dental assistant helping dentist.

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 2022!

What healthcare jobs are in demand?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare jobs were in demand. Now, 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 16% over the next decade, adding 2.6 million new positions in the field. In fact, there are many in-demand healthcare jobs that you can train for in less than a year. Some jobs that may be right for you include

  • 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. 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).
  • Medical assistant. The need for medical assistants is projected to grow 18% over the next ten years, adding 720,900 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. 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. You can complete your online medical assistant classes in as little as 8-12 months.
  • 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. With a projected 109,700 new jobs expected to be added to the field in the next decade, becoming a sterile processing tech can offer plenty of opportunities to start a career in the medical industry. 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. You can complete this course in as little as 7-11 months.
  • 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 330,200 new jobs in the field by 2030, offering plenty of opportunities for you to get your foot in the door at a dental office. 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). You can complete this program in as little as 5-9 months.
Read more: Your Guide to a Midlife Career Change  

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!