Healthcare is one of those facts of life. At some point, all of us will need a doctor, a nurse, a diagnostic exam, a prescription or a stay in the hospital. It’s been estimated that 1 in 8 Americans work in some area of healthcare and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there are over 16 million jobs related to the $2.7 trillion dollar industry, with an estimated additional 5.6 million jobs by 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics developed a report in 2014 that paints a healthy outlook for careers in healthcare.
If you think all healthcare jobs involve a degree in medicine, you’d be wrong. As medical technology has advanced, so too, has the need for a wide range of healthcare professionals, ranging from technicians to scientists. This ranking looks at the current and future job trends, required education, potential salaries and overall demand in healthcare in the United States. We also looked at a few of the new, and somewhat futuristic, careers in medicine and healthcare which will continue to keep medical careers on the forefront of employment opportunities.
CNBC, the cable and internet business channel, predicted in its “Top 10 Best and Worst Jobs of the Future” that six of the ten best jobs were in healthcare, a rosy prediction supported by The Kiplinger Report, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider and employment websites such as Monster, Indeed and Glassdoor.
This ranking reviews the best and most in demand health careers and ranks them by projected job growth and salary expectations. The list relies on data provided by: 1) The Bureau of Labor Statistics examining potential job growth for a profession, 2) PayScale, Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. News and World Report salary estimates (NOTE: Salary ranges may be influenced by geographic location), 3) U.S. News and World Report rankings of career satisfaction data and unemployment estimates, 4) educational and career data from professional organizations, medical journals and oversight agencies and 5) appropriate news articles from publications such as Forbes, Kiplinger, CNBC, etc.
About This Ranking
This ranking does not include medical careers such as dentists, orthodondists, physicians, surgeons, etc.; but, rather, looks at those careers which may be achieved in educational programs in less than the 5-10 years required by other healthcare professions. Many of the careers included in this rating are offered online, either wholly, or in hybrid programs. The ranking is broken into categories: Clinical Careers, Ancillary/Support Careers, Administrative Careers, Technological Careers and Emerging Healthcare Careers. Careers listed have a “faster than average or much faster than average” (10%-40%) job projection (in all occupations) for the future as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Top Clinical Careers For The Future
The clinical shortage of healthcare professionals involved in direct patient care in the United States has been a subject of concern for several years. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for nurses alone will rise significantly between 2016-2026 which equates to a need for a stunning 1.1 million more new licensed nurses. This shortage is caused, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), by the retirement of an estimated 55% of the current nursing pool in the near future, the aging Baby Boomer population (the largest estimated American demographic) placing greater demands on an already stretched healthcare system. While nursing may be the first clinical medical career that comes to mind, other than physicians, there are several other, equally important clinical professions for the future.
1. Physician Assistant
While it’s well known that the U.S. faces a critical nursing shortage, what’s not often discussed is the equally concerning physician shortage. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects an alarming physician shortage ranging from 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by 2030. Training physicians takes an average of ten years, where training a licensed, certified Physician Assistant can be accomplished in two-three years. The career has an estimated .7% unemployment rate Ranked the #2 Best Health Care Jobs and #3 in Best Jobs rankings in 2018 by U.S. News and Report, its estimated that there are nearly 40,000 Physician Assistant jobs available between 2016-2026. Many health professionals have a bachelor’s degree or experience working in healthcare, such as nursing, paramedic or EMT before entering a Physician Assistant program. All states require licensure and certification to practice and several accredited, online Physician Assistant programs are available as ranked by Best Medical DegreesBest Value Online Physician Assistant Master’s Degree Programs.
