The best jobs in healthcare for 2015 reflect the future of the healthcare industry.
Healthcare will always be a cornerstone of the job landscape, as the services healthcare professionals provide are necessities. Never was this made more evident than in the industry’s employment growth amid the economic recession a few years ago. As of November 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports approximately 18.9 million are employed in healthcare professions. That’s an increase of nearly 4 million from a decade ago, and the industry is projected to grow, as a whole, by another five million by 2022.
“The future of healthcare” doesn’t just mean new, innovative ways of providing care – well, not in all instances. Biomedical engineers are vested entirely in taking the healthcare industry into the future through innovations like bio-powered chips that fit inside human cells. With a growth outlook of 27% through 2022, the demand for biomedical engineers will grow much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will be strong because an aging population is likely to need more medical care and because of increased public awareness of biomedical engineering advances and their benefits, according to the BLS.
The varied opportunities and growing demand translate to a growth outlook of 36% per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a contributing factor in physical therapist’s place on our best healthcare jobs of 2015.
Eric Oliver, a physical therapist and owner of Beyond Exercise in Cincinnati, summed it up: “As long as people get hurt, you’ll always have a job.”
After rehabbing injuries as a soccer player, Oliver found an interest in athletic training. While studying at the University of Cincinnati, he discovered his calling was in physical therapy, in part because of the field’s “versatility” compared to just athletic training.
“It’s unique because there are a lot of paths you can go down: Pediatrics, geriatrics, athletic training,” he says. “And various subsets within each.” “You don’t have to see a physical therapist after you get hurt. It’s beneficial as a way to prevent injury and enhance performance,” Oliver says.
Preventive healthcare has an important place among our best healthcare jobs, reflective of the way in which consumers’ habits change.
Some of these fields can work hand-in-hand. For example, Oliver says he works with a dietitian specializing in sports nutrition. But one need not be training for a triathlon to make use of a dietitian’s expertise, much in the same way one need not be injured to benefit from physical therapy.
Likewise, you don’t need to have tooth pains to visit your neighborhood dentist and get treatment from a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists are one of the most in-demand professionals tracked by the 2015 Jobs Rated report at a projected 33% growth by 2022, due in part to increased access.
Dental hygienists will always be in demand because people will always need their teeth to be cleaned. Ongoing research linking oral health to general health will continue to spur demand for preventative dental services, says the BLS.
The healthcare industry is evolving in part due to the Affordable Care Act. A study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund found that in almost every state from 2013 to 2014, the percentage of the insured between the ages of 19 and 64, defined as “working age,” grew dramatically.
That means more people visiting their general practitioner, and increased hiring at doctor’s offices of support staff – staff like medical records technicians and medical technologists, two of the best healthcare jobs.
Similarly, pharmacists are needed to meet the demand commensurate with more prescriptions being doled out to the influx of new patients.
More insured consumers also means more access to preventive care – it’s just a matter of providers making consumers aware.
A December 2015 report conducted by insurance provider Cigna found 45% of respondents were unaware that insurance covers some preventative care, particularly annual check-ups.
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Americans use preventive services at only about half the recommended rate,” Cigna utilization management medical director Dr. Isaac Martinez said in a press release.
Healthcare’s growth isn’t entirely contingent on insurance accessibility, however. Oliver’s physical therapy practice does not take insurance, something he says was initially a challenge while building clientele.
However, his reasoning for this was simple: “In a standard practice, a person can get discharged well before they meet their intended goals, and that’s dictated by the insurance company,” he says.
“Once they’re rehabbed, they stay with us,” Oliver says is the case for most of his patients. “We get them to very end goal of where they want to be.”
In this mentality, one can glean the future of healthcare. It’s no longer just about fixing a malady, but rather preventing them, or improving to a new standard.
The following are the 10 best jobs in healthcare, per the 2015 Jobs Rated report. They are ranked as they appear in the Jobs Rated report, which evaluates careers on criteria of stress, hiring potential, income potential and workplace environment. The Jobs Rated methodology can be found here.