A number of careers in the medical field are projected to increase at a higher rate than average. Much of this is driven by a growing and aging population, which is creating high demand for qualified, skilled professionals in a number of health care positions.
The classic careers: physicians, registered nurses, and other recognizable careers are among these, but there are several other lesser known and in-demand careers in the medical field to consider.
1. Personal and Home Health Care Aides
Positions for personal and home health care aides are expected to increase at a 70.5 and 69.4 percent growth rate by the year 2020. Personal and home health care aides typically work in the home of clients to provide assistance with daily activities such as bathing, and home health care aides also sometimes assist in the distribution of medication or to monitor vital signs.
To get started in this career, most positions require a minimum of a high school diploma; post-secondary programs and certifications are available and can be beneficial for qualifying for open positions. Professionals in one of these positions can expect to earn a lower average salary of $20,560, but opportunities are plentiful and in huge demand.
2. Diagnostic Medical Sonography
The field of diagnostic medical sonography will see a 43.5 rate of growth by the year 2020. In this position, a diagnostic medical sonographer will use specialized equipment to capture images in the body to help physicians make diagnosis for patient conditions. Specializations in the field include abdomen, breast, cardiac, musculoskeletal, neurosonology, obstetrics, and vascular.
After completion of an associate’s or postsecondary certification program, skilled diagnostic medical sonographers could work in positions in hospitals, clinics, or physician’s offices, and these professionals can expect to earn an average annual salary of $64,380. Also check out our article on how to get a job in a very similar field, as an ultrasound technician.
3. Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapist Aides
Positions for occupational therapists are expected to grow by 33.5 percent by 2020, and occupational therapy assistant positions are expected to increase by 43.3 percent in the same time frame. Occupational therapists work with patients in offices, hospitals, or home health settings to assist patients with treatment, recovery, and development of skills due to injury, illness, or disability.
By incorporating therapeutic techniques, patients are able to regain the skills and abilities to perform their required daily activities and work related tasks. Occupational therapist assistant and aides assist therapists in this treatment. Therapists in this field can expect to earn an average annual salary of $72,320 per year after earning a master’s degree and obtaining a state license. Occupational therapists and aides earn an average of $47,490, and typically have a minimum of an associate’s degree.
4. Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistant
In physical therapy, patients who are working through an illness or recovering from an injury are assisted by physical therapists for pain management and making improvements in physical movements. Physical therapy is a part of the treatment process and rehabilitation for a variety of patients who might have sustained an injury or who have a chronic, long-term condition.
Physical therapists will see a 39 percent increase in the field by 2020, and assistants and aides for physical therapy will grow by 43.1 percent. With a doctorate or professional degree, physical therapists earn an average of $76,310 annually, and physical therapy assistants with a minimum of an associate’s degree from an accredited program earn an average of $37,710.
5. Health Educators
Health education careers are one of those expected to increase at a faster than average rate. Health educator positions will increase by 36.5 percent through 2020, which is higher than the average for all positions in the United States. In a health educator positions, skilled and knowledgeable professionals with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree can earn an average annual salary of $45,830.
Working in hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, or in business, non-profit, or government organizations, health educators work with all types of people with various health issues and concerns to develop plans and provide the knowledge and material to assist in the making of healthy decisions. Health education is increasingly becoming an important part of the health care system in order to minimize health care costs through preventative care.