Job Growth Projection: 37%
Earnings Projection: 101,730-$114,780
2. Family Nurse Practitioner
U.S. News and World Report rates this career as #3 in its Best Health Care Jobs rankings in 2018. Nurse Practitioners fill a valuable role in providing healthcare in a variety of specialty areas that follow the range of healthcare from Family, Pediatric, Geriatric, Psychiatric, Education and Public Health. In states where it’s permitted, Family Nurse Practitioners often treat patients ranging from chronic to acute patient care. Trained to take patient histories, conduct physicals, order treatments, medical tests and provide prescriptions, Family Nurse Practitioners are sought after by physician clinics, outpatient facilities, hospitals and local, state and federal agencies. Nurse Practitioners are required to graduate from an accredited program and be state licensed and certified. Many colleges and universities offer accelerated programs for bachelor prepared nurses to obtain a MSN-NP degree online. Best Medical Degrees has published 10 Most Affordable MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Degrees and Best Medical Degrees has published a ranking of accredited, online, accredited Master of Science-Nurse Practitioner programs in its Best Value Online Masters in Nursing Degree Programs 2018.which provides information on online, accredited MSN-NP programs available.
Job Growth Projection: 31%
Earnings Projection: $101,600-$117,850
3. Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse Anesthetists require a two-year Master of Science in Nursing degree, specializing in anesthesiology and a minimum of one year clinical experience. U.S. News and World Report rates this profession #11 in Best Paying Jobs, #17 in Best Health Care Jobs and #22 in The 100 Best Jobs. The publication also cites a 2.7% unemployment rate. Nurse Anesthetists are key in providing quality care and are required to hold certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) credential to practice. Responsible for the related care and administration of anesthesia during surgical procedures, CRNAs also provide care prior to and following such procedures. Many CRNAs also are critical in the management of post surgical pain or emergency services. Requiring a MSN with specialization, the Nurse Anesthetist degree may be obtained in 2-3 years. Online programs are available for nurses wishing to obtain an advanced degree with a specialization in anesthesiology. Best Medical Degrees provides rankings of accredited, online programs such as its 20 Most Affordable Nurse Anesthesia Degree Programs.
Job Growth Projection: 31%
Earnings Projection: $110,930-$165,120
4. Nurse Midwife
While designated as a Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwives (like Nurse Anesthetists) are highly specialized in one facet of healthcare practice. Requiring liscenure and certification, Nurse Midwives conduct diagnostic tests, develop treatment plans, assess and diagnose patient issues, etc., while working in consultation with an OB/GYN physician. Going beyond caring for expectant and delivering mothers, Nurse Midwives also provide annual and medical exams for women. U.S. News and World Report ranks Nurse Midwives at #35 in its 100 Best Jobs. The estimated unemployment rate for this profession is around .7% with jobs found in physician offices, hospitals or outpatient care facilities. Best Medical Degrees identified 10 Most Affordable Online Nurse-Midwifery Certificates and Degrees programs which provides college and university information for accredited programs with a concentration in Nurse Midwife studies.
Job Growth Projection: 31%
Earnings Projection: $100,590-$110,930
5. Adult Gerontology Nurse
As discussed earlier, the increase in health services for the aging Baby Boomers has created a significant need for Nurse Practitioners in the specialty area of gerontology. Rated #3 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Care Jobs and #4 in 100 Best Jobs, these nurses see a low .7% unemployment rate and are sought after by physicians offices, long-term care and assisted living facilities, outpatient care centers, etc. A Masters degree as a Nurse Practitioner Adult Gerontology, certification and licensure are required for this career. In 2018, the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association created a new APRN Gerontological Specialist Certification (GS-C) for this specialty to better identify Advanced Practice Registered Nurses particularly trained in gerontology care. Best Medical Degrees published 10 Most Affordable Nurse Practitioner Degrees in Gerontology, which identifies accredited, online NP-Adult Gerontology programs.
