High Demand Healthcare Careers in 2021
If you’re interested in working in healthcare, one of the factors you may consider before choosing a particular career path is its anticipated growth rate. This rate can tell you how many jobs are expected to be added in the future, which can also give some indication of what your job search might look like once you’re ready to find an entry-level position in that role.
Healthcare support, in general, is anticipated to create the most jobs between 2020 and 2030.1 Which positions are some of the fastest-growing healthcare jobs in the years ahead?
Fastest Growing Healthcare Careers in 2021
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides job growth projections for several roles in the healthcare industry. Here are some of the healthcare careers with the fastest growth rates in 2021.
- Social and Human Service Assistants
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 17% (Much faster than average)2
Healthcare professionals in these roles help connect patients to the resources and services they need for their conditions and health status. This might involve working with populations with a specific health condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, or a certain health challenge, such as overcoming substance abuse.
The BLS attributes the 17% growth rate for social and human service assistant roles to an aging population and people with substance abuse being sent to treatment programs versus spending time in jail.3 Generally, a high school diploma is required for a health and human service role, along with on-the-job training. Though, some employers may request or prefer a higher level of education.
- Medical and Health Services Managers
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 32% (Much faster than average)4
Medical and health services managers help healthcare organizations run efficiently. They do this by performing tasks such as budget preparation, process implementation, and document creation—all of which can help the organization meet its desired goals.
Along with an aging population, healthcare management roles are expected to increase due to more practitioners offering services previously only provided in hospitals, along with greater use of electronic health records or EHRs (a digital recordkeeping system that houses patients’ health histories). Most health service managers need a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions, although some employers require that applicants have a master’s degree.
- Diagnostic Sonographer
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 19% (Faster than average)6
As its title suggests, a diagnostic sonographer helps healthcare providers diagnose patients’ health conditions by using specialized equipment that provides images (ultrasounds or sonograms) of different organs and tissues. These images can then be used to determine if a particular disease or condition may exist.
Diagnostic sonographers can specialize in a certain area, such as by becoming a cardiac sonographer for the heart or a musculoskeletal sonographer to create images of patients’ muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. An associate degree or higher is required to work in this healthcare role.
- Medical Billing and Coding
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 11% (Faster than average)7
Medical billing and coding involves transforming patients’ health data (their diagnoses, any tests performed, and their treatment protocol) into codes using standard coding systems, then using these codes to bill the patient’s health insurance provider and/or the patient themselves for their portion of the expense.
Some employers only require a high school diploma to work in this role, along with providing on-the-job training. That said, obtaining your diploma or degree in medical billing and coding can help provide the skills needed to perform these functions, as well as enabling you to stand out from other job applicants without this type of education.
Medical Billing and Coding Diploma and Degree Online Programs
- Medical Assistant
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 18% (Much faster than average)8
Medical assistants are healthcare workers that assist with patient care tasks such as measuring and recording vital signs, assisting the practitioner with patient exams, and taking bloodwork to send to the lab for testing.
Generally, postsecondary education is required to work in a medical assistant role. Even if not required, some employers prefer that job applicants have this higher level of education.
Medical Assistant Diploma or Health Sciences – Medical Assistant Associate Degree Programs
- Phlebotomy Technician
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 22% (Much faster than average)9
Phlebotomy techs draw blood from patients. This blood can be drawn for a variety of reasons, some of which include testing for disease, obtaining blood for use in transfusions, for research-based purposes, or blood donation.
To work as a phlebotomist, most employers require a postsecondary degree and professional certification. To earn your certification, both classroom education and clinical experience are often needed.
- Occupational Therapist
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 17% (Much faster than average)10
Occupational therapists work with patients who are chronically ill, injured, or disabled, helping them learn how to do everyday activities such as getting dressed or feeding themselves. Individuals providing these healthcare services may also recommend changes to a patient’s home or workplace to better accommodate their condition and needs.
To work as an occupational therapist, a master’s degree or doctorate is required. If this field interests you but you don’t want to spend a lot of time in school, another option is to become an assistant. The projected growth rate for occupational therapy assistants is 32%.11
- Medical Administrative Assistant
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 11% (Much faster than average)7
Medical administrative assistants help healthcare agencies run more smoothly. They do this by performing administrative tasks such as patient scheduling, health insurance billing, and updating patients’ medical records.
A high school diploma is often required for entry-level medical administrative assistant positions. Although, some employers prefer that applicants have a higher level of education, such as an associate degree or bachelor’s.
Medical Administrative Assistant Diploma or Health Sciences – Medical Administrative Assistant Associate Degree Online Programs
- Dental Assistant
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 11% (Faster than average)12
Dental assistants help prep patients for their upcoming procedures, provide guidance regarding proper oral care, and assist dentists during the treatment sessions. Some dental offices require their assistants to perform administrative duties as well, such as those related to patient scheduling and billing.
This role is expected to be one of the fastest growing healthcare positions due to research linking oral health with general health, along with an aging population.13 Depending on the employer, a high school diploma and on-the-job training or the completion of a dental assisting program may be required.
- Physical Therapy Assistant
Job Outlook 2020-2030: 32% (Much faster than average)14
Physical therapist assistants help patients who are recovering from illnesses or injuries by working with them to regain movement and/or reduce pain. This might be by providing stretches or other exercises they can do, or by teaching them how to use assistive devices. Either way, they perform these duties under the supervision of a physical therapist.
An associate degree or higher is generally required for a physical therapy assistant role. Additionally, all states require individuals in this position to be certified or licensed.15
Each of these fast-growing healthcare careers is expected to bring more jobs in 2021, and beyond. This gives you plenty of options if this is one of your considerations when pursuing a career within the healthcare industry.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics. News Release. Employment Projections – 2020-2030. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecopro.pdf
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Social and Human Service Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-and-human-service-assistants.htm
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Social and Human Service Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-and-human-service-assistants.htm#tab-6
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Medical and Health Services Managers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm
5 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Medical and Health Services Managers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6
6 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm#tab-6
7 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm#tab-6
8 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Medical Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm
9 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Phlebotomists. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/phlebotomists.htm
10 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Occupational Therapists. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm
11 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm
12 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Dental Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm
13 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Dental Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-6
14 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm#tab-4
15 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm#tab-4