Why the Health Care Industry is Still Healthy

The future of employment in the health care industry is looking up for 2010. Even with the recession there has been a marked increase in health care employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with 559,000 health care jobs added since December of 2007 when the recession began.

The reasons behind this increase are: technological advances, number of older people requiring care and an increase in consumer spending on health care costs. All of these factors create a greater demand for jobs in the health care industry and the promise of a growing job market in the health care sector.

With technological advances in patient care, especially for diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases like Parkinsons, patients are receiving better care that is not only saving lives, but improving patients' quality of life. These medical advances in surgeries, treatments and medications, combined with preventative care are also helping people to live longer which increases the life expectancy of people, rapidly fueling a need for care givers to assist elderly patients as they age. Also, the BLS reports that households on average are now spending more on health care costs than in prior years further demanding more from the health care industry.

Here's To Your Health

With more elderly patients in care, more money being pumped into the system, and medical advances being made everyday, the health care system is struggling to keep up with the demand of our nation. As a result, there is a high and growing demand for the following jobs:

RNs: With hospitals, schools, and doctor's offices in every city, town, and county across the country, this profession offers stable employment in various fields ranging from very technical, surgical nurse, to the more everyday, like a primary care physicians office nurse. Also, to become an RN one can enroll in an associate's degree program that is only two years and does not require more education than a high school diploma. Upon completion of the program and the taking of a state licensing exam, an RN can depend on gainful employment in some type of health care setting for a long time.

Personal/Home Care Aides: While many baby boomers may not be old enough to live in an assisted care facility, they may still require some help at home which is the main reason for the growth of home care aides. For many of these elderly folks, they have the financial means to hire the help on their own, or they can depend on their children to supplement the home care aides' income now that we are seeing more and more households becoming two-income households. For many people that have the means to improve their quality of life, they are willing to pay for it.

Nursing Aides and Medical Assistants: Responsible for the day-to-day operations associated with running a medical office, these health care workers often undergo special training for these positions and offer a specific skill set that is beyond that of a receptionist. Associated Content reports that this sector of the health care industry has seen a 30 percent growth since 2008 with no signs of slowing down.

Computer Software Engineers and other IT Specialists: The management of health information and technology has lead to an increased demand for computer specialists that know their way around the health care industry. As more and more hospitals, health centers, and doctors' offices rely on databases and computer programs, such as Electronic Medical records (EMR) to manage, track and store their records and files, the increase in this portion of the health care industry could top 45 percent says the BLS.

Specialty Care Doctors: According to the Geriatrics Workforce Policy Studies Center if all of these trends in the health care industry continue, there will be a fewer number of geriatric doctors available to treat the growing number of patients that require care. At this rate, the number of elderly patients that require geriatric care, which is a highly specialized field and not one intensely covered in all medical schools, will multiply faster than doctors can be trained to provide that necessary specialty care, leaving patients to make do with the other available resources.

The education required by these jobs varies greatly as do the salaries which correspond to the level of education required by each job. The similarities are that all of these jobs are within the health care arena, and all of these jobs are projected to be among some of the fastest growing in the New Year. In short, they're all good for your health.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); Associated Content (AC); and the Geriatrics Workforce Policy Studies Center

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