The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that employment for healthcare occupations is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2014 and 2024. While the future is currently uncertain for continued federal health care reform, an increasingly aging population is one strong factor that may contribute to this growth. To take advantage of the potential career opportunities, advancing your education now is a smart idea. Two specific professions, respiratory therapists and health informatics specialists, might provide steady, lucrative vocational possibilities in the years to come.
An Aging Population Means Greater Demand for Respiratory Therapists
As people continues to age, so will their medical needs. Currently, the U.S. Department on Health and Human Services estimates that there are 46.2 million people ages 65 and older, and this comprises about 14 percent of the United States population. By the year 2060, that’s expected to increase to approximately 98 million people. This demographics shift means that more individuals could be diagnosed with respiratory disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pneumonia. Because of this, the amount of employed respiratory therapists may increase anywhere from 12 to 19 percent.
While the BLS mentions that an associate’s degree is typically needed to enter the field, advanced education beyond that level will likely be needed to secure a career. This is due to possible trends such as more data-driven clinical decisions being made and new, advanced technologies for both life support and therapy. These factors could push respiratory clinicians to seek additional training to keep up with developments in the field, and programs such as the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy at the University of Cincinatti are stepping up to meet the demand.
Health Informatics: Supporting an IT Ecosystem to Deliver Patient Care
It’s no exaggeration that information technology is part of the backbone of any industry. This is especially true in the healthcare field, with new demands being placed on IT systems in healthcare facilities and networks every year. While this is partially due to expanding legislation and regulations concerning patient information and data handling, some of the expansion is fueled by healthcare providers seeking better ways to deliver care. For professionals seeking to build and maintain these systems, a degree in health informatics may prepare them for their futures.
Many major institutions of higher learning such as UC offer master’s degrees in this field. Courses of study focus not only on regular IT networks used in care facilities, but also on specific types of technology in use such as electronic health records systems, health information exchange standards and portable medical data collection devices. More specifically, curricula focus on the science and technology behind health information technology systems, with an eye towards maintenance, management, efficiency and expansion. Graduates are needed to plan the crafting and maintenance of systems focused on patient care.
Be Ready to Compete
Remaining not only employable but in demand are wise goals to have in the next decade. Since the healthcare field is predicted to grow sharply, ensuring that you obtain new education and skills is a key factor to finding preferred options in employment in the next several years. For this reason, starting your studies now may be the best thing you can do for your professional life.