Job Growth Projection: 31%
Earnings Projection: $100,910-$140,930
6. Cardiovascular Technologist
This is burgeoning career working with physicians and patients with specializations. Cardiovascular Technicians Assisting physicians, nurses and patients, there are specializations in this field, such as: invasive specialists (cardiac catheterization), electrocardiogram (EKG) or cardiopulmonary technologists (monitor and test patients’ lungs and breathing). Employers will want certification in the field and job opportunities may be found in physician offices, hospitals and healthcare systems, outpatient care facilities and diagnostic laboratories. Ranked #8 by U.S. News and World Report as one of the Best Health Care Support Jobs, the field has a 2.0% unemployment rate and an estimated 143,400 technologists will be needed between 2016-2026. Using data from Projections Central-Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026), this career will experience an average, 3,500 annual openings.
Job Growth Projection: 17%
Earnings Projection: $25,235-$80,537
7. Registered Nurse
The nursing shortage in the United States has been a subject of concern for several years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for nurses will rise significantly between 2016-2026 which equates to a need for a stunning 1.1 million more new licensed nurses. This shortage is caused, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), by the retirement of an estimated 55% of the current nursing pool in the near future, the aging Baby Boomer population (the largest estimated American demographic) placing greater demands on an already stretched healthcare system. The Institutes of Medicine recommended that 80 percent of all nurses should hold a BSN degree by 2020 and the nursing profession, colleges and universities are moving to meet that requirement. What does that mean for currently working nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing or diploma? Colleges and universities have developed BSN programs to allow ADN nurses or RNs to obtain their BSN in what are called “bridge programs” which allows for the transfer of credits from an accredited program to be applied towards the BSN degree. U.S. News and World Report rates this career #15 in its Best Health Care Jobs ranking and reports a low 1.2% unemployment rate. Best Medical Degrees has researched nursing education programs for students wishing to go into nursing which offer online education from accredited colleges and universities for nurses currently holding a diploma or associates degree. Some of those programs may be found by visiting30 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Degree Programs, 25 Fastest RN to BSN Degree Programs or 50 Best Value Online RN to BSN Degree Programs.
Job Growth Projection: 15%
Earnings Projection: $60,300-$75,900
Top Allied Health Careers
A vital part of the healthcare industry, representing nearly 60% of healthcare professionals, allied health careers function in a variety of areas from therapy to diagnostic to treatment specialties. These professionals work in collaboration with physicians and nursing clinical staff to provide diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care of patients. For more detailed information on what constitutes an allied health professional, visit Association of Schools of Allied Health Professionals.
8. Physical Therapist
Holding a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree will solidly place this healthcare professional in one of the top medical careers of the future. Working with, and developing rehabilitative programs, for patients who’ve experienced stroke, traumatic brain injury, amputations, neurological disorders (such as cerebral palsy, etc.) or work related injuries, these healthcare professionals are on the forefront of medical careers. Ranked #10 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Care Jobs and #13 in Best Jobs, this career has a low .7% unemployment rate and an estimated 60,000 job openings in the next 10 years. Requiring a doctoral degree, which may typically be completed in 3 years, this is a good career choice for those who hold a bachelor’s degree with a background of study in anatomy, kinesiology, physiology, biomechanics, neuroscience, etc. Online programs exist for those wanting to advance their education and careers, as provided by Best Medical Degrees in its 30 Most Affordable Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Degrees rankings.
Job Growth Projection: 28%
Earnings Projection: $82,620-$92,940
9. Occupational Therapist
Much like it’s companion field, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy is thought to be a career that will be in greater demand in the future as the U.S. population ages and more physically challenged individuals wish to return to, or enter, the workforce following injury, neurological condition or accident. Requiring a Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT), OTs work to restore skills and abilities for patients who have physical disabilities that prevent them from returning to work or complete simple life challenges. Rated #9 in Best Health Care Jobs and #11 in The 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News and World Report, licensed, certified Occupational Therapists have a .3% unemployment rate with employment opportunities in hospitals, home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, elementary and secondary schools. Job projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a need for over 31,000 new therapists between 2016-2026. While the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is the standard educational level for OTs, like Physical Therapy, the field is beginning to move toward a doctoral program as its preferred degree.
