Do you want to land one of the best-rated and fast-growing jobs in Connecticut? Then it’s time to think healthcare. The healthcare industry is booming. (Actually.) The baby boomer population is now aging and as a result, requiring more medical attention than it has in previous years. All the while, advancements in healthcare technology and medical research have created a need for more skilled and educated healthcare professionals to take on more jobs.
Nationwide, the number of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 19 percent by the year 2024. About 2.3 million jobs will be added nationwide. Connecticut is no exception. Throughout the state, 25,000 healthcare jobs will be added to the employment rolls during this same timeframe.
With all that said, what are the best healthcare jobs to pursue today? What are the most satisfactory and rewarding, highest-paying and fastest-growing, positions in the state? And what will it take to land one of these top-rated positions? Read on for Goodwin College’s list of best healthcare jobs in CT.
- Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners are some of the most in-demand employees today. Not only do they rank #2 on U.S. News’ list of best healthcare jobs in 2017 (nationwide!), they also rank #6 for Department of Labor’s fastest-growing jobs in Connecticut. Throughout the state, employment of nurse practitioners is anticipated to rise over 25 percent – meaning that by the year 2024, nearly 3,500 nurse practitioners will be needed in Connecticut healthcare facilities.
What are nurse practitioners, exactly? They are essentially registered nurses with additional, advanced education, enabling them to take on more tasks within their place of work. Nurse practitioners perform patient exams, order and analyze diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, and authorize treatments and diagnoses for both acute and chronic conditions. To become a nurse practitioner in Connecticut, you must first become a registered nurse (RN). After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, you must then go on to complete your Master’s in Nursing and gain certification as a Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, or Nurse Anesthetist.
- Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse anesthetists are ranked #5 on the U.S. News’ list of best healthcare jobs nationwide, and are also among the highest-paid healthcare professionals in the state of Connecticut. It is no wonder, then, why this job is highly sought after among nursing students today.
Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia to patients before surgical or invasive procedures, to alleviate any discomfort a patient might face. To become a nurse anesthetist today, you must acquire your Master’s in Nursing degree. This typically means working up the ladder from an RN to BSN to MSN degree, all of which can be completed at Goodwin College at an accelerated and flexible pace.
- Dental Hygienist
In a recent Forbes article, dental hygienists were ranked the number one best healthcare job in Connecticut. The criteria measured were work environment, stress level, physical demand, median salary, and projected job outlook nationwide. Evidently, dental hygiene passed with flying colors. In Connecticut specifically, approximately 4,225 dental hygiene positions will be available by 2024. Not to mention, the median salary of a dental hygienist in Connecticut is about $84,000 per year.
If you’ve been to the dentist, you’ve without a doubt encountered a dental hygienist before. This is the person that cleans your teeth, examines your mouth for oral disease, and educates you on proper hygiene. Dental hygienists also take X-Rays and apply fluoride and sealants as necessary. To become a dental hygienist in Connecticut, you simply need to earn your associate degree in dental hygiene.
- Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
Occupational therapy assistants are listed in Connecticut’s top five fastest-growing careers. By the year 2024, employment of OTAs is expected to grow about 28 percent in Connecticut. With a median annual salary of about $64,000 in the state, there is no doubt occupational therapy is a great field to pursue.
Occupational therapy assistants, more commonly known as OTAs, help patients develop and recover the skills needed for daily living and working. They provide therapy and often assist in the development of treatment plans for patients, who are often older or recovering from an injury or illness. To become an OTA in Connecticut, you must hold an associate Occupational Therapy Assistant degree and proper licensure. At Goodwin College, you can obtain your OTA degree in just 16-months full-time.
- Ophthalmic Technician
Throughout Connecticut, both ophthalmic laboratory technicians and ophthalmic medical technicians will experience employment growth in the coming years. According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, jobs within these occupations will rise about 17 percent by 2024.
Ophthalmic technicians play a necessary part in vision care. Medical technicians assist eye doctors with eye exams and other clinical functions. Laboratory technicians (also known as opticians) are the ones who cut, grind, polish, and assemble eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precise optical elements. In Connecticut, you can become an optician by first training in a vision care technology program. At Goodwin, students gain hands-on experience right in our state-of-the-art training store and laboratories as they work towards an associate degree.
- Medical Assistant
Also on the rise throughout Connecticut is medical assistants, who are in high-demand in hospitals, private practices, and other healthcare facilities statewide. Statistics show that employment of medical assistants is expected to reach nearly 8,500 jobs 2024, about a 17 percent growth rate.
Medical assistants are essential members of the healthcare team, working on both administrative and clinical tasks. On one day, you might find a medical assistant taking patient vital signs, collecting lab samples, and performing EKGs. On another, you might find one updating patient records and filing insurance claims. The responsibilities of a medical assistant are vast, which is why they are required to hold specialized training in the field. In Connecticut, you must earn certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Goodwin College’s collegiate-level medical assistant programs will qualify you to apply for certification from the AAMA as well as the American Medical Technologists.
- Registered Nurse
Top 10 on Forbes’ list of best healthcare jobs in the nation is that of a registered nurse (RN). And, according to recent research, the average RN salary in Connecticut ranks 4th among all states in the country (over $77,000 annually!). Alongside a great salary comes great job growth. In Connecticut, employment of RN nurses is projected to grow 14.6 percent, according to the CT Department of Labor.
Registered nurses provide and coordinate direct patient care, from recording patient medical histories to administering medications and performing diagnostic tests. RNs are also responsible for educating patients about various health conditions, health management, and treatment plans. They may also provide emotional support to patients and their families when it is needed.
To become a registered nurse in Connecticut, you must graduate from a state-approved nursing school with an associate or Bachelor’s nursing degree. This will make you eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam, which will officially certify you as a Registered Nurse.
Ready to start your path towards one of the best-rated healthcare jobs in the state? Start at Goodwin College! Visit www.goodwin.edu/landingpages/healthcare or call 800-889-3282 to find out why we’re a leading healthcare school in Connecticut.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.