One of the industries that you know, for a fact, will only grow is healthcare. Though healthcare may change and adapt, the continuing need for experts will only grow. In fact, it is growing too fast, if anything. There are mass shortages for both physicians and nurses in the United States, and that is just the most common positions. There are numerous roles in healthcare that are all facing shortages.
Though it takes time and effort, the fact that you are nearly guaranteed a job after you graduate is just one reason why so many are turning to healthcare for their careers.
There are so many excellent roles to choose from as well, with some roles offering high levels of job satisfaction. Though the assumption is that doctors and physicians, by far, would be the most popular and best careers in healthcare, this isn’t actually the truth. These top five careers show that:
1. Physician Assistant
The number one job role in healthcare at the moment is as a Physician Assistant. Physician Assistants are highly-qualified nurses that work either as an RN, EMT, or paramedic, who then complete physician assistant training. This needs to be from an accredited physician assistant program, which is an MSN-level degree. In short, physician assistants are APRNs who are trained to work alongside primary care physicians.
They earn a median salary of $112,260 and have an unemployment rate of just 0.7%.
There are downsides, of course, which include needing to work around outdated and sometimes baffling regulations. For example, a physician assistant can prescribe morphine in some states but at the same time would not be able to prescribe diabetic shoes.
Even with these restrictions, around 96% of physician assistants would recommend their career to others.
2. Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Practitioners are a type of APRN who have completed at least an MSN, though they may also hold a DNP degree. They work and specialize in various areas, and in some states, they can even open their own primary care clinic on their own. The median salary for the Nurse Practitioner is $109,820, though it is important to note that this salary median does change depending on the specialization the NP chooses. The top 25% earn on average $127,030.
Their job role is very, very similar to that of a primary care physician. For this reason, many NPs are actually being hired to offset the physician shortage we currently see. There is also a massive growth for this job role, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 52.5% employment growth for NPs by 2029. To put this into perspective, NPs have the highest projected jobs out of all the top roles in healthcare, with a projected 110,700 new jobs being created by 2029.
NPs have a lot of the same responsibilities and privileges that physicians do, and you can follow this guide to become a family nurse practitionerto get started.
Physicians come in at #3, with a projected job growth of 18,500 new jobs by 2029 and an average salary of $206,500. Unlike the top two roles, which only require an MSN to get started, Physicians require a doctorate to practice. Therefore, they are fully qualified medical doctors, and the competition for roles can be high.
At the same time, there is a shortage of physicians. It takes many, many years to be a physician. First, there is your undergraduate degree in premed, then you need medical school, then you will need to specialize further and try to get into competitive fellowships.
The road is very long for physicians, but with a high median salary and the ability to help and care for patients directly in your own clinic, it is easy to see why physicians come in at #3 this year.
4. Speech-Language Pathologist
Speech-language pathologists, otherwise known as speech therapists, come in at #4. They earn the lowest median salary out of the top five, but they also enjoy good upward mobility, low-stress levels, and a good amount of flexibility in their roles.
To become a speech therapist, you will need to complete a specialized speech-language pathology language program. This program typically takes two years to complete. After graduating, you will then need to complete a clinical fellowship. This fellowship includes 400 hours of supervised clinical experience.
You will also want to acquire the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, as many employers look for this in their employees as it shows your accreditation and competence as a therapist.
Oral health is important, and so are dentists, which is why the 5th best job in healthcare for 2021 is that of a dentist. Dentists have a median salary of $155,600 and are expected to enjoy a 2.8% job growth rate by 2029. Dentists also have an incredibly low unemployment rate, at just 0.2%, making it a very stable career to get into.
They also earn some of the highest wages.
The lower average for dentists is still in the six figures, and those just starting out can be expected to an around $113,060 per year. Those who have established themselves in their career earn, on average, around $208,000 per year.
Dentists need an undergraduate degree in a premed course; they need to take the Dental Admission Test, attend dental school, and then pass the National Board Dental Examinations. If you want to specialize, this requires further training in a residency program, which often takes between one to two years, though some programs go all the way to six years.
Dentists also enjoy some of the best flexibility of the top five careers, are generally stress-free, and enjoy a decent amount of upward mobility.
These top five careers show that the best jobs in healthcare are primarily in preventative care roles. The stress is less, the flexibility and work/life balance are better, and the average salary of these roles all make them very attractive for those in and out of healthcare.