The beginning of a new year is a time for change, so it’s a great time to take the first steps toward reaching new goals, including starting a new career. If you’re considering making a big change in your career but aren’t sure what job is right for you, check out these healthcare careers that will be in demand in 2023!
What healthcare jobs are in demand?
The need for skilled healthcare workers is higher than ever and only expected to keep growing. Overall, jobs in healthcare are projected to grow about 13% over the next decade, adding 1.9 million new positions in the field. Some jobs that may be right for you include
- Pharmacy technician
- Medical assistant
- Sterile processing technician
- Dental assistant
- EKG technician
- Healthcare administrator
- Phlebotomy technician
- Behavioral and psychiatric technician
- Home health aide
- Health information technician
- Physical therapy aide
1. Pharmacy technician
As administering vaccinations becomes a normal part of a pharmacist’s duties, skilled pharmacy technicians will be needed to take on more responsibilities in the retail pharmacy. On a daily basis, pharmacy techs will assist the pharmacist in filling prescriptions, organizing inventory, working with patients and customers to fill prescriptions, and more.
Pharmacy technician average salary: $36,740
How to become a pharmacy technician: Pharmacy technicians need a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for the job. In some states, you don’t need any formal education to work in the field, while in others, you need to be certified or licensed. With Penn Foster’s online Pharmacy Technician Professional Training Program, you can prepare for this in-demand job in 8-12 months while also learning the skills and knowledge that can help you sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
2. Medical assistant
The need for medical assistants is projected to grow 16% over the next ten years, adding 117,800 new jobs in the field. Medical assistants work closely with patients and office staff to support physician’s and physician’s assistants, completing both administrative and clinical tasks.
Average medical assistant salary: $37,190
How to become a medical assistant: Medical assistants need at least a high school diploma or equivalent and formal training. Through Penn Foster’s Medical Assistant Career Diploma, you can learn the skills and knowledge to become an effective member of a healthcare team through flexible, online courses and a required externship. You’ll also prepare to sit for industry-recognized exams such as the American Medical Technologists (AMT) Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Certification, The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), and more.
Read more: Your Guide to Medical Assistant Duties
3. Sterile processing technician
Also known as surgical technologists, sterile processing technicians prepare and sterilize equipment for surgeries and medical procedures, maintain sterile environments in operating and procedure rooms, and ensure there are enough supplies available when needed.
Sterile processing tech salary: $48,510
How to become a sterile processing technician: In order to become one, you’ll need to complete postsecondary education and, in some states, become certified. Through our online Sterile Processing Technician Training Program, you’ll learn the duties and requirements of sterile processing technicians, fundamental practices and procedures for aseptic technique, HIPAA privacy regulations, and more. You’ll also prepare to sit for the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) Certification exam offered by the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM), the cost of which is covered in the program tuition.
Read more: What Does a Sterile Processing Tech Do?
4. Dental assistant
Dental assistants work closely with dentists and dental hygienists to assist patients, including administrative work and, depending on the state you work in, clinical tasks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 56,400 new jobs in the field each year for the next decade, offering plenty of opportunities for you to get your foot in the door at a dental office.
Dental assistant average salary: $38,660
How to become a dental assistant: Many states have different regulations on who can work in the field and what education or certification you need to do so. With Penn Foster’s Dental Assistant Training Program online, you can learn the fundamental skills needed to prepare for a job as a dental assistant while also preparing to sit for the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) exam from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
5. EKG technician
EKG technicians operate equipment that monitors, measures, and traces electrical heart activity in graphs. They play an important role in helping doctors diagnose patients and are needed in hospitals, clinics, diagnostic testing facilities, and more!
Average EKG tech salary: $53,971
How to become an EKG tech: EKG techs need at least a high school diploma to qualify for the job, as well as some formal training. A college degree isn’t required but completing a formal EKG training program like that offered by our sister school, CareerStep, can help you prepare to stand out when applying for jobs. Even better, you can become certified after completing your training, which may make a difference in how likely you are to be hired and how much you can potentially earn.
6. Healthcare administrator
Healthcare administrators oversee the day-to-day operations of healthcare facilities, working in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and more. They play an essential part in ensuring the healthcare facility is properly run and patients receive the quality of care they need to get well.
How to become a healthcare administrator: Working in healthcare administration can require a higher level of education than some other entry-level medical jobs. However, it may be possible to get your foot in the door with an Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration, like the one that’s offered by our sister school, Ashworth College. To advance your career in the field, though, you may then need to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
Opticians help patients fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, repair or replace broken glasses frames, and adjust eyewear to fit. They most often work in optometrist’s offices or retail optometry stores.
Average optician salary: $37,570
How to become an optician: Opticians need at least a high school diploma to work in the field and most need to complete some form of formal training. About half of the states also require opticians to be licensed to work, which involves sitting for and passing a certification test like the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE). A program like Penn Foster’s Optician Exam Prep Diploma can help you take the first steps toward building the skills you may need for the job, as well as preparing you to sit for the NOCE exam.
8. Phlebotomy technician
Phlebotomy technicians take blood samples from patients and prepare those samples for testing in order to help physicians diagnose illnesses and diseases. They mostly work in hospitals and clinics, though some may work to collect blood for donations. This job involves working with blood, so it isn’t for those who might not want to deal with that every day.
