10 Best Health Care Jobs In 2012 And Beyond

best healthcare jobs

An aging population, advances in technology and the ongoing implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- also known as "Obamacare" -- ensure that jobs in medical professions will continue to grow in the U.S. for years.

Employment for both salaried and hourly workers in the health care industry is projected to increase 27 percent through 2014, compared with 14 percent for all industries combined, according to a new report by CareerCast.com, an employment website.

As CareerCast notes, Bureau of Labor Statistics projections further show that 28 percent of all job growth through 2020 will occur in the health care and social service fields. The industry, which includes public and private hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, as well as individual and family services -- is expected to grow by 33 percent, or the equivalent of 5.7 million new jobs by the end of the decade.

Though there are plenty of opportunities for all workers, regardless of educational achievement, many of the best health care jobs require some specialized education or advanced degrees. Crunching data from various sources -- government agencies, trade groups and employers, CareerCast compiled a list of the best jobs in the industry, using these criteria:

  • Physical demands: How much physical exertion and stamina is required to do the job, as well as its on-the-job hazards and environmental factors, such as the amount of work outdoors.
  • Work environment: Includes items listed above plus emotional demands, such as competitiveness and public interaction.
  • Income: The amount earned by middle-wage earners for a given profession as well as the potential for income growth.
  • Outlook: The potential for growth in employment as well as the amount of unemployment found in a particular field.
  • Stress: Includes 11 factors, such as how much travel a job requires, deadlines, working in the public eye, the potential for risks to life and limb, and more.

While some of the factors remain relatively constant year-to-year, others can fluctuate, due to changes in the job market, technological innovation and current events. With those considerations in mind, here are 10 of the Best Health Care Jobs, listed from least- to highest-paying.


10. Registered Nurse: "Employers in some parts of the country and in some employment settings report difficulty in attracting and keeping enough registered nurses," the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Turnover is especially high in hospitals, which has prompted some to offer signing bonuses, flexible work schedules and subsidized training.
  • Median annual pay: $65,116.*
  • Job Growth Outlook (through 2020): 26 percent, +711,900 jobs (faster than average).

Looking for a job as a registered nurse? Click here to get started.


9. Audiologist: Being an audiologist isn't physically taxing or stressful, but it does require a keen attention to detail and concentration. Further, says the BLS, audiologists who are willing to relocate may have the best job prospects, since demand may be greater in areas with large numbers of retirees."
  • Median annual pay: $67,137.
  • Job Growth Outlook: 37 percent, or +4,900 jobs (much faster than average).

Looking for a job as an audiologist? Click here to get started.


8. Chiropractor: The field is growing quickly as workers of all ages become interested in the field, the BLS says. In part, that's because treating patients' ailments doesn't involve surgery.
  • Median annual pay: $67,350
  • Job Growth Outlook: 28 percent, or +14,900 jobs (faster than average)

Looking for a job as an chiropractor? Click here to get started.


7. Occupational Therapist: Patience is one of the most important qualities for successful occupational theorists, the BLS notes. The reason: "Dealing with injuries, illnesses, and disabilities is frustrating for many people. Occupational therapists should be patient in order to provide quality care for the people they serve."
  • Median annual pay: $72,110
  • Job Growth Outlook: 33 percent, or +36,400 jobs (faster than average)

Looking for a job as an occupational therapist? Click here to get started.


6. Physical Therapist: Postgraduate degrees for physical therapists are Doctorates of Physical Therapy, which the BLS says are usually three-year programs. DPT course work includes the study of biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, neuroscience and pharmacology.
  • Median annual pay: $76,110
  • Job Growth Outlook: 39 percent, or +77,400 jobs (much faster than average)

Looking for a job as a physical therapist? Click here to get started.


5. Physician Assistant: Opportunities for physician's assistants are expected to grow tremendously, as are the profession's responsibilities. "Because physician assistants are more cost-effective than physicians, they are expected to have an increasing role in giving routine care, the BLS says.
  • Median annual pay: $86,107
  • Job Growth Outlook (through 2020): 30 percent, or +24,700 jobs (much faster than average)

Looking for a job as a physician assistant? Click here to get started.


4. Optometrist: Aging baby boomers -- and the fact that Americans, overall, are living longer -- are contributing to the need for more optometrists. "Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, more optometrists will be needed to meet the health needs of an aging population," the BLS reports.
  • Median annual pay: $86,107
  • Job Growth Outlook: 33 percent, or +11,300 jobs (much faster than average)

Looking for a job as an optometrist? Click here to get started.


3. Pharmacist: Educational requirements for pharmacists are among the most demanding in the medical profession. A doctor of pharmacy is required, as well as passing marks on both federal and state licensing exams.
  • Median annual pay: $112,070
  • Job Growth Outlook: 25 percent, or +11,300 jobs (much faster than average)

Looking for a job as a pharmacist? Click here to get started.


2. Psychiatrist: Psychiatry differs from other mental health professions in that it requires a medical degree -- a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine or Doctor of Medicine, both of which require four years of medical school training and up to eight years of additional training as an intern or resident, according to the BLS.
  • Median annual pay: $112,070
  • Job Growth Outlook: 24 percent, or +168,300 jobs (faster than average)

Looking for a job as a psychiatrist? Click here to get started.


1. Physician (General Practice): Demand for general practice physicians is forecast to increase in coming years, though not as much as might be supposed. Technological advancements are anticipated to allow physicians to treat more patients in less time, thereby meeting the demand without expanding the field.
  • Median annual pay: $112,070
  • Job Growth Outlook: 24 percent, or +168,300 jobs (faster than average)

Looking for a job as a physician? Click here to get started.

*Source: CareerCast.com and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook



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Claire

Interesting article. I went to nursing school. Graduated in 2011. It took 8 months to find my first job. Eight long months, 142 applications in three states. With all of the rejection I now have skin as thick a a rhino. Yes, they need nurses. However, they want experienced nurses. No one wants to train as it is expensive. If you have experience you're golden. I feel lucky to have the position I have.

September 21 2012 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Claire

Interesting article. I went to nursing school. Graduated in 2011. It took 8 months to find my first job. Eight long months, 142 applications in three states. With all of the rejection I now have skin as thick a a rhino. Yes, they need nurses. However, they want experienced nurses. No one wants to train as it is expensive. If you have experience you're golden. I feel lucky to have the position I have.

September 21 2012 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Claire

Interesting article. I went to nursing school. Graduated in 2011. It took 8 months to find my first job. Eight long months, 142 applications in three states. With all of the rejection I now have skin as thick a a rhino. Yes, they need nurses. However, they want experienced nurses. No one wants to train as it is expensive. If you have experience you're golden. I feel lucky to have the position I have.

September 21 2012 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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