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The Fastest-Growing Jobs in Health Care

By: U.S. Career Institute

Health-care industry trends have been profoundly influenced by factors such as the pandemic, a shift in lifestyle choices, and an aging population. How did the pandemic impact healthcare workers? According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the COVID-19 pandemic put “extreme stress” on the health-care workforce in the United States, leading to workforce shortages, health-care worker burnout, exhaustion, and trauma. Health-care worker shortages were a major concern even prior to the pandemic, especially in certain types of health-care occupations, including primary care providers, psychiatrists, dentists, nurses, and behavioral health support staff. We owe a great debt to the immense struggles that health-care workers went through to navigate the pandemic. As we enter the new normal, there are many questions surrounding the future of health care. Is the health-care industry recovering? What is the outlook for the health-care sector? Is health care a good career path? Fortunately, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in health care is projected to grow by 13 percent from 2021 to 2023, significantly faster than the average growth of all occupations. The team at U.S. Career Institute has visualized government data on health-care employment trends here to showcase the fastest-growing health-care jobs to help determine what medical jobs will be in demand in the future. While nothing is set in stone, this can help those looking to start a new career in health care plan ahead and make informed steps toward fulfilling, lucrative, and secure employment.

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The Fastest-Growing and Fastest-Declining Industries in the United States (and Common Jobs in Those Fields) - - Infographic

What Is the Fastest-Growing Health-Care Occupation?

Here are the 27 fastest-growing careers in health care based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for 2021 to 2032:

  1. Nurse practitioner — 46%

2.      Nurse anesthetist — 40%

3.      Physician assistant — 28%

4.      Medical and health services manager — 28%

5.      Epidemiologist — 26%

6.      Occupational therapy assistant — 25%

7.      Home health and personal care aide — 25%

8.      Physical therapy assistant — 24%

9.      Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor — 22%

10.  Speech-language pathologist — 21%

11.  Massage therapist — 20%

12.  Veterinary technologist and veterinary technician — 20%

13.  Veterinarian — 19%

14.  Fitness trainer — 19%

15.  Veterinary assistant and laboratory animal caretaker — 19%

16.  Genetic counselor — 18%

17.  Physical therapist — 17%

18.  Orthotist and prosthetist — 17%

19.  Health information technologist and medical registrar — 17%

20.  Medical assistant — 16%

21.  Occupational therapist — 14%

22.  Respiratory therapist — 14%

23.  Marriage and family therapist — 14%

24.  Social and human service assistant — 12%

25.  Optometrist — 10%

26.  Audiologist — 10%

27.  Chiropractor — 10%

Why Are Nurse Practitioners in Demand? cited several factors that are contributing to the high demand for nurse practitioners, including the graying population and increase in life expectancy, the physician shortage, and the growing emphasis on preventative care. What does “graying population” mean? The term “graying of America” refers to how the U.S. population is increasing in average age overall. The Baby Boomer generation is aging, and adults are enjoying longer lives. In fact, the number of Americans ages 65 and older is anticipated to more than double over the next 40 years. By 2040, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older, which is a significant increase of the one in eight rate of 2000. This is a major factor in why health-care careers are in demand nowadays. Older Americans needs more care, and nurse practitioners are often the medical providers who help manage chronic conditions.

What Health-Care Jobs Pay the Most?

Here are the 15 highest-paying health-care jobs based on average annual salary that have also made the list for fastest-growing medical jobs:

1.      Optometrist — $124,300

2.      Nurse anesthetist and nurse midwife — $123,780

3.      Physician assistant — $121,530

4.      Nurse practitioner — $120,680

5.      Medical and health service manager — $101,340

6.      Veterinarian — $100,370

7.      Physical therapist — $95,620

8.      Occupational therapist — $85,570

9.      Genetic counselor — $80,150

10.  Speech-language pathologist — $79,060

11.  Audiologist — $78,950

12.  Epidemiologist — $78,830

13.  Orthotist and prosthetist — $75,440

14.  Chiropractor — $75,000

15.  Respiratory therapist — $61,830

What Are the Top-Paying Medical Jobs Without a Degree?

For the vast majority of medical jobs, at least a high school diploma is required. The top-paying health-care job with a high school diploma is a fitness trainer or instructor, with an average annual salary of $40,700. If a fitness-related job is not your cup of tea, social and human service assistants make slightly less, at $37,610. There are also several high-paying medical jobs without med school, including a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, physician assistant, and occupational therapist. So all in all, is health care a good career path? Absolutely! The health-care industry job outlook looks promising, and there is plenty of flexibility in how much schooling you need to earn a decent living.

The 25 Fastest-Growing Jobs in Health Care (and How Much They Pay)

Overall, health-care occupations are projected to grow 13% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average of all occupations.

Job + Average Annual Salary

Growth From 2022 to 2032

Typical Education Needed for Entry Level

Nurse Practitioners




Master's degree

Nurse Anesthetists and Nurse Midwives




Master's degree

Physician Assistants




Master's degree

Medical and Health Services Managers




Bachelor's degree





Master's degree

Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides




Associate degree

Home Health and Personal Care Aides




High school diploma or equivalent

Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides




Associate degree

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors




Bachelor's degree

Speech-Language Pathologists




Master's degree

Massage Therapists




Post-secondary non-degree award

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians




Associate degree





Doctoral or professional degree

Fitness Trainers and Instructors




High school diploma or equivalent

Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers




High school diploma or equivalent

Genetic Counselors




Master's degree

Physical Therapists




Doctoral or professional degree

Orthotists and Prosthetists




Master’s degree

Health Information Technologists and Medical Registrars




Associate degree

Medical Assistants




Post-secondary non-degree award

Occupational Therapists




Master's degree

Respiratory Therapists




Associate degree

Marriage and Family Therapists




Master's degree

Average Projected Growth for Health-Care Jobs



Social and Human Service Assistants




High school diploma or equivalent





Doctoral or professional degree





Doctoral or professional degree





Doctoral or professional degree


Related: Online Medial Assistant Associate Degree, Medical Specialties Associate Online Degree, Online Medical Assistant School, Online Medical Billing School, Online Medical Coding School, Online Medical Coding and Billing School, Online Medical Transcription Training

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