In the mid-1940s, America had just secured victory in World War II and the men and women who had fought overseas in Europe and Asia were coming home. In the years that followed, the American economy was stronger than ever before as our country helped supply the rest of the free world with the goods and products they needed to rebuild their countries. Out of this economic vigor, the middle class was effectively born, and people started to get married and have lots and lots of babies. In fact, for nearly twenty years, birth rates continually rose, which was known as the baby boom. So what does this have to do with healthcare employment decades later? Well, these so-called baby boomers are at an age that requires more frequent medical care, putting a tremendous burden on the industry’s infrastructure. In short, our country is facing a situation where we’re going to need all of the medical professionals we can get to provide the service that the baby boom generation deserves.
It’s been no great secret that unemployment has hovered around 10 percent in our country for several years and finding a job hasn’t been as easy as many job seekers would prefer. This is why it is so important to understand the role that the baby boomers will play on driving the healthcare industry. Students preparing to enter college, individuals looking for a career change, or medical professionals interested in specialization would do well to understand that while job figures in many traditionally robust industries are struggling, healthcare employment is flourishing and showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics recently projected that jobs in healthcare will grow more than 20 percent through 2018, which is twice the pace of estimates for overall job growth in America.
Generally speaking, the need for primary care physicians is always near the top of lists involving the types of doctors in demand, because these professionals are sort of jacks-of-all-trades. However, the unfortunate reality is that elderly patients are at risk for a whole litany of health problems, so all sorts of specialists are and will be needed. Furthermore, there is an increased expectation for healthcare innovation to provide answers, treatments, and solutions to many healthcare questions as more and more patients deal with various ailments. Medical technology is rapidly expanding and innovations such as ubiquitous electronic medical records will eventually be the standard. Another area that continues to grow is mental health. More and more individuals are relying on regular treatment from psychiatrists and psychologists, creating a need for more experts in the field. Somewhat troubling is the fact that the majority of psychiatrists are over the age of 50 themselves, which speaks to the need for the next generation of mental health experts.
Here is a case of simple supply and demand. When you have more patients (supply), you need more doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, support staff, lab technicians, and other medical professionals (demand). And, with the population of America aging, there is no better time than now to consider a career in healthcare.