If you’re tapping into the healthcare job market as you navigate on your career path, you’ve chosen one of the fastest growing industries in the labor market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a higher than average rate of growth for many positions and roles in the healthcare industry through 2010 (Source: bls.gov 2008-2009). From registered nurses to medical assistants, here are the best career opportunities and salary outlook if you’re interested in a career in the healthcare industry:
1. Medical Assistants. These healthcare professionals are responsible for coordinating day-to-day office operations in a healthcare facility, managing patient files, and keeping track of patient activities on a doctor or physician’s behalf. Special training is often required, making this a specialized role beyond a typical receptionist or front desk position; as a result, average annual salaries are a reported $27,190 for 2008 and the industry is expected to accommodate for a 35 percent growth through 2010.
2. Receptionists and information clerks. From healthcare database libraries to manning the front desk of a retail healthcare operation, receptionists will continue to be in high demand for the upcoming years. The occupational growth is expected to reach at least 17 percent, offering an average annual salary of $23,180. The sector is expected to increase by 202,000 new jobs through 2010.
3. Computer software engineers. As the healthcare industry continues to rely on computer applications and databases to manage recordkeeping, reporting, and general administration, demand for innovative and skilled developers of computer software is also on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a whopping 45 percent growth in this segment. The average salary for computer software engineers is $82,000 in 2008.
4. Registered nurses. Almost 600,000 new jobs are expected to open up for registered nurses through 2010, with increasing opportunities in management and supervisory positions. The average annual salary for RNs is $59,730 for 2008, and the position requires the completion of a nursing program, as well as gaining experience through an internship or formal training program at a hospital.
5. Nurses aides. The demand for certified nursing aides is increasing as baby boomers retire and require special care. Average salaries are $22,960, or between $11.00 – $13.00 per hour for 2008. While this doesn’t seem like enough for someone completing their education in the medical field, nursing aides do have many opportunities for career growth and can build their skills to take on roles with more responsibility.
6. Home health aides. Home health aides are needed to take care of patients before and after surgery in the comfort of their own homes. The position requires certification in order to act as a caregiver or personal attendant. This segment of the healthcare industry is also growing rapidly with growing demand for specialized care for the elderly, mothers on maternity leave, and for patients who are recovering from surgery. The average annual salary is $20,100 for 2008, and it is one of the fastest growing specializations with an anticipated growth of 49 percent.
7. Computer systems analysts. With both corporate hospitals and independent practices relying on efficient computer systems and networks to manage data, demand for computer systems analysts is also on the rise. The position requires in-depth knowledge of hospital and clinic operations along with software options applicable to the industry. Average annual salaries for computer systems analysts across all industries are expected to be $72,230 in 2008 with a 29 percent increase in jobs.
The healthcare industry is quickly adapting to technology and requiring skilled computer systems engineers, analysts and administrators as a result. It is also anticipating rapid growth in the fields of home health care and patient care, and registered nurses, home health aides, and personal attendants can all enjoy more opportunities in the upcoming years.