These are the 10 health care jobs with the greatest growth potential over the next decade
The field is big-time expansion, which gives you a strong chance of landing one of these jobs.
Health care jobs are hot. And the numbers from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—which projects growth over the course of the 10-year period 2016 to 2026—show it’s only going to get hotter.
While the average change in employment across all positions in all industries is expected to be 7% through 2026, this list shows the demand is much greater in health care, which is poised to grow by a whopping 18%—that's 2.4 million new jobs, more than any of the other occupational groups. This growth is fueled largely by an aging population that increases the demand for health care services.
So if you’re looking for a health care occupation that will still be roaring into 2026 and beyond, start with this list.
Home health aides
Expected growth through 2026: 41%
What you'd do: Home health aides help older adults or other individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities to perform the tasks of daily life. In some instances, they can assist with administration of medication and check and record vital signs under direction from a nurse.
What you'd need: There are no formal educational requirements for this position.
What you'd make: $23,130 per year
Expected growth through 2026: 37%
What you'd do: Physician assistants diagnose and treat patients in much the same way as doctors, under a physician’s supervision and in coordination with nurses and other health professionals. Because of new ACA regulations, there has been a major push for patients to seek care outside of hospital settings, says Kyle Mattice, president of health services at The Execu|Search Group, headquartered in New York City. “This trend, combined with the overall shortage of physicians, has sparked tremendous growth in the demand for physician assistants at outpatient and ambulatory care centers,” he says.
What you'd need: PAs are required to have at least a master’s degree and a professional license.
What you'd make: $104,860 per year
Nurse anesthetists, midwives and nurse practitioners
Expected growth through 2026: 31%
What you'd do: Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners are a specialized level of nurses referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). They respectively provide care to patients undergoing anesthesia, to pregnant women before and during childbirth, or across an entire range of ages from newborns to the elderly in a primary care capacity.
What you'd need: Advanced practice registered nurses are required to have a master’s degree in their area of specialization, as well as a professional license. They must also pass a national certification exam.
What you'd make: $110,930 per year
Physical therapy assistants/aides
Expected growth through 2026: 30%
What you'd do: Physical therapist assistants, sometimes called PTAs, and physical therapist aides help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain. They work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists.
What you'd need: Physical therapist assistants need an associate’s degree from an accredited program to enter the profession, and all states require them to be licensed or certified. Physical therapist aides usually have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training.
What you'd make: $46,920 per year
Expected growth through 2026: 29%
What you'd do: Genetic counselors help people understand genetic diagnoses and disorders, as well as the tests that are available to determine likelihood of those disorders. The Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minnesota, says a new emphasis on “personalized” medicine stemming from advances in genomic science is one of the main drivers of demand for genetic counselors.
What you'd need: Genetic counselors need a master’s degree in genetics or genetics counseling and board certification.
What you'd make: $67,500 per year
Expected growth through 2026: 29%
What you'd do: Medical assistants work in doctor's offices, hospitals, and other health care facilities to record and maintain patients' health history and personal information. They also assist doctors with exams, take patients' blood pressure, and may administer injections or medications. Some administrative duties (such as scheduling) may also be part of the job.
What you'd need: You can enter the field with a high school diploma and learn on the job, but many medical assistants complete a certification program.
What you'd make: $32,480 per year
Occupational therapy assistants/aides
Expected growth through 2026: 28%
What you'd do: Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop or, recover the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients; occupational therapy aides typically perform support activities. Both assistants and aides work under the direction of occupational therapists. As people live longer, there will be an increased need for long-term rehabilitative services to increase quality of life, says Mandy Chamberlain, occupational therapist and founder of SeniorsFlourish.com based in New Castle, Colorado. “People will be living with chronic conditions longer and because they are living longer, they will have a higher chance of acute processes such as stroke and heart attack, which will necessitate occupational therapy.”
What you'd need: Occupational therapy assistants need an associate’s degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program, and in most states, they must be licensed. Occupational therapy aides typically have a high school diploma or equivalent.
What you'd make: $56,690 per year
Expected growth through 2026: 28%
What you'd do: Physical therapists, or PTs, are professionals in the health care industry who diagnose and treat people of all ages who have medical problems or injuries. These ailments often limit their capability to move and perform everyday activities. As a PT your main goal will be to help restore patient’s function, alleviate their pain, and help prevent future injury or disability through administering physical therapy programs.
What you'd need: You are required to complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The first step is getting your bachelor’s degree and then enrolling in a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.
What you'd make: $86,850 per year
Find physical therapist jobs on Monster.
Expected growth through 2026: 26%
What you’d do: Massage therapists treat clients by using touch to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. With their touch, therapists relieve pain, help heal injuries, improve circulation, relieve stress, increase relaxation, and aid in the general wellness of clients.
What you’d need: Massage therapists typically complete a postsecondary education program of 500 or more hours of study and experience, although standards and requirements vary by state or other jurisdictions. Most states regulate massage therapy and require massage therapists to have a license or certification. Check out this massage therapist sample resume.
What you’d make: $39,990 per year
Find massage therapist jobs on Monster.
Expected growth through 2026: 25%
What you'd do: Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research or blood donations.
What you'd need: Almost all employers look for phlebotomists who have earned a professional certificate, according to the OOH.
What you'd make: $33,670 per year
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