If you have been considering making a change in your career path, you have probably considered pursuing a career in the medical field. After all, it is no secret that the healthcare industry has fared better than most throughout the recession. Still, despite the fact that the healthcare industry has added more than a half-million jobs ever since the recession started, it is important to note that the industry has experienced its share of problems.
According to a recent US News article, the recession has punched some hospitals right in the pocketbook. After all, just as with other businesses, some hospitals have had difficulty obtaining the credit they need for expansion. Furthermore, many patients have delayed obtaining medical care due to their financial situations. As a result, some hospitals are experiencing hiring freezes and downsizing. Some are even being forced to shut their doors. In fact, according to the Labor Department, hospital employment actually went down last month.
Despite the problems that hospitals have been facing, most industry experts believe these troubles are short term. Furthermore, other areas of the healthcare industry have still been going strong. In fact, jobs were added last month in the residential services and nursing sectors as well as in the ambulatory health services sector.
A recent study of California’s healthcare field, which was conducted by Beacon Economics and was funded by a grant from the California Wellness Foundation, found that the state’s population is expected to grow by 10.2 million by 2030. Furthermore, the survey found that the number of California’s residents who are age 65 or older is likely to double during this same time period. In order to keep up with this growth, the state will need to employ 1.2 million healthcare workers next year as well as another 2 million workers in 2030. When taking into account the annual turnover within the industry, the actual number of people needed to fill these positions over the next two decades is likely to be much higher than these figures indicate.
Despite the slow down in the healthcare industry, the authors of the study found that “the overall trend remains upward.” Furthermore, the government estimates that the overall healthcare employment rate will grow by 22% from 2006 through 2016. California is also facing a “serious shortage” when it comes to allied health positions such as lab technicians, physical therapists and dental hygienists. Part of the reason for this shortage is because the state doesn’t have enough accredited training programs available.
Over the past several years, news regarding healthcare employment shortages revolved primarily around nursing shortages. Thanks to the push for more nurses coupled with the fact that many nurses have gone back into the workforce in response to the recent economic troubles, many employers in need of nurses can breathe a whole lot easier. These positive trends could crumble, however, after the economy recovers, as many of these nurses may once again choose to exit the job market. If current unemployment trends continue, on the other hand, new nursing graduates may actually have some difficulty with finding a job. If this results in less people pursuing a nursing degree, the healthcare industry will suffer once again after the older nurses retire.
The bottom line is that the healthcare industry is generally considered to be “recession resistant.” Therefore, if you are interested in working within the field, it is certainly a good career path to follow.