Inside Scope on Medical Truths

Donya Forst, Print Editor

   All you hear nowadays is “The health care field just keeps growing and growing,” or “Go into the medical field; you’ll never have to worry about a job.” I’ve heard this so many times, from so many different people, that the idea was impounded in my mind for many years before I made a career choice. But even now, those statements still seem to hold a strong sense of truth.

   According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of the fastest growing occupations involve the medical field, whether it be nursing or physician’s assistant or radiologic technologists. And this should not be surprising because up to 25% of the U.S. population is employed in some type of medical field.

   On average, a radiologic technologist makes $54,620 a year. This is on the low end because many technologists in the profession only require an Associate’s degree. Those with Bachelor’s degrees, which are now becoming preferred, can reach the high end of about $77,160. Add on top of that a Master’s degree in business, which this university offers, and you are set. That salary bracket, combined with an increase in jobs of 21% by 2022 makes it a prime choice for those thinking about a career in the medical field.

   Physician’s assistant is one of the most demanding, up-and-coming new jobs in the medical field. PAs are slowly taking over the role of doctors, saving doctors for more complex or complicated procedures. Now, when you go to a hospital, it is rare that you ever even see a doctor, unless you are in an extremely compromised state.

   This profession will see a 38% increase in career opportunities until 2022, growing from 86,700 to a hefty 120,000. The median annual wage for 2012 was $90,930 and likely to grow.

   Nurses are also in demand because the aging generation needs more care. Employment will increase 19% by 2022, from 2,711,500 to 3,238,400 jobs. This is more than enough of an employment increase to accommodate the many students enrolled in colleges now.

   Perhaps one of the biggest gains will be in the physical therapy profession, which is expected to increase 36% by 2022, from 204,200 to 277,700 jobs. With aging baby boomers, increased trauma and birth defects in newborns, and more sports injuries, physical therapists will be in more demand than ever before. Shortened degree programs make it easier for students to finish degree programs in a short period of time and then move to careers.

    No doubt, the number of medical professionals will expand to higher numbers than ever before due to the increased number of students enrolled in medical programs. This can pose a threat to all of those graduates who will be for a limited number of available positions.

   Even though numbers may deter some from entering the field, the high success rates and salaries prove an even greater pro to the profession. Maybe some are in it for the salary caps, but to me and I’m sure many others, the numbers do not really mean much. The ultimate decision never came down to the “safe choice” or what could be a successful career; it came down to following the heart and being able to have a meaningful career and life.

    The medical field is about so much more than just putting on a suit and tie and going to work every day, or looking at the clock every hour to see when it is time to go home. It’s about helping those in need and getting satisfaction from service. It’s about showing up to work every day prepared to save lives and having a positive impact on those lives. It’s about making memories that last. It’s about meeting people, and while changing their lives, maybe they start changing ours, too.