Job Growth Projection: 24%
Earnings Projection: $73,260-$90,980
10. Respiratory Therapist
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates over 15 million adults in the U.S. with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there will be a need for licensed Respiratory Therapists (RT) well beyond 2018. Working with patients suffering from breathing issues, this is a career that can be obtained in two year or less with an Associate Degree from an accredited college or school. The profession ranks high in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings at #16 in Best Health Care Jobs and #21 in The 100 Best Jobs categories. This is a field, with a current .8% unemployment rate, that will see a greater need for RTs in outpatient centers, long term care facilities, home care agencies, etc., as hospitals are increasingly reducing the number of readmissions for this condition. Not surprisingly, metropolitan areas will have the greater need for RTs, as air quality declines, air pollution increases and many Baby Boomers smoke, or were, former smokers. However, rural areas are beginning to recognize the need for more Respiratory Therapists.
Job Growth Projection: 23%
Earnings Projection: $59,900-$61,370
11. Athletic Trainer
Recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health career, Athletic Trainers will see an increase in employment opportunities in physical and rehabilitation centers, hospitals, fitness centers and educational arenas in the future. The greatest job opportunities for Athletic Trainers, according to U.S. News and World Report, will be seen in healthcare. Requiring a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, Athletic Trainers are key in the evaluation of injuries, obesity, emergency care, prevention of injury and development of programs or activities for patients, athletes and industrial workers. Athletic Trainers are required to be certified and licensed by their state to practice. While obtaining an undergraduate degree in Athletic Training or other exercise science field requires intensive personal interaction, there are online masters degree programs as published by Best Medical Degrees in its Best Online Master’s Degree Programs in Exercise Science, Wellness and Kinesiology ranking.
Job Growth Projection: 23%
Earnings Projection: $43,640-$49,460
12. Marriage and Family Therapist
The American Psychological Association estimated 40-50% of first time marriages in America will fail (the percentage jumps to 60% for remarriages). To combat those numbers, and to provide couples with an opportunity to examine and repair broken relationships, Marriage and Family Therapists shepherd couples and families to examine issues, openly express them, develop strategies, guide clients in decision making, etc. Requiring a masters degree, which will also require an internship or residency, several colleges and universities offer online programs; and, Best Medical Degrees identified a Ranking of Best Online Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy 2015. These therapists are state licensed, and often certified, to practice and ranks #4 by U.S. News and World Report for Best Social Services Jobs and #59 in its 100 Best Jobs categories. The field has a low 1.6% unemployment rate and careers may be found in individual offices, outpatient care services, as well as state government agencies.
Job Growth Projection: 23%
Earning Projection: $44,760-$72,580
13. Addiction and Substance Abuse Counselor
Opioid abuse has been in the news quite a bit lately, and 23.2 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol with only 10% of them receiving any type of treatment, the need for qualified addiction counselors will expand in the future. Requiring a bachelor or masters degree, Addiction and Substance Abuse Counselors will find employment in outpatient mental health facilities, substance abuse centers, hospitals and individual or family services agencies. Working with patients, these counselors are responsible for assessing and physical and mental health, develop individual treatment plans, educate clients and their families on addiction behaviors, referrals to other agencies (such as employment services or support groups) and work in individual or group settings. Addiction and Substance Abuse Counselors work in collaboration with physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists and others to coordinate patient care. Ranked #10 by U.S. News and World Report as one its Best Social Services Jobs and #100 Best Jobs, its estimated an excess of 20,000 Addiction and Substance Abuse Counselors will be needed over the next decade to meet demand for services. Best Medical Degrees published 20 Best Value Addiction and Rehabilitation Counseling Online Masters Degrees.
