The Future of Allied Health
As the industry expands, it is expected to create a shortage of vital healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses. However, it will also prompt an increase in demand for allied health professionals like medical assistants, athletic trainers and physician assistants. Allied health includes a wide variety of healthcare professionals outside of nursing, dentistry and medicine. Oftentimes, these individuals can make healthcare more affordable and effective, especially during a time when the nation lacks a sufficient number of physicians and nurses.
Baby Boomers Driving Allied Health Growth
Driving the growth of the allied health industry will be the 80 million members of the baby boomer generation, who are now beginning to reach retirement age. As these individuals age and leave their jobs in healthcare, it will create a huge number of openings in the industry.
The advancements in healthcare will also drive the need for more allied health professionals. Today, medical care is far more advanced than it was only decades ago, which has increased the demand for specialized caretakers, specifically those who specialize in allied health.
Growth in Allied Health Specialty Fields
For example, whereas in the past individuals might go to a regular physician to check their hearing, they now have the option of visiting an audiologist. This specialized member of the allied health industry is trained specifically to examine patients’ hearing. According to the BLS, demand for these employees will grow by 37% through 2020, much faster than the average career growth rate of all occupations.
Still, there are other factors that will increase the need for allied health professionals in specific fields. Nutritionists, for instance, will see a 20% increase in jobs through 2020 as the nation places a greater importance on wellness and strives to reduce its high obesity rate. Physical therapists, on the other hand, are expected to see a 39% job growth because of the increasing number of surgeries conducted in the U.S. Frequently, people who undergo surgery visit a physical therapist afterwards to ensure a smooth and quick recovery.
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