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13 Growing Jobs in Health Care

Anthony Balderrama, writer

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Forget all the talk about the recession and the economy -- well, at least try for a minute. Think about what you want in a career. On any given day you probably would like to have most or all of the following:

·         Good pay

·         Opportunity for career growth

·         A stable industry

·         High demand for your work

Everyone would like to be compensated fairly and all workers want the chance climb the professional ladder. Plus, if you know your services are sought after, you can feel confident that you won't be out of a job in the foreseeable future.

In tough economic times, this kind of job sounds like a fantasy. But it's a reality for the health-care industry. Unlike many fields, health care can't be outsourced -- unless you want to go overseas to fix your sprained ankle. With a growing population that's living longer, the need for medical personnel continues to rise.

Another attractive aspect of working in health care is that education requirements for various positions range from a high school diploma with some training to advanced medical degrees combined with extensive training.

If you're considering a job in health care, here are 13 jobs that you might want to consider, along with their projected employment growth and mean annual wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics respond to emergency calls as instructed by dispatchers. They arrive on the scene to address medical emergencies, which can require on-site treatment or transportation to a hospital.
2006 employment: 201,000*
Projected 2016 employment: 240,000
Mean annual wage: $30,870

Police, fire and ambulance dispatchers answer 911 calls and decide what emergency personnel, such as paramedics or firefighters, need to respond to the situation.
2006 employment: 99,000
Projected 2016 employment: 113,000
Mean annual wage: $34,060

Chiropractors treat patients who suffer from pain or conditions associated with their muscles and bones, most often the spine.
2006 employment: 53,000
Projected 2016 employment: 60,000
Mean annual wage: $81,390

Dental hygienists perform examinations on patients' teeth and gums and assess overall dental health. They often prepare records and reports on patients for the dentist.
2006 employment: 167,000
Projected 2016 employment: 217,000
Mean annual wage: $64,910

Dental assistants prepare the patient before meeting with the dentist and also prepare materials for the dentist to use during the appointment. They are not licensed to perform any dental procedures.
2006 employment: 280,000
Projected 2016 employment: 362,000
Mean annual wage: $32,280

Dentists treat patients for conditions concerning their teeth and gums. They also perform routine checkups for patients in order to prevent any dental problems.
2006 employment: 136,000
Projected 2016 employment: 149,000
Mean annual wage: $147,010

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgery on a patient's jaw or mouth. For many people, the first time they see an oral surgeon is for problems with wisdom teeth.
2006 employment: 7,700
Projected 2016 employment: 8,400
Mean annual wage: $178,440

Orthodontists treat patients who need braces or retainers to straighten their teeth.
2006 employment: 9,200
Projected 2016 employment: 10,000
Mean annual wage: $185,340

Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants work in hospitals or health-care facilities, helping patients perform routine tasks such as walking, bathing or eating.
2006 employment: 1,447,000
Projected 2016 employment: 1.71 million
Mean annual wage: $23,920

Home health aides work with patients who are living at home and provide assistance with everyday tasks, such as eating and bathing. They also help patients follow doctor's instructions for routine exercise.
2006 employment: 787,000
Projected 2016 employment: 1.17 million
Mean annual wage: $20,850

Optometrists check the visual health of a patient. They prescribe glasses or contacts and treat eye diseases or other conditions.
2006 employment: 33,000
Projected 2016 employment: 36,000
Mean annual wage: $101,840

Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers produce medications that have been created by scientists and medical experts. They ensure that medication passes all the necessary tests for human consumption as decided by government guidelines.
2006 employment: 292,000
Projected 2016 employment: 361,204
Mean annual wage: n/a

Registered nurses help patients by treating their conditions or ailments and teaching them how to properly care for themselves. They work in a variety of medical care facilities, including hospitals and clinics.
2006 employment: 2.5 million
Projected 2016 employment: 3.1 million
Mean annual wage: $62,480

*Salary data and employment projections based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Accessed on Jan. 19, 2009.

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Last Updated: 26/02/2009 - 2:50 PM

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