The Fastest-Growing Medical Jobs: Have You Considered These Careers?
Sep. 16, 2014
If you’re interested in a healthcare-related career, but lack the time, resources, or inclination to pursue a medical degree, you may find yourself overwhelmed at the many choices, fields, positions, and educational programs available for you to choose from.
Here, we guide you through a list of 10 medical careers that are currently available—some of which you may not have heard of, but all of which boast a promising outlook for the future.
“You are never fully dressed without a smile,” sang Little Orphan Annie in the famous musical. That same sentiment is reflected in the consistent growth of the dentistry field. If you’re thinking about entering the profession, here are some stats that will make you smile: The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 33% job growth for dental hygienists in the next 10 years. Graduates working full-time positions can make up to $70,000 per year, while this associate’s degree can accommodate those looking for part-time work as well.
If you’ve chosen the path toward nursing, know that there are plenty of options within the field to meet your interests. Registered nurses can choose to work with people young or old, concentrate on specific conditions, work in a hospital, clinic, or private home setting … the possibilities are many. Nursing is a career that is always in demand, with more than half a million new jobs expected to open up by 2022. A registered nurse can anticipate an average salary of around $65,000.
Would you like to be responsible for some of the duties that physicians perform, such as examining patients, making diagnoses, and providing treatment (all under the direction of a physician), but are unable to commit to a full doctor’s education track? You can find a fulfilling career as a physician’s assistant. Requiring a bachelor’s degree in addition to a two-year program study, this field requires much less time than the traditional path. The median average income for a physician’s assistant is about $92,970 and up, and the field is projected to grow at least 30% by 2020.
A surgeon’s job is certainly important. Less known but still very important is the technologist who prepares the tools the surgeon needs to do his or her job. This position requires the technologist to maintain a sterile environment for surgery, be responsible for the surgical team’s set of instruments, and provide direct assistance during surgery as needed. Surgical technologists may even be tasked to suture wounds or other assistive assignments. The demand for this field is expected to grow about 30% by the end of the decade, and technologists can enjoy a median annual salary of around $42,000.
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Healthcare is a field that is dedicated to service, but occupational therapy is particularly suited for those who seek the reward of helping others. In this role, the assistant helps the Occupational Therapist in developing routines to assist mentally or physically challenged patients, as well as the elderly, with everyday activities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the profession will grow an incredible 42.6% by 2020. An assistant in this field can expect to make an average of about $48,000 a year.
If you have a healing touch, why not put it to work beyond the spa. Massage therapists with a focused study in physiology and anatomy help to alleviate patients’ pain by helping to rehabilitate injuries, relieve stress, and aid in the general wellness of clients. The occupation is forecasted to grow by 22.6% in the next decade and boasts an average salary of about $36,000.
Perhaps you’ve never thought about breathing as being a career focus, but that’s just what respiratory therapists do. These professionals help patients with heart and lung problems by performing diagnostic tests, administering breathing treatments, and providing direct assistance with specific conditions such as asthma. The position only requires an associate’s degree but is remarkably challenging and rewarding. An estimated 22,700 new positions will open up in this field by 2020, and you can expect a median salary of around $56,000.
If you’re the type who loves to keep a smoothly running house and calendar, you may just love being a medical secretary or office administrator. Individuals who work in this profession manage the day-to-day patient flow, work with insurance companies, assist with general scheduling, and keep operations moving along. This is a bright prospect in terms of job growth, with an expected 30% increase by 2020 and a median salary of about $31,000.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Does using imaging equipment to assess and diagnose medical conditions appeal to you? This field is fascinating in its scope: Sonographers might find themselves telling an expectant mother “It’s a boy!” or examining nerves, organs, and muscles for abnormalities. Sonographers can expect to see a 39% job growth by the end of this decade, with a median salary of $66,000.
At first glance, the pharmacy technician’s job may seem easy—just assisting pharmacists in measuring and dispensing medication. However, this position requires skillful precision as well as a keen sense of caring and empathy in order to deal compassionately with people who are very ill. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this field will grow a healthy 20% between 2012 and 2022. Experienced pharmacy technicians can expect an average salary of around $30,000.