Job Growth Projection: 23%
Earnings Projection: $37,210-$50,600
14. Orthodist and Prosthetist
This career is currently ranked #7 by U.S. News and World Report in its Best Health Care Support Jobs and #81 100 Best Jobs. Orthodics and prostheses may be required as a result of loss of limb due to diabetes and cardiovascular disease (again, driven by the large Baby Boomer demographic, in which diabetes and heart disease are more common), combat injuries, birth defects or other accidents. These professionals are needed to meet the growing need for medical supportive devices such as artificial limbs (hands, arms, legs, etc.), braces or other medical devices to assist patients in leading more productive lives. Requiring a master’s degree, some educational programs are offered online; but, will be hybrid in nature due to the “hands-on” element of the field. Employment for this profession will be found in medical equipment manufacturing, rehabilitation centers, health and personal care stores, hospitals and some federal government agencies (think Veterans Administration).
Job Growth Projection: 22%
Earnings Projection: $57,470-$70,240
Approximately 17,000 audiologists are needed between 2016-2026 to meet the needs of the Baby Boomers, as well as children, experiencing hearing loss, balance issues and other related ear problems. If you like blending technology with patient care, this may be a good profession for you. Audiologists assess, diagnose and use devices such as hearing aids, audiometers, computers, etc. to determine proper treatment plans. This career requires an AuD degree, Doctor of Audiology, and takes approximately four years to complete. There are bachelors degrees in audiology which may be required for those entering the doctoral program. Audiologists are required to be licensed and certified by the state in which they practice. Employment may be found in physician offices, rehabilitation centers, private practice, educational services and hospitals and healthcare systems. Career opportunities may be increased in areas which have a large, aging population such as popular retirement or metropolitan areas.
Job Growth Projection: 21%
Projected Earnings: $72,810-$81,850
16. Dental Hygienist
Dental health is a key element (and, often overlooked specialty) in general, overall health. While there are over 200,000 Dental Hygienists working today, there is an expected additional 40,000 hygienists needed by 2026. The American Dental Association (ADA) accredits over 200 dental hygiene educational programs nationwide. Associate degrees are available at community colleges and technical schools; and, there are several online bachelor and master’s degree programs offered by ADA accredited schools. Each state has its own licensure and certification requirements for this career. Employment opportunities will be available in dental offices, physician offices and state and local governmental health agencies. U.S. News and World Report rates this career as #3 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #17 in The 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News and World Report and reports a .5% unemployment rate for the career.
Job Growth Projection: 20%
Earnings Projection: $58,940-$74,350
17. Speech Language Pathologist
This profession is growing much faster than average with an estimated 25,900 Speech Language Pathologists needed to meet current services required. Graduate programs in this discipline will typically take 1-2 years to complete and will include a clinical practicum as part of the degree. Driven, again, by the rapidly aging population, these professionals will work with patients following a stroke or other neurological incidents which has diminished a patient’s ability to speak. Children with speech disorders are also considered to be increasing the demand for certified Speech Language Therapists. A Master’s of Science in Speech Language Pathology is the gold standard for this career and certification is necessary in a variety of specialties focusing on language, swallowing disorders or fluency. Employment will be found in educational facilities, long-term care centers, physical rehabilitation facilities, hospitals or physician offices. Ranking #22 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Care Jobs and #38 in its 100 Best Jobs rankings, this is a career with a bright future.
Job Growth Projection: 18%
Earnings Projection: $66,960-$93,110
18. Dietician and Nutritionist
This career ranks #73 in U.S. News and World Report’s 100 Best Jobs, this career is growing at a much faster than normal rate. Historically, Dieticians and Nutritionists were one of the last professions physicians relied on to treat patients; however, with the advancement of research in nutrition, that attitude has made a complete turnaround. Specialty certifications are available through the Board For Certification of Nutrition Specialist in areas of oncology, gerontology, pediatric, genetics and sports. Employment opportunities exist in outpatient care clinics, long-term and assisted living facilities, hospitals, educational settings and individual practices; and, has an unemployment rate of 2.0%. Bachelor and Master degrees are available in this specialty and Best Medical Degrees reviewed 10 Most Affordable Online Bachelors Degrees in Health, Wellness and Nutrition and 10 Most Affordable Online Masters Degrees in Health, Wellness and Nutrition which may point you in the right educational direction. Those holding a Bachelor of Science in this field qualify to work as public health educators and community education and communication. Dieticians and Nutritionists with a master’s degree are sought to work with patients developing nutritional treatment plans and to work in institutions (education, hospitals, etc.) in developing nutritional programs and healthy menus.
