Healthcare is growing by leaps and bounds, according to the latest job data, and this growth is fueled by a number of factors. If you're just graduating as a doctor or a nurse, there's hardly been a better time to be looking for healthcare jobs.
Healthcare jobs are generally in a state of flux, and the current situation is no different. On the one hand, certain jobs are being lost, such as those for medical billing specialists. Because the law now requires all medical facilities to use electronic billing, those who provided this service are less in demand.
However, those who supply basic care are expected to benefit from the rise of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. There have also been fundamental changes in healthcare that have not been due to this new law. An aging population means that there are more jobs available for care workers who specialize in end-of-life care and those who practice geriatric medicine. As the population ages, this job growth in healthcare should continue.
This may seem like good news: after all, more jobs mean higher demand. Unfortunately, though, while there are more healthcare jobs on the market, employers are insisting on better qualifications to fill them. A bachelor's degree used to be required for 21 percent of jobs in 2010; by 2020, this will have risen to 24 percent. This means that healthcare workers will need to take on more debt to qualify for these roles. Over 80 percent of nurses, for example, will require at least an associate degree to qualify for their jobs. Improved qualifications aside, there are plenty of healthcare jobs to go around, so there is some cause for hopes of increases in pay and better job prospects in return for these investments.
Even the stock markets indicate that the number of healthcare jobs is booming, with healthcare stocks being recommended by a number of traders and advisors. While these stocks dipped briefly in response to the issues surrounding Obamacare, they rebounded strongly after everything stabilized. Again, the aging population is being cited as the main reason why these stocks have been selected, and companies that deal with older patients and general palliative care are expected to do well.
With all this in mind, it's unsurprising that the number of healthcare jobs has been rising by around 30,000 jobs per month for the past year. This job growth isn't completely sustainable—primarily because it is partially due to the expectation of more people receiving adequate healthcare thanks to Obamacare—but it does show the potential opportunities for those who are qualified. Job opportunities should stabilize in the second half of this year.
With just under five million people employed by the nation's hospitals, the healthcare industry is a major part of the U.S. job market, and most people require healthcare at some point in their lives. As the population ages and expands, it seems clear that the number of healthcare jobs will continue to increase.
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