If you’re considering a health sciences career, you’ve made a smart choice. The health-care industry not only offers a multitude of exciting career pathways boasting highly competitive salaries, but is also one of the nation’s fastest growing industries due to the aging population and major changes in the health care market.
Projections from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that careers in the health sciences are expected to see substantial growth over the next decade and beyond, with an expected job growth rate of 19 percent for all occupations combined through 2024. However, when looking at individual health science occupations, the BLS expects some to double that rate over the same period.
Job growth is certainly an appealing factor for those pursuing a career in the health sciences, but there’s a more altruistic reason people choose to do so. A majority of them are driven by the rewards that come from being able to make a real difference in people’s lives every day. If you have a desire to help people, then being on the front lines to assist patients in their return to health is the ultimate payoff.
So where do you begin? It starts with deciding which of the broad range of occupations and specializations within the health sciences fits best with your goals and aspirations. The branches of the field spread far and wide to include traditional and conventional Western medicine, as well as alternative health care. Therefore, your choice of careers in the health sciences is practically endless, including jobs in five major career paths: diagnostic services, therapeutic services, support services, health informatics and biotechnology research and development.
Overwhelmed by the choices? Need some help narrowing down the list? Here are 9 of the top careers in the health sciences listed with their growth potential percentage through 2024, according to the BLS’ latest occupational outlook statistics:
Occupational Therapy Assistants – 43%
Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) help patients develop, recover and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. OTAs are directly involved in providing therapy to patients. They work under the direction of Occupational Therapists in private practices, hospitals or nursing care facilities.
Physical Therapy Assistants – 41%
Physical Therapy Assistants (PTAs) work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists either in a practice setting or in hospitals. They help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers – 24%
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers operate special medical imaging equipment to create images or to conduct tests. The images and test results help physicians assess and diagnose medical conditions. They typically work in hospitals, while others work in physicians’ offices and medical and diagnostic laboratories.
Athletic Trainers – 21%
Athletic trainers specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries and other ailments. They work in educational settings, such as colleges, universities, elementary schools and secondary schools. Others work in hospitals, fitness centers, or physicians’ offices, or for professional sports teams.
Veterinary Technologists & Technicians– 19%
Veterinary technologists and technicians perform medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to assist in diagnosing the injuries and illnesses of animals. They work in private clinics, laboratories and animal hospitals
Laboratory Technologists & Technicians – 16%
Laboratory technologists and technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances. Laboratory technologists and technicians are typically employed in hospitals. Others work in doctors’ offices or diagnostic laboratories.
Dietitians & Nutritionists – 16%
Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in the use of food and nutrition to promote health and manage disease by advising people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal. They work in many settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and cafeterias, or for state and local governments.
Radiation Therapists – 14%
Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments. They typically work in hospitals, offices of physicians and outpatient centers.
Radiologic & MRI Technologists – 9%
Radiologic technologists, also known as radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as X-rays, on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images. They work in healthcare facilities, and more than half work in hospitals.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in one of these growing health science occupations, check out the programs offered by Cleveland University-Kansas City (CU-KC). With CU-KC’s Associate’s degree in Biological Sciences or the Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology, you’ll be on the right path to success.