Young nurse standing and pressing modern medical type of buttonsA career in healthcare offers many rewards, benefits and opportunities for growth. It’s a thriving industry with a variety of jobs to suit many different skills and interests. For those considering a job in healthcare, here are the top five reasons for entering into the field.

Job growth/security – According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is projected to grow by 26% though 2022, an increase of about 4.1 million jobs. As the nation’s population ages and requires more medical services, hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and other facilities will be actively recruiting employees. Once employed, workers are unlikely to get laid off due to cuts or see their position eliminated.

High earning potential – Due to the high demand and sensitivity of the job, medical personnel are often well paid. The more skills, training and education an individual has, the better they are typically paid. Some of the high-demand medical jobs with increased earning potential are physician assistants (median salary $90,930) and registered nurses (median salary $65,470).

Making a difference – Staff in the medical field can change people’s lives on a daily basis and typically go into the profession because they enjoy helping others. They are compassionate and have strong people and communication skills. Serving others is one of the main objectives of any medical job and motivates people to work hard and perform their best.

Competitive benefits – Because of the growing competition for qualified medical personnel, most employers offer good benefits to attract and retain the best workers. Employees should expect benefits such as health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, vision care, vacation and paid sick time. Many employers also offer training and reimbursement for education in order to help employees advance in their careers.

Diverse requirements – You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to make a difference in someone’s life. Whether you have earned a high school diploma or a doctorate degree, there’s likely a job for you in healthcare. The field has hundreds of jobs with a diverse range of requirements. While some require years of school and on-the-job experience, others can be achieved through minimal education or training. Many, but not all, jobs require candidates be certified or licensed.

With so many occupations to choose from, the jobs in highest demand are currently medical assistants, medical secretaries, nursing assistants, home health aides, licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses. Dental assistants, emergency medical technicians and paramedics are also highly sought after.

Education & Training

Specific skills, education, licensing and certification are often required to pursue a healthcare career but may vary considerably depending on the job.

Occupations which require less than a high school diploma typically involve basic tasks, such as cleaning rooms, dressing and bathing patients and preparing and serving food. Jobs requiring a high school diploma or equivalent are mostly administrative, such as receptionists, billing clerks and medical secretaries.

Other positions require a post-secondary, non-degree award, such as a certificate, which may take a few weeks or a few years to obtain, depending on an individual’s experience and free time. This applies to positions such as dental assistants, EMTs and paramedics, LPNs and LVNs, medical assistants, nursing assistants, phlebotomists, psychiatric technicians and surgical technologists. Jobs such as dental hygienists, registered nurses and respiratory therapists mandate a two-year associate’s degree.

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree can qualify for a variety of positions, including ones in management. Treating practitioners, such as occupational therapists, physician assistants and nurse anesthetists generally require a master’s degree. To become a doctor, it usually takes at least three years of full-time study after a bachelor’s degree.

With so many options available, pursuing a job in healthcare often is a good choice for people just starting out or looking to change careers. The industry is in need of caring, dedicated people and will be for years to come.