Job Growth Projection: 15%
19. Diagnostic Sonographer
Medical technology is an integral part of healthcare and the growth of the field is projected to be much faster than average. Again, the growth in this career is being driven by the aging of the Baby Boomers, who require greater diagnostic care to detect heart conditions, blood clots, etc., than has seen before. Diagnostic Sonographers are vital to the direct care of patients and specialize in a number of areas: cardiovascular, abdominal, breast, vascular, pediatric, etc. Training for this career includes an associate’s or bachelor’s degree; and, several online programs are offered by community colleges and technical schools. Sonographers must be licensed and certified to practice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates over 21,000 more Diagnostic Sonographers needed before 2026 and has a low 1.1% unemployment rate. Employment opportunities will be found in hospitals, physician offices, diagnostic outpatient clinics, medical and diagnostic laboratories. U.S. News and World Report ranks this profession at #2 in its Best Health Care Support Jobs and at #26 in 100 Best Jobs categories.
Job Growth Projection: 17%
Earnings Projection: $48,920-$81,200
20. Public Health Educator
Public Health Educator is an expanding profession as communities and state and local health agencies attempt to educate, inform and develop healthier community members. We see them at work every Fall when flu vaccines are available, outbreaks of viruses such as Zika or West Nile virus, when we see air quality advisories or food recalls. Degree levels for this career range from a bachelor to master’s degrees (preferred) with many accredited programs available online. An estimated 19,000 public health experts are required by 2026 to add to the estimated current level of workers of 119,000. Employment opportunities are expected to be in family services agencies, religious and civic groups, hospitals or state and local governments. U.S. News and World Report ranks Public Health Education as #7 in its Best Education Jobs. Best Medical Degrees researched 10 Most Affordable Online Public Health Bachelors Degrees and Best Value Online Master of Public Health Degree Programs of 2015 which may help you to enter this growing field.
Job Growth Projection: 16%
Earnings Projections: $35,370-$63,510
Clinical practitioners rely on the ancillary and support professionals to provide quality care for patients. These careers are an integral part of assuring that patients experience good outcomes. Medical Assistants and Home Health Aides make certain patients continue the clinical recommendations of the physician or allied health professional; while, administrators, information technologists and others in nonclinical roles, provide the tools, information and compliance data needed to assure the best healthcare possible.
21. Home Health Aides
This may be a surprisingly high ranking in healthcare support, but with many seniors remaining in their homes as they age, the future need for certified Home Health Aides will be exceptionally strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates over 1.2 million qualified aides will be required between 2016-2026, which exceeds the job growth expectations of all occupations. Requiring a minimum of a high school diploma, Home Health Aides, depending on the state they live or their employer (agencies which received Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, will be required to be certified. There are specialized Home Health Aide programs and non-degree programs available through community colleges or technical schools which will help with certification. Home Health Aides will find employment with skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, assisted living facilities, residential homes for the intellectually and developmental disabled patients.
Job Growth Expectation: 41%
Earnings Projection: $22,900-$24,360
22. Medical Assistants
The role of Medical Assistant is gaining ground as the nursing shortage affects more than hospitals and outpatient clinics. Not that Medical Assistants replace nurses: but, they are something of a “Jack of All Trades” in the medical field. Typically requiring specialized training offered through community colleges or technical schools, Medical Assistants serve not only as staff members in physician offices, but also assist physicians by taking patient histories, obtaining and recording vital signs, blood draws, preparing samples to be sent to laboratories, giving injections as directed by the physician, etc. US News and World Report ranks Medical Assistants at #18 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #51 in The 100 Best Jobs categories for 2018. Careers will be found in physician offices, outpatient clinics, chiropractic offices, etc., with an estimated 183,900 increase in the number of Medical Assistants needed in a ten year period. Medical Assistants must be certified and several Medical Assistant educational programs are available online. Several Medical Assistant training programs are available and Best Medical Degrees has identified 10 Most Affordable Online Medical Assistant Certificate and Diploma Programs.
