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Top Paying Healthcare Jobs in the US in 2019


This news story was published on December 2, 2019.
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There has never been a better time to pursue a career in the healthcare sector. The healthcare industry is booming and there is no shortage of demand for talented healthcare professionals. People born in the years after the second world war (baby boomers) are starting to retire by the thousand. In a time of prosperity, more babies tend to be born and the population grows accordingly. Eventually, as that group starts to age, so do the care demands begin to rise – and that is exactly what we’re seeing now. 

To add to this extra demand, we are also faced with the fact that Millennials (people aged between 23 and 38) make up around 35% of the current workforce and the issue there is that Millennials are generally at childbearing age and raising a young family can sometimes be at odds with the demands of a career in the healthcare industry. The overall effect is a rise in demand and a shortage of employable healthcare talent. 

With this in mind, this article explores the most popular and lucrative healthcare professions to give you some guidance and inspiration if you wish to pursue a career in the healthcare industry.

Physical Therapists

One of the more lucrative healthcare sectors, physical therapy is undoubtedly an increasingly popular role, not just for the income potential but as the demand from an aging population makes it a very relevant growth industry. The average wage for a practitioner (as of 2017) is $86,850, with demand growing by up to 26% over the next 10 years. 

There is huge potential to either work for a hospital or health institute but also to become self-employed and enjoy more control over your working hours (and choice of clients).

Physician Assistants

A physician’s assistant will work alongside a doctor or other well trained medical professional to help diagnose and treat patients with a variety of healthcare issues. This is a very well paid position (averaging $104,860) and also very competitive, requiring at least an advanced medical degree.

Dental Hygienists

Another well-trained position requiring an appropriate, degree-level education is dental hygienist. Over the next 10 years we can expect to see a 20% increase in demand for this role, and that could look like almost 41,000 new jobs being up for grabs. It’s a great time to train as a dental hygienist. 

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses enjoy the privilege of lots of important patient contact. Helping people organize and manage their healthcare, a registered nurse can earn around $73.5k and the number of positions available is set to grow over 15% during the next ten years, making registered nursing an extremely viable healthcare career.

Healthcare Leadership Specialists

With the predicted demand for healthcare services to explode over the next ten years, healthcare organizations are going to require highly trained leaders to manage strategic and operational issues across a wide variety of healthcare verticals. In this highly competitive but lucrative space, a degree focusing on leadership skills in the healthcare industries (this is a great example) would be a distinct advantage.

Physicians

This is one of the top jobs amongst all of the medical professions, and while it can take as much as 15 years extra education to attain the requisite level required to practice as a physician, you can expect to earn upwards of $200k every year. One of the downsides with this role is that while the potential income rewards can be high, the student debt required to get to that level can equally put a lot of pressure on medical students and their families. 

Occupational Therapists

An occupational therapist (OT) is responsible for identifying and strategically facilitating the rehabilitation needs of patients (for example, after a stroke or post-operation). It is a highly qualified and competitive position requiring a degree-level education, but the potential for employment is strong and the outlook is very positive for those pursuing a career as an OT with a job growth rate of 24% for the next 10 years and typical salaries of $86k.

Home Health Workers

One of the most accessible of all healthcare professions, a home health worker is less focused on hospital care and delivers care packages to home-based patients. This can be extremely useful for older patients whose care needs might be better suited in a home environment rather than the need for extra travel and additional hospital-based resources being used. 

Over the next 10 years, we should see over 40% increase in available home health positions which could translate into over 1.2 million jobs over that period. Hugely accessible and with massive demand, this is a  great way to enter the healthcare industries.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Diagnostics medical sonographers are responsible for using ultrasonic imaging devices to produce diagnostic images, videos and scans. They are useful at all levels of the healthcare industries, working with other medical professionals as part of a team. There’s plenty of demand ahead for trained sonographers with over 17% growth rate expected in the next decade. With a specialist, related degree, a sonographer could expect to earn around $65.5k per year.

Pharmacists

Pharmacists work in hospitals and externally in pharmacies and work closely with medical professionals of all types. Their duty is to dispense prescribed medications to patients and whilst training to become a pharmacist is extensive, requiring a specialist degree, the role itself is very well remunerated with salaries of $125k not unusual making it an extremely popular healthcare role for graduates.

Surgeons

Performing actual surgery is a huge responsibility, and of course, a surgeon requires many years of extensive, specialist education at a significant financial cost to qualify. That massive investment in time and money is very well rewarded though, and surgeons can earn well over $208,000 annually.

Radiologic Technologists

Radiology specialists, similar to sonographers, use diagnostic imaging procedures to assist physicians in diagnosing and treating all sorts of conditions. X-Rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and computed tomography (CT) scans are all utilized. Demand for these specialists is growing, and over the next ten years, expect to see 30,300 new jobs become available and an average wage of around $60k. A degree-level education is required to become a radiologic technologist.

Dentist

This is another role that is popular, not just in as part of a national health program but offering the flexibility to work self-employed in your own practice. Although a lot of schooling and training is required to become a dentist, an annual salary of around $158k is a very attractive wage.

Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians

An EMT (emergency medical practitioner) or a paramedic (there is a subtle difference between the two) is not for the feint of heart. From responding to emergency 911 situations to attending big sporting or entertainment events, there is so much variety and challenge on this job. Equally, demand is growing considerably and we can expect another 37,400 positions to become available one the next ten years. A relatively accessible career path with lots of opportunities to specialize and by its very nature a very geographically portable career model.

Nursing Assistant

Another popular nursing role (demonstrating the expected high demand for nursing positions) and a predicted 177,700 new positions likely to open up in the next decade. A nursing assistant role is extremely flexible and environments from private nursing homes for the elderly to public hospitals and doctor’s offices are all examples of locations a nursing assistant can expect to find opportunities in. 

General Practitioner (GPs)

A GP or family doctor, while very highly educated and trained, is a very highly sought after position. Well paid and flexible, a general practitioner can earn around $208k per year either working as part of an established practice or by becoming self-employed.

Speech and Language Pathologists

Speech and language pathologists (often called speech therapists) specialize in human communications, especially speech disorders and how to treat them. In very high demand, a speech therapist can expect to earn around $76.5k per year and should enjoy a potential job growth rate of 18% over the next ten years.

Occupational Therapy (OT) Assistants

Alongside actual OTs, OT assistants can also enjoy a potential job growth rate of 28% until 2026 and make the most of one of the most in-demand healthcare jobs. An annual salary of around $56.5k is not to be sniffed at, and while a degree-level education is expected, you should find more than enough opportunities for employment. 

Anesthesiologists

Saving the highest paid until last in our list is the Anesthesiologist. They are responsible for ensuring that a patient is safely asleep before otherwise painful procedures. It’s a position of huge responsibility and the education and expertise required for the role is equally extensive. For these reasons an anesthesiologist can expect a salary upwards of $266k per year. While perhaps not quite as in demand as some of the other roles in this list, the lucrative earring potential makes it an exciting career choice.

Choosing a career in one of the many healthcare positions is far more than just looking at the potential earnings, it’s also about vocation and a passion for taking care of others. All healthcare jobs are important and play an essential part in keeping us all fit and healthy.

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