5 Nursing Jobs Poised for Big Growth

Article from CareerBuilder.com

The nursing shortage often lamented by policymakers and health care professionals appears to have eased during the recession, but experts warn that demand for nurses will rise sharply in the coming years. New data from the federal government appears to bear that out, showing that the nursing field is likely to add jobs rapidly over the coming decade.

That's according to employment projections released earlier this year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Of the 30 occupations that will see the largest gain in new jobs between 2010 and 2020, six are in nursing. Registered nurses are at the very top of the list, with more new jobs projected than any other occupation. Home and personal care aides are poised for astronomical growth (around 70 percent), reflecting the large numbers of elderly people likely to need these services. 

These big gains follow the trend for the health care industry overall. The BLS projects that health care practitioners (a group that includes physicians, registered nurses, health technologists and others) will see the second-largest number of new jobs among all occupational groups: 2 million between 2010 and 2020, adding jobs at a rate of 25.9 percent. Health care support jobs (a category that includes personal care and home health aides, among others) will see the fastest growth of any occupational group: 1.4 million jobs between 2010 and 2020, at a rate of 34.5 percent.

The list below features six nursing jobs poised for major growth.

1. Registered nurses
Number of new jobs: 711,900
Growth rate: 26 percent
Overall rank (in number of new jobs created, among all occupations): 1
What they need: To complete a bachelor's degree in nursing, an associate degree in nursing or a diploma, plus pass a licensure exam
What they do: Treat and educate patients under the supervision of physicians, in a wide variety of health care settings

2. Home health aides
Number of new jobs: 706,300
Growth rate: 69.4 percent
Overall rank: 3
What they need: To complete a minimum 75-hour training program and pass a test or state certification exam
What they do: Provide basic nursing care for elderly and other needy patients in their homes

3. Personal care aides
Number of new jobs: 607,000
Growth rate: 70.5 percent
Overall rank: 4
What they need: To complete a training program
What they do: Perform duties similar to home health aides, but with a focus on household help, bathing and dressing

4. Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants
Number of new jobs: 302,000
Growth rate: 20.1 percent
Overall rank: 11
What they need: Vocational or on-the-job training, plus certification requirements that vary by state and type of health care facility
What they do: Provide routine, hands-on care in a range of health care settings such as hospitals and nursing care facilities

5. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
Number of new jobs: 168,500
Growth rate: 22.4 percent
Overall rank: 28
What they need: To complete a one-year training program and pass a licensure exam
What they do: Care for patients under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians

6. Medical assistants
Number of new jobs: 162,900
Growth rate: 30.9 percent
Overall rank: 30
What they need: To complete a one- or two-year training program, either at a community college or vocational school, or on the job
What they do: Perform a range of clinical and administrative tasks in offices of physicians and other health care practitioners

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