By 2020, the U.S. government predicts a shortage of between 800,000 and one million nurses. (Close to 117,000 short in California alone.)
Before that – 2015 – the U.S. Department of Health projects that 400,000 new nurses will be needed just to fill vacancies left by retirees.
Here’s a closer look at the need, from a blog posting we did in 2009. Since then, 2012 Labor statistics project that at least 580,000 new nursing jobs will be generated in the U.S. just by 2016. And that’s just the jobs that will be generated, not the total needed to fulfill healthcare goals.
Primary care doctors
While general practitioners typically earn less than specialists, and – as a result – fewer doctors are choosing to work in general medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians estimates there will need to be 52,000 new doctors in the U.S. to meet the needs of population-growth, an increasingly aging population, and additional insured people who were previously uninsured.
Medical and nursing assistants
Our aging population may see the creation of as many as 312,000 new nursing assistant jobs, in the next decade, in-step with the growing need for doctors and nurses for which there will have to be additional support – via medical assistants in clinics and nursing assistants in hospitals.
Nursing assistants typically require more training than, for example, home health aides or personal care aides and earn slightly more, at an average of $24,000 a year.
Certified nursing assistants earn an average of $35,000 a year, with the top of the pay scale reaching to around $65,000 a year
Other related jobs
As the need for healthcare – including medication – rises, there should be a rise in job openings for pharmacy technicians, medical secretaries, dental assistants (not to be confused with dental hygienists, who have a higher level of training and responsibility), as well as healthcare administrators plus EMTs and paramedics.
Jobs involving Quality Of Life (QOL) measurement and action
A groundbreaking article in a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal uses examples from several people whose lives have been changed by medical professionals attending to their quality of life, and how QOL is set to transform healthcare in America.
The most modern, progressive models distinguish QOL as less about how many times someone’s taken their meds in a day and more about how “happy” a patient is.
The Affordable Care Act includes $3 billion in funding to support more accurate surveys and models to help track and maintain QOL.
Personal and home care workers…lots of them
The landscape for job prospects for both home health aides and personal care aides is incredible, no matter how you look at it.
The number of people working as personal care aides alone has already grown from 534,000 to 985,000 between 2002 and 2012 – an increase of 118 percent.
By 2022, this explosion of available jobs is expected to grow by an additional 50 percent, adding 581,000 more personal care positions to the U.S. healthcare sector.
Median pay for such jobs is $19,910, with the top 10 percent of earners making an average of $27,580.
Physical therapists, medical techs, and vets
Finally, a new report by Chicago-based Challenger Grey and Christmas (the oldest executive outplacement firm in the US.) says demand will rise significantly for physical therapists, medical technicians, and medical records technicians by 2020.
Also, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand for vets will rise by 36 percent by 2020.
While it seems like nearly every medical profession will see a rise in job openings, there are some specialties that will be in especially high demand in the next six years.