The ACA Makes Health Care Jobs Worth Studying For

Wondering what career path to take? One great direction is the medical field. Becoming a doctor is financially out of reach for most people, but other health care careers are lucrative and growing rapidly.

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Photo source: sheelamohanachandran

According to the latest jobs report, while much of the recent jobs growth has occurred in low-wage industries, the American economy has also seen plenty of health care roles added recently (38,000 in fact), positions which tend to pay much better than typical service-related jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released 2014 to 2024 projections forecasting that the health care and social assistance sector will create 1 in 3 of the net new jobs.

What's behind the job boom? Demographics. More than half of the nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals are over 50. Retiring along with half the medical profession are 80 million Baby Boomers. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes provisions to expand the capabilities of several types of medical professionals . RNs and PAs have more autonomy (that's why you can get flu shots at Walgreens now) and telemedicine has been expanded.

Factor in the alarming rise in chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and you really see the big picture.

Medical industry provisions in the ACA makes health care for our aging population more manageable and offers huge career opportunities for young people looking for a great career.

From phlebotomists, home health aides, physical therapists, pharmacists, crisis counselors, and audiologists, to dieticians, social workers, physician assistants, paramedics, dental assistants, and more, there are many jobs that are worth completing further studies in today. And if you're already in the health care industry, other positions like health care management are a great way to move up the ladder. Read on for the rundown on just some of the roles you might want to consider if you're interested in a career in the health care sector.

Phlebotomists

One career path that continues to be in demand is that of a phlebotomist. Phlebotomists work with blood for a living, acting as medical technicians who must carefully extract blood from people with a sterilized needle (a procedure called "venipuncture").

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health issues in the U.S. today, and diabetics are required to have frequent blood tests. The need for qualified phlebotomists will likely continue to grow.

Phlebotomists work in a variety of venues, such as hospitals, labs, medical centers, clinics, and even specialized blood collection facilities. They are responsible for carefully and accurately setting up and conducting tests for each patient, and must ensure that samples are properly labeled.

Home Health Aides

Home health aides will be continually sought after over the coming years as well, as the population ages and more and more people need some help at home (and wish to stay in their houses for as long as possible before having to move to a care facility.)

The 80 million people set to retire in the next decade need help, and no one ever wants to go to a nursing home. Home health care is more affordable and practical, and the need is great.

Home health aides are there to assist patients in managing their day-to-day tasks as well as to administer care with things like bathing, cleaning up, bandaging cuts and scrapes and even certain types of therapy. Home health care workers can also complete jobs such as doing basic cleaning duties, washing clothes, and other tasks around the home.

Crisis Counselors

If you're interested in mental health, consider becoming a crisis counselor. These workers are involved in a very specific area that is designed to help people (of any age and from any background) who have been through an emotionally exhausting, intense, or traumatic experience.

The ACA expands mental health and substance abuse insurance coverage, including preventative services. The startling number of school shootings has brought attention to the need for mental health services. While the reasoning may be misguided, the conversation, and the initiatives that usually follow public scrutiny, are important.

Physician Assistants

Physician Assistants, or "PAs" for short, are workers who aid, and are supervised by, medical practitioners in a hospital or clinic. PAs must be adept at working within teams, as they need to work closely with other practitioners and perform a multitude of duties across both preventative health care services, and clinical diagnostic work.

Physician assistants will continue to be in high demand as the aging population grows and doctors and other medical personnel struggle to provide the number of services needed.

Nursing Specialties

Nursing is a rewarding career in general, but the real money lies in specialty fields. The highest paying and most in-demand specialties are:

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: $133k
  • General Nurse Practitioner: $97k
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner: $95k
  • Pain Management Nurse: $90k
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: $90k
  • Certified Nurse Midwife: $89k
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: $84k
  • Informatics Nurse: $83k
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist: $81k
  • Nursing Administrator: $79k

Nursing specialties takes a few extra years of education, but it's a career path well worth taking, along with other medical fields...jobs that can never be outsourced and will always be in demand. Think about it.

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