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Career Trends in Allied Health – Spotlight on Fast-Growing Healthcare Jobs

Many discussions about growth in the healthcare field focus on the need for more physicians, physical therapists, and nurses due to an aging population and a higher percentage of Americans with insurance. Those same trends mean that employers in the United States need more people in allied health professions, too. Here are profiles of three fast-growing jobs that do not require individuals to have a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree.

Medical Assistants

Medical Assistants (or MAs) continue to enjoy outstanding job growth. These people assist with clinical and administrative duties in physicians’ offices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of jobs to increase 23% by 2024. This field will experience growth well above the 7% for all occupations.

Compensation varies based on the location of your job. At $41,340, MAs in Alaska have the highest annual mean wage. MAs in Eau Claire, WI earn more than Medical Assistants in any other metropolitan area. The hourly mean wage of $23.82 is well above national mean wage of $15.79 per hour.

There are specialties within the Medical Assistant field. MAs interested in the field of podiatry can earn a CCPMA (Certified Clinical Podiatric Medical Assistant) that qualifies them for certain positions within the field of podiatry. A survey conducted by SalaryExpert found that Podiatric Assistants earned an average salary of over $41,000/year.

Diagnostic Medical Sonagraphers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts jobs for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers will grow by 24% from 2014-2024. These individuals operate imaging equipment such as ultrasound machines in order to gather information so physicians can make the most accurate diagnosis. Nationally, these professions have a median income of over $69,000/year.

These allied health jobs typically require an Associate’s degree in order to gain entry-level employment. Many employers require their imaging employees to earn a certification. Hospitals employ a supermajority of people (68%) in this profession.

The government considers Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians an important specialization within the diagnostic imaging field. The median earnings are $26.71/HR, while those in the 25th percentile make $18.12/HR, and people in the 75th percentile earn $35.12/HR. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians in the District of Columbia earn the highest mean annual wage $79,150 for any state or district, while San Francisco is the top paying metropolitan area ($105,980 mean annual wage) for this profession.

Occupational Therapy Assistants And Aides

When people need to improve or regain daily living skills, they often work with Occupational Therapy Aides and Occupational Therapy Assistants. This field has red-hot job growth. The federal government predicts that the number of occupational therapy aides will jump 31% by 2024, and occupational therapy assistant positions will grow an eye-popping 43% from 2014-2024.

Unlike medical assistants or imaging professionals, occupational therapy aides and assistants work in a variety of healthcare settings. Occupational therapy assistants generally must earn an Associate’s degree and license or registration, and aides typically have a high school diploma and job training. While both professions work under the direction of an Occupational Therapist, an assistant is more involved in delivering therapy while aides handle support activities, such as patient transport.

The differences in responsibilities, minimum education requirements, and licensing translate into big earning differences between these two professions. The median earnings for aides are only $13.62/HR, while the median income for assistants is $28.37/HR. Occupational therapy aides earn the most in the state of Florida and the San Diego, CA metro area. Occupational therapy assistants in Texas and the Las Vegas metro area make the highest incomes.