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Article originally published on https://www.aimseducation.edu/blog/12-fastest-growing-allied-health-careers-in-2015/

Job security is always a factor when choosing an allied health career. So, if you’re scrutinizing your future career options taking this into consideration, you’re on the right path. The good, no, great news is that health professions are rich in opportunity and have vast growth potential right now.

To help you start your research, we’ve dug deep to discover the twelve most promising career paths in medicine today. They pay well, they’re in high demand, and most of all, they can help you succeed in life as a caring medical professional. All the raw data below comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Physical Therapist

Physical therapists work with wounded patients and people with medical conditions that are physically debilitating. These workers assist their patients in the rehabilitation process. There are many perks to this path including the ability to find part-time as well as full-time work within a variety of work settings.

Expected growth: 36% by 2022

Current field size: 204,200 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $79,860 per year

Educational requirements: Master’s degree or a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

2. Audiologist

audiologist

Audiologists assess patients for hearing loss, ear troubles and balance issues as well as fit and distribute hearing aids.

Expected growth: 34% by 2022

Current field size: 13,000 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $69,720 per year

Educational requirements: A Doctor of Audiology degree and a state-issued license.

3. Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists perform tooth care, provide patient education, and evaluate for disease of the oral cavity. Exact duties vary by state, due to state-specific laws. Benefits include the availability of part and full-time positions, and in many cases, you’ll get relatively short hours and holidays off.

Expected growth: 33% by 2022

Current field size: 192,800 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $70,210 per year

Educational requirements: An associate degree in dental hygiene, but individual state requirements vary.

4. Surgical Technologist

Surgical technologists work primarily in operating rooms. Responsibilities include readying operating rooms for surgery, sterilizing equipment, preparing patients for surgery, and assisting surgeons by supplying equipment.

Expected growth: 30% by 2022

Current field size: 98,500 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $41,790 per year

Educational requirements: There are a variety of programs available from diploma and certificate programs of various lengths to an associate degree. State regulations regarding surgical techs may vary. Most employers require certification through NBSTSA (Certified Surgical Technologist) or NCCT (Tech in Surgery – Certified).

5. Medical Laboratory Technician

Medical laboratory technicians complete tests and procedures ordered by healthcare professions, including evaluating body fluids using high-tech medical equipment like cell counters.

Expected growth: 30% by 2022

Current field size: 161,500 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $37,240 per year

Educational requirements: An associate degree or bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science is typically required. Some states may also require a certificate or license as well. Certifications are available through the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) or the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB).

6. Cardiovascular Sonographer

Cardiovascular sonographers record patient history, maintain equipment, carry out diagnostic imaging, and evaluate these images.

Expected growth: 30% by 2022

Current field size: 51,600 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $52,070 per year

Educational requirements: Certificate or an associate degree in cardiac sonography and vascular technology. Some states and/or employers may require certification through Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) or the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).

7. Medical Assistant

Medical assistants take down patients’ medical history, measure and record vital signs, give injections and assist doctors as required. Medical assistant training includes learning medical terminology.

Expected growth: 29% by 2022

Current field size: 560,800 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $29,370 per year

Educational requirements: Requirements may differ by state, but typically a certificate or associate degree is needed to work in the field. Certification is available through various organizations including the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), American Medical Technologists (AMT), and National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

8. MRI Technologist

MRI technologists follow orders given by doctors regarding what diagnostic tests to perform. They also maintain and adjust MRI equipment, record medical histories and maintain medical records. Job opportunities exist primarily in hospitals and diagnostic imaging centers.

Expected growth: 24% by 2022

Current field size: 30,100 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $65,360 per year

Educational requirements: A certificate in MRI Technology or an associate or bachelor’s degree in radiography and MRI. Certification through the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT) or The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is usually required. Licensing and certification requirements vary by state.

9. Optician

Opticians work with customers to help them choose eyeglass frames and lenses, measure their PD and fitting height, and receive eyeglass prescriptions. They also adjust glasses, repair broken frames, and educate patrons regarding the different types of eye wear. Opticians work with ophthalmology laboratories and maintain sales information.

Expected growth: 23% by 2022

Current field size: 67,600 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $33,330 per year

Educational requirements: High school diploma and on the job training, with optional 1-year certificate programs and 2–year associate degree programs.

10. Dietician

Dieticians survey clients’ health and advise them regarding foods they should eat and avoid for their health conditions. They also educate patients about healthy eating habits and develop meal plans they can follow.

Expected growth: 21% by 2022

Current field size: 67,400 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $55,240 per year

Educational requirements: A bachelor’s degree in clinical nutrition, dietetics, foods and nutrition, or related area of study. Most states also require a license.

11. Medical Technologist

A scientist checks a blood sample.

medical technologist
Medical technologists carry out tests and procedures ordered by healthcare personnel, but the lab tests and procedures tend to be more complicated than the ones medical technicians perform. They also have a tendency to specialize and work in places like blood banks and microbiology labs.

Expected growth: 14% by 2022

Current field size: 164,300 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $57,580 per year

Educational requirements: An associate degree or bachelor’s degree in medical technology or a related science is typically required. Graduate degrees are often needed to advance in this career. Some states may also require a license or certification. Certifications are available through ASCP or AAB.

12. Exercise Physiologist

Exercise physiologists create exercise and wellness programs for individuals with chronic disease or improve the health of body systems such as the cardiovascular system. This field is very flexible in terms of working hours, and work locations vary from health/sports medicine clinics to hospitals. Some people even work in corporate wellness programs.

Expected growth: 9% by 2022

Current field size: 6,000 people as of 2012

Median current salary: $44,770 per year

Educational requirements: A bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology, though a master’s degree is helpful. There is a board certified exam through the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP), though it may not be required.

Your Next Steps

Interested in getting your allied health career started? Get started with KTI and get more information about our allied health training programs.

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