Healthcare Career Overview

Healthcare careers are among the fastest growing in the United States. There will always be a demand for health service providers, from physicians and surgeons to nurses and imaging technologists. If you love science and quality customer service, and are interested in job security and learning technical skills, a healthcare degree may be right for you.

Listed at the bottom of this page are colleges and universities that offer online degrees or certificates in healthcare. You can also explore over a dozen of healthcare study areas below.

HEALTHCARE STUDY AREAS

Career Outlook for Healthcare

Demand for healthcare workers is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 14% employment growth from 2018 to 2028, higher than the growth expected in any other field.

Workers at all education levels will be in demand. The job in most demand is home help and personal care aides, which are expected to grow 36%. This projected job growth is due to an aging population. Baby Boomers are aging and reaching the time of life most susceptible to heart disease, which increases the need for healthcare workers.

Check out the breakdown below for projected growth in popular healthcare careers.

Projected Healthcare Employment Growth through 2028

  • Home Health Aides: 36%
  • Physician Assistants: 31%
  • Nurse Practitioners: 26%
  • Medical Assistants: 23%
  • Physical Therapists: 22%
  • Phlebotomists: 23%
  • Dental Hygienists: 11%
  • Dentists:7%
  • Optometrists: 10%
  • Diagnostic Sonographers: 14%
  • Registered Nurses: 12%
  • Medical Lab Technicians: 11%
  • Physicians and Surgeons: 7%
  • MRI Technicians: 9%
  • Pharmacy Technicians: 7%
  • Nursing Assistants: 9%
  • Pharmacists: 0%

Salary Forecast for Careers in Healthcare

The earning potential for a healthcare career depends on which degree specialty you earn. While there may be more jobs available for medical assistants and technicians, jobs that require more training, like nurse practitioners and physicians, tend to have higher salaries.

For example, the median salary for healthcare practitioners (physicians and surgeons, dentists, nurses, etc.) in May 2019 was $68,190. Healthcare support occupations, such as home health aides, made an average of $28,470, which is lower than the national average for all occupations.

The list below outlines median annual salaries for common healthcare careers.

Average Salary for Healthcare Jobs in 2019

  • Physicians and Surgeons: $208,000
  • Dentists: $159,200
  • Pharmacists: $128,090
  • Nurse Practitioners: $115,800
  • Optometrists: $115,250
  • Physician Assistants: $112,260
  • Physical Therapists: $89,440
  • Registered Nurses: $73,300
  • Diagnostic Sonographers: $68,750
  • MRI Technicians: $62,280
  • Dental Hygienists: $76,220
  • Phlebotomists: $35,510
  • Medical Assistants: $34,800
  • Medical Lab Technicians: $53,120
  • Pharmacy Technicians: $33,950
  • Nursing Assistants: $29,640
  • Home Health Aides: $24,060

The salary you are able to earn and your job opportunities in healthcare careers will depend in large part on which degree you obtain. Healthcare careers are available at every level of education, from a high school diploma to a doctorate degree.

Demanding professional positions such as dentists, ophthalmologists, and physicians require years of schooling and additional training while qualifying to work as a technician or assistant can take only a two-year associate’s degree. Training for various healthcare positions can be very technical and specialized, so knowing what field you want to work in will determine which type of degree program to pursue.

Below is a list of degrees usually required for an entry-level position in popular healthcare occupations.

Education Requirements for Healthcare Jobs

  • Dental Hygienists: Postsecondary nondegree award
  • Dentists: Doctoral or professional degree
  • Diagnostic Sonographers: Associates degree
  • Home Health Aides: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Medical Lab Technicians: Associates degree
  • Medical Assistants: Postsecondary nondegree award
  • Nurse Practitioners: Master’s degree
  • Nursing Assistants: Associates degree
  • Opthamologists: Doctorate or professional degree
  • Pharmacists: Doctorate or professional degree
  • Pharmacy Technicians: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Phlebotomists: Postsecondary nondegree award
  • Physical Therapists: Doctorate or professional degree
  • Physician Assistants: Master’s degree
  • Physicians and Surgeons: Doctorate or professional degree
  • MRI Technicians: Associates degree
  • Registered Nurses: Bachelor’s degree

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