What are the Most on Demand Jobs in Health Science?

What are the Most on Demand Jobs in Health Science?

Do you have an interest in a career in health science? Explore the most sought-after health science jobs, including salary information and educational requirements.

What Are the Most Sought-After Jobs in Health Science?

Do you have an interest in a career in health science? Explore the most sought-after health science jobs, including salary information and educational requirements.

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What Can You Do With a Health Science Degree?

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed nearly every aspect of life for most Americans, including their work. One field that’s experiencing remarkable job growth is health science. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), six out of the ten fastest-growing occupations are related to healthcare. Many of these roles don’t involve direct patient care.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans thinking about a career change, especially if you’re considering a nursing career, or if you’re starting your professional journey, keep reading to learn more about some of the most in-demand health science jobs.

How COVID Impacted Health Science Careers

It’s evident that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected health science careers and increased the demand for related positions.

“Due to the recent pandemic, we’re witnessing a growing need in the nursing field,” notes Amber Dessillier, Ph.D., a public health instructor at Walden University with over a decade of experience in public and community health. “It’s no secret that nurses worldwide have faced higher stress levels during their shifts and have been working longer hours with less rest, leading to burnout.”

She adds, “The field has experienced the loss of experienced nurses who had to weigh the risks of contracting COVID-19 while caring for the sick, all while dealing with challenges in nursing education and training for new nurses.”

Dessillier also mentions that the pandemic has redirected many students who were initially interested in nursing or medicine to explore other career paths.

“The pandemic has sparked more interest in public health, especially in epidemiology and research,” she explains. “To meet this growing interest, the field will require experienced faculty to guide and train new public health practitioners.”

As a result, many health science careers offer attractive earning potential.

The Most Sought-After Health Science Jobs

We’ve compiled a list of the most sought-after health science jobs using BLS data. We’ve also consulted experts to gain further insights into why these careers are experiencing such rapid growth.

1. Occupational Therapy Assistant

These professionals assist individuals in developing essential daily living skills. Their clients may be recovering from injuries, dealing with chronic illnesses, or children in need of help with coordination, social skills, or motor skills.

The demand for occupational therapy assistants primarily stems from a growing number of seniors who require additional support. Changes in healthcare and educational policies also contribute to job growth. Occupational therapy is connected to lower healthcare costs and improved academic achievement, making it an increasingly critical part of both rehabilitation and preventive healthcare.

  • Average Annual Salary: $63,560
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 34%

2. Home Health and Personal Care Aide

Home health providers and personal care aides play a vital role in assisting elderly individuals who still live at home. These professionals visit people in their homes to provide medical care and aid with daily tasks. This can range from monitoring vital signs and administering medication to meal preparation, household chores, and simply offering companionship.

An aging population is a driving force behind the demand for home health providers, as an estimated 90 million Americans will be 65 or older by 2050. However, turnover in this field also plays a role, with many home health aides transitioning to other positions after gaining experience in home health.

  • Average Annual Salary: $29,260
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 33%

3. Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapist assistants help patients regain strength and mobility after injuries, illnesses, or surgeries. They provide education, design exercise routines, perform therapeutic massages, and monitor patients’ progress toward recovery goals.

Similar to occupational therapists, their demand is driven by an aging population and a growing number of people with chronic conditions like diabetes who require ongoing care.

  • Average Annual Salary: $60,740
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 32%

4. Medical and Health Services Manager

With the increasing demand for healthcare services comes a greater need for professionals to oversee the business aspects of care delivery. Medical and health services managers fulfill this role. Also known as healthcare administrators, they manage private medical practices, healthcare facilities, or specific clinical areas. While their primary responsibility is to ensure that patients receive high-quality, efficient healthcare, their specific duties may involve tasks like human resources, records management, communications, and compliance.

Despite an aging population and heightened demand for healthcare, changes in healthcare delivery trends also result in an increased need for managers. Many services that were once provided in hospitals, such as outpatient surgery or orthopedics, are shifting to private medical practices.

