The Health Care support field is predicted to be one of the fastest-growing job segments in the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, growing 23.2 percent by 2026. There will be plenty of opportunities for those interested in a career in health care support, with jobs such as dental hygienist, physical therapist assistant, diagnostic medical sonographer and massage therapist.
These professionals often work under the supervision of a physician, for example, but their training is typically just as extensive. If you want to be a part of this fast-growing job sector, check out our full list of the Best Health Care Support Jobs below.
10.Home Health Aide
Home health aides do more than sweep floors and wash clothes for patients unable to complete chores by themselves. In some instances, they meticulously administer care that can range from patching cuts and scrapes to bathing clients. These workers spend so much time with their patients that, in many instances, they become like family members.
Projected Jobs: 425,600
Median Salary: $22,600
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
radiologic technologists perform medical imaging exams and administer radiation therapy treatments. With the help of various imaging technologies, these professionals take pictures of a patient’s body for radiologists, who will then interpret the images.
Radiologic technologists often specialize in a particular examination technique, such as mammography or bone densitometry. These professionals can also assist oncology teams in delivering radiation therapy to cancer patients. Most radiologic technologists are employed at hospitals, physicians’ offices and in medical and diagnostic laboratories.
Projected Jobs: 25,200
Median Salary: $57,450
Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
8.Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational therapy assistants help people get back into the routine of living. The everyday tasks that most of us take for granted – getting dressed or brushing our teeth, for instance – are an occupational therapy assistant’s crowning achievements.
But what’s the difference between an occupational therapist and an occupational therapy assistant? Michele Luther-Krug, an occupational therapy assistant working for Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, gives a good explanation: “An OTA provides treatment according to goals written by the OT in the plan of care.” So, it’s a collaborative effort, with the occupational therapist taking the lead.
Medical secretaries manage the daily ebb and flow of patients through a doctor’s office. Whether they greet you upon arrival or work behind the scenes, ensuring shot records are in order, scanning insurance cards and collecting co-payments, these professionals manage a fast-paced and often hectic environment.
Medical secretaries may also assist with medical reports, take medical histories, arrange hospitalization and order surgical or medical supplies, in addition to answering phones and directing patients.
Projected Jobs: 129,100
Median Salary: $33,730
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
6.Personal Care Aide
Personal care aides assist people with chronic diseases, physical disabilities, and mental ailments by helping them prepare meals, get dressed in the morning and go about their daily tasks. Without the assistance of a personal care aide, many of these often elderly people would be unable to complete the tasks of basic living.
Compassion is a requirement for anyone interested in this line of work. “You have to have a strong interest in caring for others and an ability to be very patient and understanding,” says Lisa Gurgone, executive director of the Home Care Aide Council in Massachusetts.
Projected Jobs: 754,000
Median Salary: $21,920
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
A medical assistant’s job is a mix of traditional office work, including manning the front desk, answering phones and filing insurance forms, as well as hands-on tasks, such as drawing blood and preparing it for lab tests, administering injections and making sure medical histories are accurately recorded. More specialized roles include assisting ophthalmologists or optometrists with basic vision tests and helping patients learn to insert, remove and care for contact lenses.
A routine visit to the doctor is really a visit with an entire team, including a growing number of medical assistants. Medical assistants are likely the first and last faces you’ll see during any medical appointment, either in your doctor’s office or at a larger medical organization.
Projected Jobs: 184,600
Median Salary: $31,540
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
Employing their unique set of tools – “magic hands” and a “magic touch” – massage therapists relieve pain, reduce stress, unwind bound-up muscles and just plain make people feel better. With more than 80 types of treatments, massage therapists have many different ways to deliver this relief.
Massage therapists can specialize in deep-tissue, acupressure, reflexology, orthopedic, sports massage, and other areas. Often, massage therapists become experts in several modalities, all of which require specific skills and techniques.
Projected Jobs: 37,700
Median Salary: $39,860
Unemployment Rate: 1.0%
3.Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
A diagnostic medical sonographer could be answering the question “Is it a boy or a girl?” as well as a host of other life-changing medical questions with the help of ultrasound technology. Beyond babies, sonograms are used to help diagnose other medical conditions by creating images of body organs and tissues.
These professionals include musculoskeletal sonographers, who specialize in creating images of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints; neuro-sonographers, who focus on the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord; abdominal sonographers, who capture images of the abdominal cavity as well as nearby organs like the kidney, liver, and pancreas;
Projected Jobs: 15,600
Median Salary: $69,650
Unemployment Rate: 1.1%
2.Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical therapists generally examine a patient and prescribe a plan of care. It’s the job of the physical therapist assistant to carry out that plan. Their work can include manually maneuvering a patient’s body for different messages or stretches prescribed to relieve damages incurred by disease or injury. Or they might explain different exercises and observe the patients while they do them. They might also use different equipment or machines to help with therapy.
More than a decade ago, Chris Garland’s mother underwent ACL surgery. In the days that followed, Garland took her mother to physical therapy appointments. “I sat back and watched,”
Projected Jobs: 27,200
Median Salary: $56,610
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
Dental hygienists will clean a patient’s teeth, removing tartar, stains, and plaque as they brush, floss and scrape. Dental hygienists are also involved in educating patients on the best ways to brush and floss teeth, as well as which products to use.
The majority of the more than 200,000 dental hygienists work in dental offices alongside dentists. Think of a dental hygienist as an insurance agent. “You see dentists when you have a problem,” says Kelli Swanson Jaecks, president of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. “But you see dental hygienists for preventative health care.”
Projected Jobs: 40,900
Median Salary: $72,910
Unemployment Rate: 0.5%