Find out how you can prepare for a career in this in-demand field.
A noticeable pattern has developed in the health care industry.
Workers keep getting hired.
Health care providers added 24,000 new jobs in October 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, while averaging an increase of 20,000 jobs per month over the past year.
Health care's hot track record for hiring isn't a recent occurrence. It's actually part of a much more long-term trend, says John Canally, an economist and investment strategist at Boston-based LPL Financial.
"Health care added 700,000 jobs from December 2007, when the recession started, to October 2010," says Canally. "No other job sector did that."
Looking for a stable career with a variety of education options? Keep reading to see how you can prepare for a hot career in health care.
Career #1: Medical Assistant
Medical assistants with administrative expertise help keep doctor's offices and clinics running smoothly. Those with clinical backgrounds do everything from taking vital signs to sterilizing medical instruments.
Why it's hot: Americans are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. That means more patients and more opportunities for medical assistants. In fact, the profession is projected to add nearly 164,000 medical assisting jobs between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS.
What it pays (on average): Medical assistants have an average salary of $29,450, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.*
Career #2: Dental Assistant
Dental assisting is a profession tailor-made for friendly people with a knack for putting others at ease. During procedures, they work alongside dentists to handle equipment and assist with vital tasks.
Why it's hot: What's not to smile about in this career? Job opportunities are flourishing, partly due to a greater emphasis on preventative dental care. Over 100,000 new dental assisting jobs are expected to be created through 2018, according to the BLS.
What it pays (on average): Dental assistant earnings average at about $34,000 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Career #3: Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians provide a helping hand to licensed pharmacists by preparing medications, counting tablets, labeling bottles, and providing customer service.
Why it's hot: Over 93,000 new pharmacy techs are expected to receive jobs between 2008 and 2018. This growth is due in part to the fact that our elderly population - who may have more prescriptions - is increasing.
What it pays (on average): The average annual salary for a pharmacy technician is $28,940, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Career #4: Medical Records Technician
Technicians in the health care field assemble patient records, medical histories, and test results for service providers.
Why it's hot: As our population continues to expand, more medical technicians are needed to handle an ever-increasing amount of tests, treatments, and medical procedures. Medical records technician job opportunities are expected to grow by more than 35,000 during the 10-year period ending in 2018.
How to prepare: Get an associate's degree in medical records technology to put you in the running for entry-level work as a medical records technician.
What it pays (on average): Medical records technicians have an average yearly salary of $33,880, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Career #5: Medical Transcriptionist
When physicians and medical professionals need to communicate important information, they turn to medical transcriptionists who translate doctor's notes into medical reports and other files.
Why it's hot: A large percentage of medical transcriptionists work in hospitals, but there will be an increased need for their work in editing transcripts taken by speech recognition systems. Close to 12,000 new medical transcriptionists are expected to get hired through 2018, according to the BLS.
How to prepare: Want to pursue this career? Consider earning a medical transcription certificate or an associate's degree in medical transcription.
What it pays (on average): The average yearly salary in this field is $33,350, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Career #6: Registered Nurse (RN)
Even in a massive industry like health care, the impact that the nursing profession has on the job market is substantial. RNs held some 2.6 million jobs in 2008 - mostly in hospitals - and the opportunities for work continue to rise.
Why it's hot: Technological advancements in patient care and a growing interest in preventative health measures are accelerating the need for new nurses. Nearly 600,000 new nursing jobs are expected to open between 2008 and 2018, according to the Department of Labor.
How to prepare: One of the best aspects of breaking into the nursing profession is the variety of education options available. Obtain a certificate, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree in nursing to get your career going.
What it pays (on average): RNs have an average annual salary of $66,530, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Career #7: Medical and Health Services Manager
Health care providers rely on administrative managers to lead the complex business of running hospitals, clinics, and various patient facilities. Managers are involved in everything from developing reports and budgets to spearheading community outreach programs. Their job is crucial to the well-being of employees and patients alike.
Why it's hot: Management jobs in doctor's offices and clinics are expanding as health care services broaden outside of hospitals. According to the Department of Labor, the number of new medical and health services managers will grow by more than 45,000 over the 10-year period ending in 2018.
How to prepare: Get your foot in the door by earning a bachelor's degree in health care administration.
What it pays (on average): The average annual pay for a medical and health services manager is $90,970, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
*Average annual salaries as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2009.