Choosing the right career path in the world of healthcare can be a difficult and discerning decision for many people. While you might have a particular skill set that lends itself to certain types of jobs or even a specific area of medicine, issues of salary, job security, and the potential for a good work/life balance are also things that you need to consider when making this tough decision.
The good news is that there are a number of jobs right now in the field of healthcare that are considered to be in-demand. As a significant portion of the population of the United States is heading towards a more advanced age demographic and as modern medical technology and developments are providing people with a better quality of life for longer, there will continue to be a growing need for certain types of healthcare professionals for some time to come.
The more in-demand jobs in healthcare are not limited to a single area of medicine. Rather, the increase in demand from patients and the shortage of qualified healthcare professionals has created a lack of healthcare workers in a variety of fields. Whether you wish to work in a hospital setting, a private care practice, or an outpatient facility, the demand for skilled healthcare workers is high in many different areas of medicine. Furthermore, such jobs tend to come with enticing earning potential in addition to the job security presented by the current state of healthcare.
If you are looking to enter the world of healthcare but aren’t entirely sure what career path to take, here are four different careers in medicine that are considered to be in-demand.
Nursing is one of those careers in healthcare that always seems to be in need of qualified and experienced personnel. Of all the issues in nursing today, the persistent shortage of staff is one of the most prevalent. While there are some ways in which this shortage negatively impacts the day to day job of a nurse, it does mean that job security is one of the things that you can expect from a career in nursing.
Moreover, with such shortages of staff, hospitals are willing to offer higher salaries to more qualified nurses who are capable of taking on an extra workload and who can act as leaders in the workplace. Nurses are some of the most important members of the healthcare community, and they tend to perform jobs that cannot be done by anyone else. This means that there will always be a place for good nurses in healthcare.
It is also important to note that the need for nurses is not just something that is affecting the healthcare community right now. The job outlook in terms of growth for nurses is only predicted to expand in the coming years. There are a number of factors that contribute to this prediction, including the aging of the Baby Boomer generation as well as the fact that more people have access to health insurance now than ever before. With so many shortages, the field of nursing is going to continue to be one of the most in-demand jobs in healthcare around.
2. Physical Therapists
Another area of medicine that is in high demand at this point in time is that of physical therapy. This is most likely due to the fact that as more knowledge and information becomes available about the nature of chronic pain, more people are seeking assistance for managing chronic pain from physical therapists.
For instance, it was once thought that if you suffer from chronic back pain that you should take some time off and rest. Doctors and specialists would recommend that the sufferer perform as little physical activity as possible in order to let the underlying source of the pain heal. Today, it is known that resting and staying inactive is one of the worst approaches that you can take to most types of chronic back pain.
When you allow your muscles to rest for too long, they become stiff and can suffer from an added buildup of lactic acid. This only leads to more back pain and the perpetuation of the underlying problem. Instead, experts now know that keeping the muscles in the back loose and active is one of the best things that you can do for your pain. Most even recommend light exercise as a form of treatment.
Physical therapists have a deeper understanding about how the various muscle groups in the body work together. They specialize in teaching strength and mobility building exercises that can loosen up stiff muscles and strengthen others that can take the load off of an injured region of the body.
Another reason that more people are turning to physical therapists for chronic pain treatment is the fact that the prescribing of certain types of pain medication to treat a variety of pain issues has come under scrutiny in recent years. Not only are such medications highly addictive, but they tend to be accompanied by some seriously negative side effects. With such medication becoming less easy to justify as a valid means of pain management, more people turn to skilled physical therapists to help them on the road to recovery.
3. Dental Hygienist
One area of healthcare that is seeing a surge of demand for skilled and qualified workers is that of oral health. Dental hygienists are in high demand at this point in time for a variety of reasons. Once again, these reasons tend to pertain to the fact that more is being learned about the manner in which one’s oral health can affect other aspects of your overall health.
Some interesting studies, in particular, point to a direct correlation between dental health and cardiac health. For example, poor dental health can lead to an increased risk of developing certain types of bacteria in your bloodstream. Such bacteria can be detrimental to the heart’s ability to function properly. The link between coronary heart disease and periodontitis is also something that cannot be ignored.
Since more and more people are becoming aware of the fact that your oral health can impact your overall health, there is an increase in demand for qualified dental health providers. Dental hygienists are in particular demand as they are the ones who administer cleaning and other routine services to patients.
Another selling point for this career in healthcare is the fact that you don’t have to put yourself through years and years of schooling in order to become a skilled dental hygienist. Rather, you must earn an associate degree and obtain the relevant licensure, something that can be done in under three years.
4. Physician Assistant
There are a few notable reasons for the fact that physician assistants (PAs) are in such high demand at this time and even more reasons why that demand is expected to increase in the coming years. Firstly, the shortage of quality healthcare providers is not limited to the field of nursing. Rather, there is a growing lack of qualified physicians across the country, particularly in rural and underserved communities.
This means that the physicians who are practicing at this point in time are overloaded with patients and paperwork. Physician assistants are able to evaluate and diagnose patients as well as recommend a course of treatment as long as they do so under the supervision of a physician. Since a physician can have a number of PAs working for them, they are able to care for more patients at their practice or hospital.
Secondly, there has been a definitive push by the powers that be to encourage people to seek healthcare that is not of a life-threatening nature outside of the hospital setting. This is because hospital emergency rooms are struggling to keep up with the volume of patients, and if certain patients who are not in emergency situations can obtain quality healthcare elsewhere, then they are encouraged to do so. While this has helped to bring down the demand on hospital emergency rooms, it has increased the demand on private practices and other healthcare providers.
This is why physicians are in need of skilled and qualified PAs. As the volume of patients seeking healthcare at private practices increases, so will the demand for more PAs. Outpatient centers, urgent care centers, and ambulatory care centers are all looking for qualified PAs to help meet the demands that have been placed on them.
This healthcare role is not without its enticing elements, too. Aside from the job security created by the scenarios described above, the earning potential for a PA is around $104,000 per year. Moreover, PAs are not required to go through years of medical school and residency like the physicians they work for. Rather, to become a PA, you would need to earn your bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree. With your education and relevant experience completed, you can then apply for the appropriate licensure as dictated by the state in which you plan to work.