When I first announced that I would be cutting ties with my Northeast roots to relocate to South Florida, one of the phrases that I heard the most was “So, you’re going to God’s waiting room”. This facetious reference to the large number of elderly citizens who have chosen to spend their twilight years in the Sunshine State got me thinking: “The only thing hotter than the weather down there may be health care careers.”
As a Higher Education veteran, I tend to relate academic pursuits to employment destinations. Understanding the work climate and labor needs of a market is an essential part of responsible planning for Higher Ed program offerings and effective student advising. When it comes to Florida, however, you don’t have to reference government statistics or actuary studies to draw a logical conclusion: Health care careers are viable, and the need is undeniable.
According to the Florida Department of Health in their April 2015 press release: High Demand for Health Care Jobs in Florida, “In Florida, health care jobs are in high demand, according to the 2014–2015 Statewide Demand Occupation List—a report released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).”
The same release further evidences a historic trend in the growth of health care career opportunities; “The population of licensed health care practitioners in Florida has increased by 15.9 percent since 2010, while the total resident population in Florida increased by only 5.5 percent. Because of this growing demand for health care jobs, MQA (Florida Department of Health’s Division of Medical Quality Assurance) continues to make a concerted effort to reduce regulations and barriers to licensure that restrict opportunity for health care professionals.”
The facts speak for themselves; and as “traditional learners” exiting high school and “non-traditional learners” balancing work and family explore education options, longer term academic pursuits to become doctors or registered nurses are not the only medical pathways demonstrating growth. In fact, the Florida Department of Health notes that within the State’s Top 50 jobs in highest demand, other occupations that rank well are: Dental Assistants (#33), Massage Therapists (#47), EMT/Paramedics (#50).
But wait…there’s more! The continued growth of health care professions is not just a Florida phenomenon, it is a national and global reality based on increased life expectancy. When Monster.com published its February 2015 article, 12 Fastest Growing Jobs in Healthcare the link between people living longer and the need for health care professionals was made crystal clear; “The aging population means increasing numbers of people in older age groups, who are living longer and have increasing healthcare needs. As a result, the demand for healthcare will increase with a beneficial impact for people in the healthcare industries.”
The article further explains; “Employment in home healthcare and residential care should increase rapidly as life expectancies rise and as aging children rely more on long-term care facilities.” From pediatrics to geriatrics, the demand is there.
If you are seeking your first career opportunity or reconsidering your current one, health care should be on the top of your list. With such a large umbrella of job descriptions, the options in the health care field offer something for almost everyone. Do your research, get the education and training that you need, and then commit to a profession that cares – God’s waiting room is getting crowded.
Richard McCulloch is the VP of Client Services & Business Development for Tribeca Marketing Group. For more information, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org