Job Growth Expectation: 29%
Earnings Projection: $29,010-$33,820
Healthcare Administration and Support
23. Health Care Administrator
As healthcare facilities grow to meet patient care needs, so will the need for Health Care Administrators to oversee that growth and manage those facilities. The preferred degree for this field is the MHA and numerous online degree programs are available. Best Medical Degrees published 10 Affordable Online Masters of Healthcare Administration Programs are typically 2-3 years in length and should be from a regionally accredited college or university. Employment will be found in outpatient clinics, long term care and assisted living facilities, hospitals and health systems, physician offices and government agencies. It’s expected that 72,100 MHA prepared administrators will be needed by 2026. While there are some bachelor degree programs in this field, the U.S. News and World Report, to earn $20,000 more a year than students with a bachelors degree in the field.
Job Growth Expectation: 20%
Earnings Projection: $82,950-$107,230
24. Health Informatics and Health Information Management
Tracking medical records isn’t just managing patient charts any more. With the advent of Electronic Medical Records, this is a career with great possibilities for the future. While similar in title, these fields (HI and HIM) are actually somewhat different. Both careers utilize information technology; but, Health Information Management depends on information technology processes to maintain patient data accurately in compliance with state and federal regulations. Health Informatics relies on information technology to improve patient care and meet quality standards. U.S. News and World Report rates this career #13 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #68 in its 100 Best Jobs. Bachelor degrees are available and Best Medical Degrees reported on 10 Most Affordable Online Healthcare Informatics Bachelor Degrees, 10 Most Affordable Online Masters Degrees in Healthcare Informatics and Best Value Online Master’s in Health Informatics and Health Information Management which may be helpful. Employment is frequently in hospitals, physician offices, long term care facilities and state and government agencies
Job Growth Expectation: 20%
Earnings Projection: $82,950-$107,230
25. Computer and Information Technologist
As with Health Informatics, careers in IT are, and will continue to be, in demand in healthcare settings. Electronic patient records, computerized pharmaceutical management, increasing reliance on robotic surgery, regulatory compliance, telemedicine, all components of today’s healthcare landscape, rely on Information Technology to provide secure, quality patient care. Requiring, at minimum, a bachelor degree in Computer Science, this career finds employment opportunities for those interested in healthcare field. In addition to studying information technology, it would be helpful for students to take basic health science courses to familiarize themselves with medical terminology, healthcare informatics, etc. There are online programs which concentrate on programming, information retrieval, statistics, system analysis and databases. Network Administrators, Computer Programmers, Web Developers, Information security specialists are all concentrations which will continue to grow in healthcare and some healthcare employers, due to the nature of security needed to protect patient records, may prefer a master’s degree. U.S. News and World Report ranks software developer, information systems security analyst and IT manager as the three top jobs in its Best Technology Jobs ranking.
Job Growth Expectation: 15%
Earnings Projection: $49,779-$103,418
Healthcare Careers of the Future
There is a perfect storm developing in healthcare featuring technology. Specializations will continue to develop in areas such as genetics, robotic assisted surgery, scientific studies and technology that will change the way physicians and nurses diagnose and treat patients. Best Medical Degrees has researched some of these future careers below. Some professions are so new there isn’t sufficient data to accurately rate the future career opportunities; but, it’s a sure bet that the discipline will have a significant impact.