Average phlebotomy tech salary: $37,118
How to become a phlebotomy technician: Phlebotomy techs must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a formal phlebotomy training program. In some states, phlebotomy techs also need to be certified to work. Even in states that don’t require certification, having that credential on your resume can show employers that you’ve got the skills needed to be successful on the job and may even help you earn more.
9. Behavioral and psychiatric health technician
Behavioral and psychiatric health technicians assist doctors and nurses in caring for patients who have various mental illnesses, behavioral disorders, and developmental disorders. This involves helping the patient with things like Activities of Daily Living (ADL), self-care, and ensuring that they can follow the treatment plan prescribed by the doctor.
Average behavioral technician salary: $38,026
How to become a behavioral and psychiatric health tech: At minimum behavioral health technicians must have a high school diploma or equivalent to work in the field. Some employers may require more formal training, like completing a certificate program in behavioral and psychiatric health. Others may require an associate's or bachelor’s degree to qualify for the job.
10. Home health aide
Home health aides help patients with disabilities or chronic illnesses who may need additional help in their home. They most often work for agencies that will assign them clients they see on a regular basis in the client’s home. They help with activities of daily living, making sure patients take their prescribed medications, and other care and assistance as needed. While working as a home health aide doesn’t offer the highest starting salary, it is, however, an ultimately rewarding and very in-demand job. Right now, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 25% increase in the need for home health aides, which means around 711,100 new jobs in the field are expected each year for the next decade.
Average home health aide salary: $29,430
How to become a home health aide: Home health aides need at least a high school diploma or equivalent and on-the-job training. For those who want to work for certified home health or hospice agencies, formal training as a home health aide is required.
11. Health information technician
Health information technicians, sometimes called medical records specialists, work closely with patient healthcare documents. Health information techs can work in medical billing and coding and electronic records management.
How to become a health information technician: The requirements to become a health information tech can vary based on what sort of position you want to pursue. Those working in most jobs in the field do require at least a high school diploma or equivalent and some formal training. Depending on your role, you may also want to become certified in order to stand out when applying for jobs and potentially earn a higher starting salary.
12. Physical therapy aide
Physical therapy aides assist the therapist and physical therapy assistants in indirectly helping patients. Involved in the more administrative side of physical therapy, they are often more responsible for administrative work like scheduling appointments or tasks like moving patients and setting up equipment. While physical therapy aides don’t have a high starting salary, they are very much in demand! The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 24% increase in jobs in the field, which means that there will be plenty of opportunities available to find a position.
Physical therapy aide salary: $29,200
How to become a physical therapy aide: A high school diploma or equivalent is required to work as a physical therapy aide. Most can then learn the job with on-the-job training, though earning a physical therapy aide diploma can help you stand out when you’re applying for jobs.
Read more: Your Guide to a Midlife Career Change
Which medical field will be the most in-demand in the future?
While many healthcare jobs are currently in demand, those that provide support to physicians and other healthcare providers are likely to be the most in demand. There’s a huge need for physical therapy aides, home health aides, and medical assistants.
What is the easiest medical field to get into?
One of the easiest medical jobs to get into is currently home health aide roles. There’s a huge demand for home health aides and, for the most part, you don’t need a lot of education or training to qualify for the job.
Other easy fields in healthcare to get into include
- Phlebotomy technician
- Physical therapy aide
- Dental assistant
What is the easiest highest paying medical job?
The highest paying medical jobs are usually anesthesiologists, physicians, and surgeons. However, if you don’t want to dedicate at least a decade to schooling, one of the highest paying jobs in the medical field you can get that you can train for in under a year is EKG technician. You can complete most EKG training programs in around 6 months.
What is the most fun medical career?
Healthcare careers can come with a lot of stress and “fun” can vary depending on what you, personally, like to do. For example, if you like directly working with patients, want to be able to talk to a variety of different people every day, and like working with a team, becoming a medical assistant could be a fun medical career.
Read more: Going Back to School as an Adult (FAQs)
HOW TO DECIDE WHICH HEALTHCARE CAREER IS RIGHT FOR YOU
While there are plenty of healthcare jobs that are in demand right now, not every one may be the right fit for you. If you’re not sure which healthcare career path to pursue, ask yourself these questions.
- Do you want to work directly with patients? Not everyone is a people person and working with people in healthcare can sometimes be stressful. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to work directly with patients, administrative roles or behind the scenes roles could be your best bet. Working as a sterile processing technician, for example, allows you to make a difference without having to work with patients.
- Are you interested in more clinical or administrative work? Do you prefer paperwork over administering vaccines and taking vitals? Or do you want to be heavily involved in clinical work? Jobs like medical assistant or dental assistant will have you working directly with patients in a clinical capacity, while becoming a pharmacy technician may involve more customer service and administrative work.
- Do you want to pursue certification? Many healthcare jobs require certification to qualify for them. However, there are also many that don’t! Adding certifications to your resume is always a good idea, even if they’re not required, but if you don’t want to sit for long exams, your best bet is to pursue a career in which you don’t need to. Pharmacy technicians don’t often need to be certified to work in the role, so that may be a great option for you.
Read more: How to Protect Yourself from a Recession
Start your healthcare career with Penn Foster
Penn Foster’s online healthcare training programs can help you take the next steps toward an in-demand career in the new year. Whether you want to work with patients or behind the scenes, our flexible, online courses can help you prepare for career success. To learn more or enroll, reach out to our expert admissions team at 1-888-427-6500!