In today’s job market with an unemployment rate of 5.8%, many young college graduates are having trouble finding suitable work. The outlook seems bleak with sayings like “a Master’s is the new Bachelor’s degree,” permeating the college graduate stereotype. For science students looking for the best career options health care has to offer, here are the top 5 health care jobs of 2014.
- Physical Therapist
With a median salary of $79,860, physical therapists (PTs) help the injured to improve function, mobility and manage pain. PTs are given patients with chronic and acute conditions. A professional, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), degree is necessary and all states require PTs to be licensed. The field is expected to grow by 36% by 2022, especially as the baby boomer population ages. Chronic conditions that are becoming increasingly widespread in this country, such as diabetes and obesity, will add to the importance of caretakers like PTs. PTs usually work in private offices, clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. Much of their work is performed hands on, working with the patient.
- Registered Nurse
Registered nurses (RNs) receive an average wage of $65,470 per year. RNs work with other hospital staff to provide the best patient care and emotional support possible. There are three different paths to becoming a RN. Though bachelor and associate degrees in nursing are available, college graduates tend to go the route of nursing school to acquire the training needed before licensure. Employment is expected to grow by 19% by 2022 due to the emerging emphasis on preventative care in the industry, increasing rates of chronic conditions, as well as the aging baby boomer population. RNs typically work in hospitals, physician offices, home healthcare services, and skilled nursing care facilities.
Pharmacists make a median annual wage of $116,670 dispensing prescriptions and making sure the patients use these medications safely. Aspiring pharmacists must complete a 4-year professional degree and graduate as a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D). Pharmacists must also obtain a license to practice. Pharmacists work in grocery and drugstore pharmacies, as well as hospitals and clinics. Projected employment growth for pharmacists is 14%, which is the average growth rate for all occupations.
- Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who can provide primary and specialty care. APRNs make a median salary of $96,460 per year and must complete a master’s degree and pass a national certification exam. The field is projected to grow by 31% because of recent changes to health care policy and some states increasing APRN scope of practice. APRNs work in hospitals, physician offices, nursing care facilities, schools and clinics.
Dentists make an average of $145,240 per year diagnosing and treating problems associated with teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. They also encourage patients to practice consistent prevention techniques to increase oral health. Dentists must graduate from an accredited dental school and be licensed by the state. Employment of dentists is expected to increase by 16%, which is around the average growth rate of all occupations. Dentists typically work in their own practices or with other colleagues.
By: Janie Chan