Health Care Jobs Now and Into the Future

by Lynn Wallis

November 24, 2020

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, five out of the 20 fastest-growing industries in the nation from 2019 to 2029 are in the health care and social assistance sectors. These sectors include individual and family services, home health care services, outpatient care services, office of other health practitioners, and other ambulatory health care services.

The major factors contributing to the projected increase of health care and social assistance jobs include:

  • Increased demand for care of the aging baby boomer population
  • Longer life expectancies
  • Growth in the number of people with chronic health conditions
Oregon’s Health Care Industry and Occupational Projections 2019-2029

Industry Projections

Oregon’s industry projections show that the healthcare and social assistance industry is expected to grow by 14.5 percent between 2019 and 2029, adding 42,800 new jobs – much faster than the 8.6 percent growth for all industries.

Occupational Projections

Many of the fastest growing occupations are in health care as new technology emerges and demand for services grows. The Oregon Employment Department estimates health care occupations will grow by 14.5 percent, adding 24,527 new jobs in the next decade. Over this period, replacement openings for health care workers who retire or move into other occupations are expected to be more than five times as high at 135,055 jobs.
Health Care Jobs of the Future

Health care is a rapidly changing industry. The industry is consistently on the cutting edge of new technology, new research, and rapid innovation. Technology and demand for services is transforming the industry. Health care will continue to incorporate many new technologies like expanded electronic records, robotic surgeries, and prosthetics you can move with your mind.

One medical advancement that is gaining momentum is telemedicine. This advancement is a tool to provide virtual care to underserved areas and places where demand for specialists is especially high. Telemedicine can also be used to monitor patients with chronic illnesses and save lives. The chairman and founder of InTouch Health, Yulun Wang, explains that telemedicine inserts a layer of technology between physician and patient, which can be used to seamlessly insert sensors and computational algorithms that provide a more comprehensive and enabling way to diagnose and treat patients.

With healthcare constantly evolving, many jobs in healthcare did not exist just a year ago and a number of new occupations are currently being created. Here is a selection of six healthcare jobs that may in high demand in the near future according to Forbes, a global media company:

1. Reconstructive Surgery 3D Printing Specialist
Medical professionals are beginning to use 3D printing to improve their practice and offer more customized health care options for their patients. The future of the health care industry will require design engineers and specialists who can create 3D reconstructive molds and models. There will be high demand for health care professionals who can maintain and upkeep all of the equipment.

2. Virtual Hospital Manager
The nation is seeing a rise of virtual hospitals where a hospital facility has a number of staff on board but no beds. An example is Mercy Virtual, which is the world’s first hospital facility dedicated entirely to telehealth. This hospital is a 125,000-square-foot facility with 330 staff members and all patients are managed virtually via telehealth-based approaches. In the future, similar facilities will need dedicated mangers who are well versed in electronic transmission, ethics and other aspects associated with delivering health care virtually.

3. Precision Medicine Compounding Pharmacist
In the near future, patients could be treated with precision medicine as a norm based on their individual characteristics. This could make bulk pharmaceutical drugs eventually obsolete. Compounding pharmacists will oversee robots that take care of the process by providing them with the right information about the patient’s genetics and individual characteristics defined by medical imaging and analytics.

4. Epigenetic Counselors
Epigenetics is the study of how a person’s behavior and environment can cause changes that affect the way a person’s genes work. As our understanding of this linkage improves, epigenetic counselors will educate adults and the younger generation to make the right choices to ensure healthier lives.

5. Companion Robot Technician
Science is developing robots that can enable elder or disabled persons to lead a self-determined, independent life. Companion robot technicians concentrate on specialized types of robot companions and help design, test, install, maintain, troubleshoot, and fix robots and automation control systems.

6. Telemedicine Nurse
One of the futuristic health care careers already here is telemedicine nursing. This occupation is one recent advance that really highlights how quickly telemedicine is shaping the future of the health care industry. Being a telemedicine nurse means that you will coordinate with both patients and other health care professionals to routinely check in with patients and patient family members, and then relay important information to other health care professionals monitoring the patient’s care. Telemedicine nurses will have a significant impact in monitoring the care and interacting with patients in areas where it is difficult to receive care in a physical location.

What It All Means

Over the next few decades, innovations like telemedicine and virtual reality will vastly improve the health care experience for patients and providers. With all the progress made in health innovation these days – advances in surgical robotics, virtual reality therapies and diagnostic tools – it is easy to picture the hospital of 2050 as a place where exam rooms look like a scene from the Jetsons, artificial intelligence take the place of practitioners, and every instrument connects to the cloud.  New occupations in health care will surely need to be created to respond to this ongoing demand for services.

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