Why is Nobody Talking About the Health Care Jobs Revolution?



Too many of us are unemployed.
Where’s the green jobs revolution that was supposed to save the economy? How about Obama’s infrastructure projects, have those eased the nation’s 10% unemployment pain yet?

Despite politicians’ rhetoric, those two sectors haven’t provided a parachute for America’s employment nosedive. But one industry continues to quietly churn out jobs despite the recession. Its name is more often associated with political debate than steady jobs. Yet thanks to an aging baby boomer population, jobs in health care will be on the rise for the foreseeable future.

According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, 8 of the 10 highest-paying career paths are in healthcare. Even the jobs that don’t involve medical school pay a wage that will keep you in the middle class. For example:

* RNs have an annual median income of more than $60,000, with 22% projected job growth in the next 8 years. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos083.htm
* Physician Assistants (PAs) have a median wage of more than $80,000, with 39% projected job growth.
* Occupational therapists: $67,000 median income; 26% job growth.
* Physical therapists: Median earnings of more than $72,000; more than 30% job growth.

Engineers, corporate managers, and **** have similar or slightly higher median wages, but the projected job growth for those careers is in the 10% range. So you have a similar level of education to people in the medical careers above, but you fight more competition for the same pay. To me, that signifies that the old university meme of “get into business and you’ll make money” has been turned on its head.

Another perk of the medical profession is that you can land a number of entry-level jobs with minimal training. If you’re facing dire financial straits, quick training can land you a quick job, which in turn can save you from dire consequences like foreclosure.

This happened to a web designer friend of mine. When her work slowed to dangerous levels, she took a two-week CNA (certified nurse’s assistant) training course. Now that she received her certificate, she has more work than she can handle. Other short or relatively short (2 years or less) training courses include phlebotomy, x-ray technician, medical coding, and physical therapy assistant. Such careers might be worth considering for stability alone.

I’m surprised the media hasn’t talked much about how many health care jobs are out there. Maybe it’s not at sexy as “green jobs,” or positive health care news simply doesn’t have a place in the current debate. But the fact is that health care is probably the single most promising job industry for the foreseeable future.

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