medical careers in demand

8 In-Demand Healthcare Careers that are Growing Fast

The demand for healthcare professionals is increasing. Discover which in-demand healthcare jobs are on the rise, and find out which career path is right for you.

Healthcare is the most in-demand employment sector in the United States today. Even in the face of economic recessions, volatile job markets, and global pandemics, the healthcare industry continues to grow and expand each year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the healthcare sector is projected to add more jobs than any other occupational groups. Specifically, between the years 2020 and 2030, an estimated 2.6 million new jobs will be added to the healthcare field.

The demand for healthcare workers is increasing due to a combination of factors. One obvious contributor is the shortage of healthcare professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic underlined the nation’s need for more healthcare professionals to handle crises and treat patients in need. This is coupled with the fact that the elderly population is growing substantially. As baby boomers reach retirement age in the coming years, there will be an increasing demand for healthcare services.

For aspiring healthcare workers, this field presents countless benefits: in-demand job opportunities, great job security, and even pay potential. It’s no wonder why healthcare is recognized as one of the best jobs to get into today. You can enter the field knowing that there will always be a need for healthcare services. The beauty of healthcare is that it also offers many rewarding and in-demand career options for those who are unsure where to start.

Whether you are looking to embark on a long educational road to become a doctor, or looking for an fast-track option that will get you in the field quickly, there are a variety of fast-growing and in-demand healthcare careers you can pursue. Here a few of the top healthcare careers in demand now.

  1. Nurse Practitioners

Expected Growth: 52%

Nurse Practitioners, also referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), hold the most in-demand healthcare career you can pursue today. In addition to being the #1, fastest-growing healthcare career, these professionals are also listed as the fourth, fastest-growing job among all occupations in the United States. The BLS anticipates that employment of Nurse Practitioners will increase an incredible 52 percent between 2020 and 2030—translating to 114,900 job openings nationwide.

Nurse Practitioners perform many of the same services as physicians, and have great autonomy in their work. For this reason, these nursing professionals will be needed to meet the increasing demand for primary, preventive, and ambulatory care. Nurse Practitioners often work as primary care providers in private practices. They may also work in hospital and outpatient settings alongside teams of doctors, nurses, and surgeons. In the coming years, APRNs will be needed to care for the growing number of older adults, who are inherently more susceptible to ailments and chronic conditions. However, due to the large scope of work and responsibilities carried by Nurse Practitioners, it’s worth noting that a master’s degree is the standard in the field.

  1. Occupational Therapy Assistants

Expected Growth: 36%

Also on the list of fastest-growing careers in the United States is that of the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA). Across the nation, employment of Occupational Therapy Assistants is expected to grow 36 percent between 2020 and 2030, with about 15,600 job openings expected for OTAs. OTAs with practical experience (such as in a clinical setting) will have the best job prospects.

The demand for Occupational Therapy Assistants is growing alongside the aging baby boomer population. Older adults are more prone to conditions like arthritis and strokes, which can affect their ability to fulfill daily activities. OTAs can help these patients develop and improve the skills needed to live and function independently. According to the BLS, Occupational Therapy Assistants also be needed to help treat children and young adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism. Occupational therapy is a fast-growing career, and one can become an OTA relatively fast. Aspiring OTAs need an associate degree in Occupational Therapy Assisting, which can take just 16-months full-time.

  1. Personal Care and Home Health Aides

Expected Growth: 33%

In the U.S., employment of personal care and home health aides is projected to grow 33 percent by the year 2030. Compare this to the national average rate, just 8 percent growth. Perhaps what is most notable about this growth is the expected number of jobs being added to the field. In this decade, the BLS predicts that 1,129,900 job openings will become available to aspiring healthcare support workers.

As with the in-demand healthcare jobs noted above, the need for home health and personal care aides will increase due to the aging elderly population. Many home health aides, as well as personal care aides, work directly with older adults who need help with daily living. These patients may be debilitated by age, illness, disability, cognitive impairment, or a combination of factors. They often cannot live independently and rely on the assistance of personal care aides to carry out tasks, monitor their health, and ensure clients are properly taking care of themselves. Home health aides and personal care aides may work in patients’ homes or in a long-term care facility.

