Rising Healthcare Jobs That Don't Require Half a Decade in School

In great demand are home health aides, nursing aides, medical assistants, and registered nurses.
by Paul Richlovsky

It's no secret that healthcare jobs are exploding.  As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates, healthcare will account for more new jobs (3.2 million) than any other industry between 2008 and 2018. Ten of the twenty fasting-growing occupations are healthcare-related, while seven healthcare occupations are among the thirty showing the largest net growth:

  • registered nurses (1)
  • home health aides (2)
  • personal and home care aides (4)
  • nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants (9)
  • medical assistants (21)
  • licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (24)
  • physicians and surgeons (28)

A chart from the BLS National Employment Matrix breaks down the job openings another way:


Judging by the thousands upon thousands of jobs that are projected to be available in healthcare and social assistance, and the significantly fewer relative number of jobs available in other service industries, you don't need to be a statistician to see that if you have even the remotest interest in working in the health field, you should start exploring the market or preparing for future employment now.  All the aging baby boomers are going to need people to take care of them.

Also, don't be fooled by the illusion that all healthcare jobs require at least half a decade of schooling: sometimes, a little schooling is all it takes. Most of the large-growth healthcare occupations only require postsecondary vocational awards or short-term on-the-job training (or an associate's degree in the case of registered nurses).

Learn more about popular career-focused healthcare degrees:

As Richard Vedder, Ohio University economist, noted in Jacques Steinberg's recent "Plan B: Skip College" New York Times article:

“It is true that we need more nanosurgeons than we did 10 to 15 years ago. But the numbers are still relatively small compared to the numbers of nurses’ aides we’re going to need. We will need hundreds of thousands of them over the next decade.”