Anyone considering a new career, or a career change, would be wise to give some attention in the decision making process to the healthcare juggernaut. The industry is growing at leaps and bounds as the heavily populated Baby Boomer generation grows into old-age and ramps up demand for medical services of all types.
According to statistics, there were approximately 76 million births between 1946 and 1964. That’s a lot of Baby Boomers hitting senior age over about a 20-year span. Add that to the also-growing demand for healthcare by the remaining population, and it is clear the industry will not slow its rapid rise anytime soon.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show there were 14.3 million healthcare workers in 2008 in the United States alone. That figure is projected to grow to 17.5 million by 2018 – a 22.5 percent increase. About 40 percent of those positions are currently in hospitals; 21 percent in nursing and residential care facilities; and 16 percent in physician’s offices while a range of other employers fill out the remainder.
To put the 22.5 percent overall growth rate of the healthcare industry into perspective, all other industries combined are only expected to see an 11 percent increase through 2018.
Here’s where the most job growth is anticipated, according to the labor bureau:
- Home healthcare services – 46.1 percent
- Assorted healthcare practitioner offices – 41.3 percent
- Medical and diagnostic laboratories – 39.8 percent
- Outpatient care centers – 38.6 percent
- Dentist offices – 28.5 percent
- Nursing and residential care facilities – 21.2 percent
- Public and private hospitals – 10.1 percent
From that list, the influence the famously independent Baby Boomer generation will have on specific areas of future job growth becomes quite clear. Those who may be considering work in the field should ensure due diligence is observed throughout the decision making process. Not everyone is cut out for work in healthcare; however, there are many different avenues to pursue based on personal motivations and commitment levels.
Some healthcare specialties will require a stronger constitution due to regular dealing with blood, communicable diseases and other harsh elements like critical injuries and trauma or something less serious like a recurring yeast infection. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for other professional-types as well. Many healthcare jobs – radiology or office management – require little or no exposure to the blood and guts of the business and are therefore a fine choice even for the most squeamish candidate.
The healthcare industry is also attractive because it includes positions with a full range of academic requirements and associated pay scales. Just about any education level is represented somewhere in the healthcare industry and that means many doors are open for employment and advancement. That makes healthcare a clear winner in the promise of job creation over the next decade.