  1. Medical Health and Services Managers

Expected Growth: 32%

Medical and Health Services Managers make up another fast-growing healthcare career bucket, with employment expected to rise 32 percent between 2020 and 2030. As healthcare careers grow in demand across all facets of the field, managers will be needed to oversee and organize operations. Medical and Health Services Managers may be responsible for managing healthcare staff, facilities, departments, records, and/or other medical information.

The expected growth of these managers means that more than 139,600 jobs will become available to qualifying individuals. Qualified individuals are typically those who have at least a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare field, though master’s degrees are required by many employers today. A master’s in Nursing (MSN), for example, is typically needed for a nurse management position. If you are looking to advance in your current workplace, and looking to increase your earning potential, attaining an advanced healthcare degree can help you move into this in demand role.

  1. Respiratory Therapists

Expected Growth: 23%

For those looking to breathe new life into their career, respiratory therapy is one of the top healthcare careers in-demand today. The latest national statistics show that employment of Respiratory Therapists is expected to grow 23 percent between 2020 and 2030. More than 31,000 jobs will be added to the field for individuals with a respiratory care education under their belts.

The expected demand for Respiratory Therapists is not surprising, as older adults often face complications with pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other restrictive illnesses affecting the lungs. The aging population, therefore, will contribute to the increased job opportunities. Respiratory Therapists will be needed in hospitals, as well as other ambulatory care settings, nursing homes, and doctor’s offices.

  1. Medical Assistants

Expected Growth: 18%

Medical Assistants are also in high demand among patients and practitioners alike. As reported by the BLS, there will be an 18 percent increasein medical assisting jobs over this decade. Specifically, 132,600 jobs will be added to the field by 2030. This is due to a growing need for preventative healthcare services, and therefore an increased need for Medical Assistants to step up. Medical Assistants help physicians perform routine administrative and clinical duties, such as measuring vital signs, assisting with patient exams, and collecting samples for lab tests. This allows physicians to see more patients and accommodate the growing need for their services. Most Medical Assistants work in primary care practices, which is a consistently growing sector of the healthcare field, according to the BLS.

Medical assisting is a great, fast-growing healthcare career that is in demand throughout the country. It is also one of the top healthcare careers you can break into quickly. Becoming a medical assistant can be done in a matter of months, through a postsecondary certificate program. You can also pursue a medical assisting associate degree in as few as 18 months.

  1. Dental Hygienists

Expected Growth: 11%

Dental Hygienists are healthcare professionals that help to prevent oral diseases and provide dental care to patients on a regular basis. After the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020, the employment of Dental Hygienists is expected to grow notably in the coming years. Specifically, the BLS anticipates an 11% growth rate for employment, and approximately 15,600 job openings each year for Dental Hygienists seeking opportunities.

The demand for Dental Hygienists is due to an aging baby boomer population, as well as an increased focus on preventive dental services. Simply put, more people are prioritizing their teeth cleanings—recognizing the link between oral health and overall health. To become a Dental Hygienist, the pathway is also clear: all you need is an associate degree in Dental Hygiene to qualify for licensure.

  1. Registered Nurses

Expected Growth: 9%

While Registered Nurses (RNs) are no longer ranked as the fastest-growing or in-demand healthcare profession by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the opportunity associated with this career field is notable. Nursing is among the largest professions within the healthcare field, and it continues to grow each consecutive year. Between 2020 and 2030, employment of Registered Nurses is expected to increase 9%. However, the BLS also notes that 194,500 job openings for RNs are projected each year, on average, over this decade. 

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the need for Registered Nurses is vast and real. These professionals are the backbone of our healthcare system, ensuring patients’ needs are met day-in and day-out. According to, Registered Nurses (RNs) rank #3 on their list of most in-demand healthcare careers—and it’s easy to see why. Nursing is one of the top healthcare careers in demand because of the profound difference one can make in patients’ lives by providing life-saving care.

For those seeking a rewarding healthcare career where they can make a real difference, and where they will be in high-demand, nursing is an excellent choice. You can also get there fast. Becoming a Registered Nurse requires an associate degree and licensure to start practicing.

Pursue an In-Demand Healthcare Degree at Goodwin University

With the aging baby boomers, advancing medical technology, and new research rising in the field, the time to become a healthcare professional is now. You can start today at Goodwin University, with career-focused and flexible healthcare degree programs available. Call 800-889-3282 today, or visit us online to learn why Goodwin is a leader in healthcare education in Connecticut.