As there is no end to the COVID-19 pandemic in the near future, careers in healthcare are expected to remain in high demand through 2022. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, a rate much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.6 million new jobs. Further, the government agency reports that healthcare occupations overall are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups. Job security, in addition to increased demand for medical professionals, are reasons to consider the following healthcare career positions.
A Dental Hygienist is a healthcare professional who primarily works to clean a patient’s teeth, removing tartar, stains, and plaque as needed, while also brushing, flossing, and scraping their teeth for prevention purposes. In addition to their services, Dental Hygienists also work along with other dentistry career professionals to educate patients on best practices for maintaining good oral hygiene, aiming to avoid problems later on, such as gingivitis.
The employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS reports that about 15,600 openings for dental hygienists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. Degrees for dental hygiene programs are offered throughout the United States (ADHA).
“[To become a Dental Hygienist], students are required to complete prerequisite courses before gaining entry into a program. These include basic courses such as English composition, psychology, speech, and more science-based courses such as anatomy and physiology, and microbiology,” Jenna Alburger, RDH, a Dental Hygienist practicing in Pennsylvania, said. “Once your prerequisite courses are completed, you apply to the dental hygiene program.”
She added that dental hygiene is a very competitive program to be accepted into and that the program is a full-time two-year program (including clinical and dental-related courses.) In total, the program took her four years to complete the prerequisite courses and the two-year dental hygiene program. Additionally, she found her studies to be a part of a very challenging program with one of the most difficult aspects being time management with coursework and studying.
A Registered Nurse (RN) is a healthcare professional responsible for providing holistic patient care which includes providing patient education and emotional support. RNs assess patients, record vital signs and symptoms, develop treatment plans, assess injuries and illnesses, and consult with other healthcare professionals. Furthermore, Registered Nurses use their knowledge to teach patients how to manage various acute and chronic conditions and use at-home treatments.
Employment of Registered Nurses is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, and about 194,500 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the next decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
“A career in nursing is certainly very rewarding,” Lindsey Brust, RN, a Registered Nurse practicing in Pennsylvania said. “Most days are tough and the work never ends. As Registered Nurses, we are there to witness miracles in life and death. We build emotional connections with patients, families, and co-workers.” Nurses usually state their first priority is to reduce patients’ pain.
To become a Registered Nurse, learners must enroll in and complete either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ASN or ADN) or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) During these educational programs, learners will receive instruction in anatomy, physiology, nutrition, psychology, microbiology and other science-intensive areas of study. Either degree will enable a Nurse to provide the same level of patient care, but the Bachelor’s-prepared individual receives additional training in other subjects such as leadership studies, community health, and research. The BSN’s added educational course work has been linked to better patient outcomes and lower mortality/failure to rescue rates, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
A Family Physician is a Medical Doctor (MD) who provides comprehensive healthcare in the field of Medical Careers. Qualified to assist patients of any age or sex, these professionals can provide ongoing care to all members of a family, hence where the title “Family Physician” stems from. The duties of a Family Practitioner include obtaining and recording a patient’s health history, updating a patient’s medical record appropriately, performing or ordering tests as needed, and reviewing all results. When abnormal findings are discovered, Family Physicians will establish treatment plans to directly address an illness, injury, or concern. They may alternatively refer a patient to a specialist.
Along with addressing patient issues, Family Physicians will also discuss best health practices to ensure that their patients are practicing preventative care. To become a Family Physician, professionals must first obtain a bachelor’s degree. Usually during the junior or senior year of undergraduate program students study for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). After securing their best score, these students gather transcripts and letters of recommendation to apply to medical schools.
“I went straight from completing my undergraduate degree to entering medical school and then completing a residency,” Lin recalled. “Although I didn’t take any time off in between, I think that taking a few years off between college and medical school is now more of the norm. This can be beneficial because by the time someone enters medical school they have gained more perspective on the patients they will eventually see.”
Surgeons have one of the most rewarding and sometimes, the most challenging careers in healthcare. These professionals treat patients who are ill, or who have diseases, deformities, or injuries. They use a mixture of non-invasive interventions and invasive techniques which involve the use of precise surgical methods. Surgeons must first assess their patient’s histories, physical condition, and laboratory results. Following a careful review of the patient’s data, they diagnose the patient’s disorder and devise a treatment plan that may or may not include surgery. When appropriate, they may also refer the patient to another healthcare professional.
“A career in surgery is very rewarding,” Shawn Tsuda, MD FACS, a Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgeon practicing in Las Vegas, Nevada, said. “I would describe being a Surgeon as having the privilege to do something extraordinary, technically challenging, intense, and deeply personal with another human being, on almost a daily basis. Then, we are able to go home to our families and live a very ordinary life.”
The path to becoming a Surgeon usually begins in high school when students pursue the science-specific courses necessary to help them gain admittance to a strong pre-med or basic science bachelor’s degree program at a college or university. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to obtain and frequently includes classes in anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and English. However, some students enter medical school without the typical pre-med undergraduate degree. Overall employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to grow 3 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.
About 22,700 openings for physicians and surgeons are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Just as in the case of Family Physicians, most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
“Becoming a Surgeon is one of the longest educational and training processes of any career in the world. For this reason, the commitment must be started with open eyes,” Shawn Tsuda, MD FACS, a Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgeon practicing in Las Vegas, NV advised.