By Andre Michael Eggelletion
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs since the economy began its severe contraction in 2008. Millions more people are under-employed and finding it increasingly difficult to put food on the table. But one industry holds tremendous opportunity in an otherwise dismal job market: health care, or as Republicans like to call it: Obamacare.
Obamacare meets growth in demand
Every industry thrives when the demand is high for its goods and services, and the health care field is no exception to the rule. Because the birthrate exploded in the United States after World War II, we are now at the beginning of a 10 to 20 year-long period where these “baby boomers” will be requiring more health care services. This is why the health care industry has been the epicenter of job growth in every month of the recession. On average, 24,000 jobs were created in the health care field over the last 12 months. Experts say we can expect 24% growth in health care jobs, or 4.3 million additional jobs until 2021.
The time to get trained is now
The Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 was a wise answer to increasing demand for health care. As the health care industry retools, ramps up, and prepares to meet this explosion in demand, those who are looking for employment now have health reform to thank for good paying jobs for years to come. In fact, the demand for new health care professionals is expected to be so high that the rising concern within the industry is over having enough qualified health care professionals to meet this demand. Therefore, the time for training for a job in this area is now.
Looking forward to 2014
Most of the major areas of job growth under the Affordable Health Care Act won’t begin until 2014 when the health exchanges mandate goes into effect. At that time federal funding will be provided for states to establish American Health Benefit Exchanges and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges. Whether you’re an individual or a small business owner, these exchanges are supposed to serve as an easy, cost-affordable way for you to get health-insurance for yourself or your employees. The establishment of these exchanges will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
The top 8 fastest growing health care careers through 2018:
– Bill and account collectors are forecast to increase 66%. Industry experts peg the growth to an increase in billing as more Americans get access to insurance and health care under reform.
– Cardiovascular technologists and technicians jobs are expected to grow 52%. Kim said as boomers age, they will need more stress tests and cardio scans, which will require experienced technicians to operate the equipment.
– Public relations specialists are forecast to rise 52%. "The interesting phenomenon happening right now is hospitals and health centers embracing social media," said Kim. As a result, he said hospitals are hiring people who are "social media" or public relations "specialists."
– Physician assistants are expected to see a 52% increase. Kim said the current shortage of primary care physicians means many health centers in areas facing doctor shortages are using physician assistants to fill the gaps.
– Pharmacy technicians are forecast to grow 52%. This trend may be fueled by the rapid growth of retail pharmacies and support staff needed to work with pharmacists.
– Customer service representatives are expected to rise 52%. Kim said more hospitals are changing their models and adopting a more customer-centric approach, which includes conducting customer satisfaction surveys.
– Massage therapists are expected to increase 52%. An aging population is boosting demand for this type of service, said Kim, as well as a slow shift away from conventional drug therapy.
– Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists are forecast to rise 43%. Again, Kim points to the aging population and more instances of depression and anxiety as the reasons behind the projection.
– Registered nurses are forecast to also increase 43% as health care centers boost their medical staff in anticipation of rising demand for services.