Is There a Healthcare Talent Shortage in the U.S.?

Julie Shenkman
Posted by in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is constantly growing and the availability of healthcare jobs is consistently on the rise. As the population of the United States ages and more physicians gravitate towards specialties, the need for primary care physicians in particular is rising. This also opens up the possibilities for nurse practitioners and other medical professionals. So, if you're planning a career in the healthcare industry, you should consider aiming high.

In addition to the average age of the country's population and the amount of doctors who have chosen to specialize, new healthcare laws that are due to go into effect in 2014 to expand the country's Medicaid system, providing millions of people with medical coverage, are having an effect. According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, in 2009 one in every five Americans lacked access to a primary care physician. Over the years, this number has continued to rise, as has the number of open healthcare jobs. The Association of American Medical Colleges expects the shortage of physicians to grow by more than 90,000 by the year 2020.  

If you're in the process of planning your career and are looking into healthcare jobs, you'll find plenty of opportunities available. While primary care physicians are needed, you don't have to become a fully fledged medical doctor to help address the shortage of healthcare talent in the US. There are also many job openings for nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners are nurses who have graduate degrees and have completed an additional 500 hours of supervised clinical work. As a nurse practitioner, you will be educated in primary care so you're properly trained to help pick up the slack when a primary care physician is needed. You can treat patients who don't have complex illnesses or who those who need preventative care. Like a primary care physician, you're licensed to give physicals, write prescriptions, and evaluate patients with common illnesses.

When it comes to finding healthcare jobs, location doesn't matter. Healthcare jobs are available everywhere, and the need to fill positions will continue to be pressing in the near future. In addition to primary care doctors and nurse practitioners, there are many job openings for physician assistants. A physician assistant practices medicine under the direct supervision of a doctor or surgeon. In order to become a physician assistant you need to obtain your bachelor's degree and complete an accredited educational program designed specifically for physician assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the availability of healthcare jobs for physician assistants is expected to increase by 30 percent by the year 2020, and as more physician assistants move into specialized fields, the availability of jobs will continue to rise.

If you're looking for a promising career, the healthcare industry is filled with prospective jobs, and the search for talented and educated individuals is only expected to increase. Healthcare jobs are out there, and with the proper education and training, you could have a rewarding career.

(Photo courtesy of stockimages /


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