Fastest Growing Allied Healthcare Professions
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care field is the largest and the fastest growing industry in the United States. 1/3 of the 20 fastest growing occupations today are healthcare related. Many of these jobs are in the area of allied healthcare, a term used to identify dozens of different occupations within the healthcare industry, distinct from medicine, dentistry and nursing.
While all allied health careers anticipate growth in the coming years, there are several occupations that rank at the top and are expected to grow by over 25% annually. It is these occupations that will be providing the greatest long-term job security.
If you are interested in pursuing a career within the healthcare field, this list is a great place to start your search. The allied health industry is growing quickly and the allied healthcare occupations listed below offer some of the most promising futures.
Medical Assistant currently ranks as the most rapidly growing allied healthcare occupation. Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in all manner of healthcare facilities including hospitals, wound care centers, IVF clinics, and a variety of doctors’ offices. Their duties vary based on the location, specialty, and size of the facility.
A medical assistant’s responsibilities include assisting medical staff with a variety of tasks like patient registration, taking vital signs, medical records, monitoring EKG machines, and wound care. Medical assistants may also be required to draw blood and help with medical billing.
The profession continues to grow steadily despite a weak economy, and assistants who support doctors and nurses as they diagnose and treat patients are in very high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects medical assistant employment growth to be around 31 percent between 2010 and 2020, with the field adding more than 160,000 jobs. That sizable employment growth puts medical assistants among the top healthcare jobs.
A cardiovascular technologist is probably one of the most interesting and diverse occupations of all the allied health careers. The core duties of these healthcare professionals, include assisting physicians in diagnosing and treating cardiac and peripheral vascular ailments.
Typically, cardiovascular technologists specialize in one of three core areas of practice: invasive cardiology, echocardiography, and vascular sonography. The cardiovascular technologists, who specialize in invasive procedures are called cardiology technologists.
The work of a cardiovascular technologist includes variety of duties, such as preparing patients for cardiac catheterization and balloon angioplasty. During these procedures, technologists are responsible for monitoring the patients’ blood pressure and heart rate with EKG equipment and notify the physician if something appears to be wrong. Cardiovascular technologists specializing in invasive procedures are also in charge of preparing and monitoring patients during open-heart surgery and insertion of pacemakers and stents. Technologists who specialize in non-invasive procedures use sonography equipment to image internal body structures.
Rapid employment growth is expected for cardiovascular technologists. As the population ages there will be a higher incidence of heart problems and doctors will require more diagnostic imaging. As baby boomers continue to retire, this will also open up more job opportunities for young technologists.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (DMS) are also referred to as ultrasound technicians or technologists. This is another rapidly growing occupation within the healthcare industry.
These allied health professionals use ultrasound equipment to direct non-ionizing, high frequency sound waves into areas of the patient’s body. Sonographers are in charge of operating this equipment, and collect the transmitted data for diagnostic purposes.
The use of ultrasound equipment in recent years has grown substantially due to several factors. Physicians are always looking for less invasive methods of diagnosing various medical conditions. Improvements in ultrasound technology have therefore provided physicians with safer and more effective ways to diagnose their patients.
In addition, as patients seek safer treatment methods, sonography is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to radiologic procedures. This has further increased the demand for certified diagnostic medical sonographers.
A career as a Surgical Technologist is one of the most exciting, in-demand, and challenging allied healthcare occupations out there. Have you ever dreamed of working in an operating room? Well, you don’t need eight years of education to get there. A surgical technologist training program can get you working in the operating room in as little as nine months.
Surgical technologists, also known as surgical technicians, scrub techs, or operating room technicians, assist in surgical procedures under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, and other surgical staff. Before surgery, the surgical technologists help set up the operating room by laying out the surgical instruments and equipment, and preparing sterile drapes and solutions. Surgical technologists are responsible for assembling both sterile and non-sterile equipment, preparing patients for surgery, and transporting them to the operating room. During surgeries, surgical technologists are observing the patients’ vital signs, checking charts, and assisting the surgical team with putting on sterile gowns and gloves.
Because of the number of surgical procedures performed daily and their expected higher frequency as the population ages, the job outlook for surgical technologists outshines a lot of other occupations. This make this allied health career an excellent choice.