But where will those jobs arise? What will they be? And how soon will they be created?
To answer these questions, we must consider a variety of factors, say experts Dr. Saul Wischnitzer and Edith Wischnitzer, co-authors of the recently released book “Top 100 Health-Careers,” (Jist $24.95). They tell us the validity of employment projections in health care depends on the state of the economy, geographic location, technological advances and changes in existing facilities to meet population changes and explain them below.
Health services employers are unevenly distributed in this country. As a result, there are job opportunities in some areas and scarcities in others. There is a shortage of health-care professionals in both rural and inner-city areas—even though rural areas are under-populated and inner-city areas are overpopulated. Population shifts due to changes in economic opportunities also affect the number of job opportunities. For example, when people began flocking to the West Coast and Sun Belt states, thousands of new job openings were created for health-care workers.
The time of diagnosing and treating practitioners is both valuable and costly. Thus, there has been a drive to reassign certain routine tasks to suitably trained and qualified allied health workers. As a result, workers such as physician assistants and dental hygienists are in high demand. With the restructuring of the medical profession under managed care, the use of physician assistants in a wide variety of settings is increasing significantly.
Modern technology has created many career opportunities for health-care personnel. Early in the 20th century, for example, the use of x rays for diagnostic purposes virtually created the field of radiology and the need for qualified technologists and technicians. In the later part of the 20th century, the development of CAT scans; MRIs and ultrasound equipment resulted in even more new career opportunities. Today’s advances in genetic screening could lead to new careers down the road.
Facility and Service Expansion
Health care is undergoing a major restructuring because of the expansion of HMOs, which put an increased emphasis on primary care and preventative medicine. As a result, the family practice specialty has grown, creating the need for support personnel. On the other hand, cost-cutting efforts on the part of the federal government and HMOs will hold down job opportunities in other fields. However, increased pressure for services by the growing elderly population has generated strong demand for home-care services in various categories. The lower cost of providing health care at home rather than at impatient facilities has driven the need for personnel qualified to provide such services. The overall outlook for future funding in this field, however, is uncertain.