Do you have a passion for serving others? Do you want to work in a fast-paced career that provides high-quality care? In 2024, the healthcare industry is expected to continue growing, primarily driven by an aging population, a greater need for healthcare services, and the likely need to replace current workers as they reach retirement age.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects healthcare-related careers to grow at a rapid rate, requiring an additional influx of over 1.8 million new healthcare workers from 2022-2032.
Here are some of the fastest-growing healthcare jobs and the educational background you need to get started in 2024:
1.Nurse Practitioners (NP)
Job outlook: 45% increase from 2022-2032 (BLS)
Average salary: $124,680 per year (BLS)
Education requirement: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Program length: NP program length varies by curriculum/specialty.
Nurse practitioners represent one of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation, and the U.S. News and World Report ranked nurse practitioners as #1 in Best Healthcare Jobs and #2 in 100 Best Jobs in 2023.
With your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), you have the opportunity to advance your career in a specialized nursing practice. Although responsibilities can vary by specialization, NPs generally provide advanced care to patients such as diagnosing and treating a variety of illnesses, prescribing medication and implementing treatment practices. They work in a variety of nursing environments such as hospitals, physician offices and outpatient care centers.
Herzing University offers five specialized MSN programs for students interested in becoming a specialized Nurse Practitioner (NP).
- Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
- Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Pediatric Care Nurse Practitioner (PCNP)
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
We also may accept approved transfer credits, stackable credentials, and adaptive learning technology to build a faster pathway to a higher education.
2. Medical and Health Service Managers
Job outlook: 28% increase from 2022-2032 (BLS)
Average salary: $127,980 per year (BLS)
Education requirement: Varies by employer — typically a bachelor’s degree
Program length: Varies by degree choice and experience level
Medical and health services managers, also called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators direct, plan and coordinate health services by managing a healthcare practice. They are responsible for staying on top of all the changes in the industry, as well as communicating and implementing these changes to smoothly facilitate the business of healthcare. Typically found in hospitals, physician offices, or nursing and residential care facilities, they serve as pivotal figures ensuring the efficient delivery of healthcare services.
Most healthcare managers have at least a bachelor’s degree, but some facilities prefer or require a master’s degree. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from Herzing in as little as 32 months while earning credits toward a master’s degree through Herzing’s dual credit option.
A Master of Science in Healthcare Administration can be completed online in as few as 16 months. A Master of Science in Healthcare Administration equips you with the skills and knowledge to better qualify for upper-level administrative jobs.
3. Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
Job outlook: 26% increase from 2022-2032 (BLS)
Average salary: $58,520 per year (BLS)
Education requirement: Associate Degree
Program length on average: Less than two years (as few as 16 months)
Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. Opportunities are best for physical therapist assistants who hold an associate degree and are licensed.
PTAs work with patients who have injuries or health conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. They provide hands-on therapy, observe and document patient progress and implement treatment plans under the supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs typically work in health practitioner offices or hospitals.
To become a PTA, you will need to earn an associate degree from an accredited PTA program like the one offered at Herzing University, which can be completed in as little as 16 months. You will also need to take the National Examination for Physical Therapist Assistants (NPTE) to be a licensed PTA to work in the U.S.
4. Medical Assistants
Job outlook: 14% increase from 2022-2032 (BLS)
Average salary: $40,700 per year (BLS)
Education requirement: College diploma, or associate degree
Program length: 10-20 months
Becoming a medical assistant is one of the fastest ways to start a healthcare career. Medical assistants generally begin with a postsecondary degree such as a diploma or associate degree in medical assisting although requirements vary by state and employer. You could complete your diploma in medical assisting from Herzing in as little as 10-12 months and your associate degree in medical assisting in as few as 20 months.
The duties and responsibilities of a medical assistant vary based on the role and the employer’s needs. Many medical assistants will carry out both administrative and clinical tasks during their day-to-day responsibilities. Generally, these responsibilities include recording patient information, measuring vital signs, scheduling patient appointments and helping physicians with patient examinations.
5. Dental Hygienists
Job outlook: 7% increase from 2022-2032 (BLS)
Average salary: $84,860 per year (BLS)
Education requirement: Associate or Bachelor Degree
Program length: Usually 3 years
Dental hygienists are required to obtain an associate’s degree in dental hygiene, although some opt for a bachelor's degree for additional academic depth and career opportunities. At Herzing University, you can complete your degree in as few as 36 months. Students gain the fundamental knowledge and skills to be prepared for medical emergencies in dentistry, dental management and technologies, general and oral pathology, principles of dental radiography, and much more.
Dental hygienists play an important role in oral health by conducting examinations for signs of conditions like gingivitis and delivering preventive care, encompassing oral hygiene practices. The specific tasks performed by hygienists can differ based on the regulations of the state and the particular setting in which they practice.
You can begin to make an impact in 2024 by pursuing a healthcare career that allows you to directly support your community during this anticipated and critical healthcare shortage. Herzing University stands as your dedicated partner, offering flexible programs designed to prepare you with the knowledge, experience and confidence to flourish in a position you love. Connect with our team today to get started.
*All Herzing University program approvals vary by location.