class Americans. Initial studies by economists at the University of Massachusetts, who have consulted for several 2020 campaigns, have estimated that 1.8 million healthcare jobs across the country would be eliminated if Medicare-for-all-styled legislation were to pass, upending the healthcare insurers and thousands of middle-class workers whose jobs mostly involve dealing with them, including insurance brokers, medical billing clerks, and other administrative workers.
Under more ambitious schemes, millions of health workers would at least be displaced, if not laid off, as insurance companies vanish or are restructured, and as politicians try to drive down costs in the system by cutting overhead and lower labor costs. The health care sector is in the tank because of an expanding population, which will need more care with age. With aging populations and a constant need to provide health care for all citizens, the healthcare industry is growing to meet the needs of the community. The pandemic has also placed unprecedented stress on our mental and physical health, reminding us of the importance of taking care of ourselves as well as of the medical professionals that help us to do so.