Healthcare Professionals Defy Unemployment Numbers

While unemployment continues to hover around 10 percent, there is one thing that is certain – healthcare professionals are still in high demand. Doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and therapists are needed in almost every area of the country. A growing and aging population, the promise of wider health insurance coverage, and advances in medical technologies are translating into attractive salaries and signing bonuses for many of the people delivering healthcare.

If you are looking for job stability, a career in healthcare is a good plan. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in the field will grow by more than 20 percent from 2008 through 2018, which is twice the pace for overall U.S. job growth.

At the head of the class is the need for primary care physicians. It is worth noting that there has been a sharp increase in the need for psychiatrists.  The sudden demand is possibly the result of improved diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues along with better health coverage for behavioral problems.

Recruiting firms are reporting an increased need for oncologists, geriatricians, emergency medicine doctors, and surgeons, as well. With the severe shortage of doctors comes an increased need for nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. These healthcare professionals are finding themselves in a seller’s market as far as locating a good job. The shortages are exacerbated by a lack of training slots, particularly notable in nursing schools, to meet rising demand, and too few professionals with advanced degrees to do the teaching. Registered nurses are already the largest occupational group in healthcare, at 2.6 million jobs, but by 2018, about 580,000 additional RNs will be needed.

If you are a pharmacist looking for a job, the news is quite promising. The number of positions is projected to grow by 17 per cent through 2018. About one quarter of people in the profession practice in hospitals, where they are increasingly part of the direct-care teams making treatment decisions. Other options range from traditional work in a retail pharmacy to research, drug sales, and teaching.

The big provisions of health reform, such as the health exchanges, won’t kick in until 2014. When they do, it will most likely result in more demand for health care services and more jobs. The primary concern is whether or not there will be a sufficient number of qualified health care professionals. But this certainly bodes well for those searching for a career in the healthcare industry.

The dynamics of the healthcare industry is fraught with concern and uncertainties but if you are a doctor, nurse or other member of the healthcare profession, one thing rings true – you have profound job security.

Source: Gearon, Christopher J. “Health Care Jobs on the Rise.” US News Report,  Web. 6 Dec. 2012. Kavilanz, Parija. “Healthcare Jobs: A Bright Spot for Hiring.” CNN Money. CNN, Web. 6 Dec. 2012

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