A career in health care is one of the best moves a prospective student can make in today’s economic climate. Health care services are incredibly constant when it comes to job demand, salary expectations, and educational requirements; no matter what happens, people always have a need for health care and medical assistance.
When combined with a relatively short training period, since many individuals can get into health care in under two years, the field is ideal for those looking to start a lasting and rewarding career.
Health Care Job Outlook
Although most of the talk surrounding staffing shortages in the medical field focuses on the low number of nurses, the truth is that almost all of the health care fields will be encountering employment difficulties over the next 30 years. As the Ba
by Boomer generation ages, not only will they require health care services in greater quantities, but they will also be entering their own retirement phases. With less than 10 percent of nurses currently under the age of 30, and equally daunting numbers in other health care fields, the future of health care offers a number of opportunities to those looking for a secure employment future.
As an entire field, the health care industry provides roughly 14 million jobs each year. Jobs are available in almost every county in every state, although more specialized positions are typically restrained to major metropolitan areas with specialty health care clinics and providers.
As an entire field, health care jobs are expected to increase by 3 million positions by 2016. It is the fastest growing field of any other U.S. career options, coming in at double the national average. The salaries are not far behind this huge increase in number, and most health care workers can expect to see annual wage increases that exceed the national rate.
Types of Health Care Jobs
Working in health care doesn’t just mean working in a hospital or doctor’s office. Although three-fourths of the jobs currently available do occur in this type of traditional setting, new boundaries are being pushed every day. It is no longer uncommon for health care professionals to work from home, to run their own businesses, to work as consultants for a number of medical laboratories, or even to work for big corporations or government entities.
Benefits of Health Care Careers
The health care field offers a greater variability and flexibility in schedule options than most other careers of similar rank and pay. For example, hospitals typically have to be staffed 24-7, and many other types of emergency clinics are likewise staffed during the night hours and weekends.
This is great news for anyone seeking employment outside the traditional 9 to 5 (although many health care professionals can and do keep the more traditional hours). Jobs are often offered as either part-time or full-time, providing even more flexibility to those who work more than one job or are taking care of a family at home.
The health care field also retains its employees at a higher rate than most other fields. Those who become nurses, medical assistants, or physical therapists – just to name a few – tend to stay in their jobs for longer. Part of this stems from the amount of specialized educational training that goes into health care; students often focus on one set of skills for up to four years, offering them a higher drive to stay within the field, especially since many of these skills are not necessarily transferable to other fields.
Of course, it’s not all about the investment of education; prospective students should never overlook the personal satisfaction that stems from working in the health care field. Those who work directly with patients on a regular basis are often able to see the visible results of the work that they do. This is not as common in any other field, and is a contributing factor for the higher rates of job satisfaction and the tendency to stay within the field for a lifetime’s worth of work.
Health Care Salaries
Salaries and hourly wages in the health care field are greatly varied, and depend primarily on the amount of experience and education of the professional. For the entire field, the average hourly rage falls at just under $17 per hour, although the true number can lie anywhere between around $12 and $30 per hour. Of these salaries, the top typically go to those with four-year degrees, especially when employed in a hospital setting. From there, the average salaries move down through private physician offices, outpatient centers, home health care centers, and, finally, residential care facilities.
Choosing Health Care as a Career
One of the greatest things about working in health care is that there are a number of different job types and options. Available careers include everything from dental assistants and medical billers to radiology technicians and pharmacy aides. Different types of facilities and advancement opportunities that reach into administration and supervision provide even greater variability for health care professionals looking to create a lifetime career. Whether you prefer to work face-to-face with patients or push papers behind a desk, there is a health care field that can be adapted to suit you.
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