Experienced IT and health informatics managers are also in demand, thanks to the widespread use of electronic health records.

  • Average Annual Salary: $119,840
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 32%

5. Substance Use and Mental Health Counselor

Between 2020 and 2030, the job growth rate for substance use and mental health counselors is projected to be 23%. These counselors provide support and treatment to individuals with mental health, behavioral, addiction, or substance misuse issues. As more people seek help for these problems, the need for qualified providers is expected to grow.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the demand for mental health services. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 25% of adults reported negative mental health effects, including increased substance use. This has led to a higher demand for mental health services.

  • Average Annual Salary: $53,490
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 23%

6. Postsecondary Health Specialties Educator

The growing demand for healthcare professionals requires qualified educators to teach and train them. One frequently cited reason for the ongoing nursing shortage is the lack of instructors to prepare the next generation of nurses for practice.

The BLS projects a 12% job growth rate for postsecondary health educators from 2020 to 2030. Once again, an aging population and increased demand for healthcare services drive this growth. As more healthcare facilities require nurses to hold postsecondary degrees, enrollment in nursing programs is expected to grow significantly, increasing the need for qualified nurse educators.

  • Average Annual Salary: $133,310
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 12%

7. Medical Assistant

Medical assistants play a vital role in healthcare delivery. They work in doctors’ offices and clinics and are often the first point of contact for patients. They take medical histories, record vital signs, prepare patients for doctor or nurse practitioner appointments, and may perform exams, administer injections, or provide aftercare instructions. Demand for medical assistants is projected to increase by 18% through 2030 as more patients seek healthcare services.

Most medical assistants work in primary care practices, which are experiencing overall growth. As more patients with chronic conditions seek high-quality, low-cost care, many practices that previously didn’t employ medical assistants are adding them to their teams. This shift creates new roles and contributes to job growth.

  • Average Annual Salary: $38,190
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 18%

8. Social and Community Service Manager

The social and community services field is vast and encompasses various types of organizations, all working to improve community well-being.

Social and community service managers oversee direct social service providers. They develop and manage programs and initiatives, focusing on issues like hunger, public health, mental health, or specific populations such as the elderly or homeless. Depending on their organization’s size and scope, these managers may focus on specific tasks or programs, or they may oversee various functions like program design, fundraising, and more.

Rapid job growth in this field can be attributed to the increased demand for mental health services and the turnover as managers change careers or retire.

  • Average Annual Salary: $76,790
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 15%

9. Veterinarian

Veterinarians care for animals, including household pets, livestock, and wild animals. In addition to keeping our four-legged friends healthy, they also play a role in protecting public health.

COVID-19 has contributed to the growing need for veterinarians. Desselier remarks, “The veterinary field has possibly been an unexpected area of demand during the pandemic. With many people spending more time at home and experiencing reduced social activities, pet adoptions have increased significantly in the past year, leading to a shortage of veterinary professionals to keep up with the demand for appointments.”

  • Average Annual Salary: $109,920
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 17%

10. Infection Control Practitioner

Unsurprisingly, the demand for infection control practitioners is unprecedented. Erica Susky, an infection control and prevention (IPAC) professional in Canada, describes her field: “IPAC manages safety pertaining to infectious diseases by preventing exposures with policies and procedures, engineering controls, and PPE training in hospitals and nursing homes.”

Susky, who works in a medical-surgical neurological intensive care unit, notes that “workloads are larger managing COVID-19 policies and procedures.”

She also identifies a limited understanding of infection control principles as the root of many COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths in nursing facilities. “The lack of IPAC expertise in nursing homes has brought the opportunity to start IPAC programs there and hire IPAC professionals.”

  • Average Annual Salary: $47,780
  • Projected Employment Growth (2020-2030): 17% among community health workers

Discover Your Next Health Science Career

There’s no better time than now to pursue a career in health science. Demographic shifts, the increasing demand for healthcare services, and pandemic-related trends ensure numerous job opportunities in the healthcare industry. Whether you aspire to provide direct patient care or work in a management role, there’s a place for you in this dynamic and exciting field.

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