26. Genetic Counseling and Nursing
This specialization conducts genetic screening to identify potential health risks. We see this being done on a routine basis with cancer patients, expectant parents and pediatrics. It’s foreseen that careers in Genetic Counseling or Genetic Nursing will grow as the research on genetics continues. Some colleges and universities are offering Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) programs with specialties in cardiovascular/genomics, oncology/genomics and gerontology/genomics, which studies human genetics principles, gene therapy, genetics testing, genetic screening evaluations, etc. Credentialed genetics nurses earn the Advanced Practice Nurse in Genetics (APNG) designation and employment may be found in clinical laboratories, research centers, genetics organizations, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Many genetics nursing professionals work for medical doctors who are specially trained in genetics.
Job Growth Expectation: 19%
Earnings Projection: $66,220
27. Patient Navigators
Healthcare in the United States is complicated. And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, millions of Baby Boomers are going to need help negotiating their way through the maize of healthcare. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act has provided insurance and healthcare opportunities for millions who previously were not part of the healthcare pool. Patient Navigators (or, Patient Advocates) are part insurance experts, patient advocates and healthcare coordinators. Currently, and because it’s currently unregulated, there is no clear path to becoming a Patient Navigator, although an Associate or Bachelor degree in health sciences, pubic health, healthcare administration, social work or nursing would provide a solid foundation for the field. Patient Navigators coordinate care from scheduling appointments, serve as a facilitator between patient, hospital and physician, maintain medical records and assure follow-up care is completed. Employment opportunities for these professionals may be in hospitals, physician offices, assisted living facilities or local and state agencies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a specific occupational category, as of yet, for this field and we’ve used BLS data for health educators to provide job growth and income projections for this developing healthcare field.
Job Growth Expectation: 16%
Earnings Projection: $35,370-$46,350
28. Robotic Assistance Nurse
Although minimally invasive surgeries have routinely done in the form of laparoscopic techniques, the development of robotic surgical technology, such as the da Vinci Surgical System, has elevated surgery to near science fiction. These robotic devices, using advanced computer technology, allows complex surgeries to be performed remotely by surgeons. The number of surgeries which can be performed in this manner has grown exponentially and includes surgeries such as cardiothoracic, gastrointestinal, renal, gynecology, neurosurgery and vascular, to name a few. Specially trained surgical nurses are responsible for the preparation of the system, understand emergency intervention in case of a malfunction, etc.
Job Growth Expectation: 15%
Earnings Projection: $34,000-$91,928
29. Medical Scientist
Medical research is the backbone of healthcare. Without the scientists who investigate diseases and prevention methods, we wouldn’t have the cutting edge treatment options available today. Working in laboratories, hospitals, physician offices, colleges and universities, pharmaceutical companies, Medical Scientists develop experiences, oversee clinical trials, analyze data and develop ways to treat (or, ideally, prevent) diseases. This is the premier science job, according to it’s #1 ranking by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Science Jobs, #12 in its Best STEM Jobs and #52 in its 100 Best Jobs. Education for this field will include a bachelor’s degree, typically in biology or chemistry. This is followed by a PhD graduate study, which often include dual degree programs leading to advanced nursing or medical degrees. These programs enhance both clinical and research skills. Best Medical Degrees reviewed 10 Most Affordable Online Health Science Bachelor Degrees that may help you start on this career path. This career is projected to have a low .4% unemployment rate for the future and its estimated that over 136,000 medical scientists are needed by 2026 to meet demand.
Job Growth Expectation: 13%
Earnings Projection: $58,360-$118,380
30. 3D Printing
This is truly the thing of science fiction; and, because of its relatively new application in medicine, is difficult to quantify. Also known as additive manufacturing, the use of 3D Printing has been in use since 2012 and was the subject of a military evaluation to determine the application of 3D Printing for creating surgical equipment, supplies, etc. The results were promising. Three years ago, Smithsonian Magazine published an article describing research being conducted to recreate human organs using 3D Printing. People interested in this field may want to complete college programs in Biomedical Engineering as well as 3D Printing degrees, which includes some courses in anatomy, biology, kinesiology, etc. Colleges and universities are beginning to offer 3D Printing degrees.
Job Growth Expectation: 10%
Earnings Projection: $61,990-$95,980