These are the fastest-growing health care jobs and how much they pay
Incredible Health used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to see which health care jobs are predicted to grow the fastest over the next decade.
Health care is the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. economy. The industry will account for roughly 45% of all employment gains from 2022 to 2032, according to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of this will be driven by the country's rapidly aging population. From 2010 to 2020, the 65-plus population in the U.S. grew by the most and fastest at any point since the late 19th century, according to Census Bureau data.
Another factor creating more opportunities in this field is the rising amount of health expenditures due to increased state and federal spending on health care. This comes on the heels of wider access to care through the Affordable Care Act, increased Medicare enrollment, and the expansion of Medicaid. In 2021, Medicare spending grew 8.4% to $900.8 billion and Medicaid grew 9.2% to $734 billion, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Overall, the national health expenditure grew 2.7% to $4.3 trillion, making up 18.3% of gross domestic product.
These trends are driving a surge in demand for health care professionals overall, especially those involved in the care of older patients. Incredible Health used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to see which jobs in health care are predicted to grow the fastest over the next decade. In particular, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and medical and health services manager positions are likely to see the greatest spikes in employment and overall growth.
#15. Athletic trainers
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 4,800 (up 14.1% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $53,840
An athletic trainer is a health care professional trained in sports medicine to provide support to athletes. They may work in injury prevention and recuperation, diagnosing and treating muscle injuries. Athletic trainers also work with individuals to improve their performance by designing strength and conditioning programs.
#14. Diagnostic medical sonographers
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 12,000 (up 14.3% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $81,350
Diagnostic medical sonographers use imaging equipment and high-frequency sound waves to create noninvasive images of the body's organs and tissues, known as sonograms, used by doctors to diagnose and treat illnesses. They can monitor patient conditions such as pregnancy and assist in procedures such as surgery. Often sonographers work in hospital settings, but they are sometimes also found in doctors' offices and diagnostic labs.
#13. Hearing aid specialists
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 1,500 (up 14.5% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $59,020
A hearing aid specialist's job is to administer and interpret hearing tests. They may also help size hearing instruments for patients by making impressions of their ears and subsequently fitting and dispensing the instrument. These specialists can also provide counseling and additional options for assistive and alerting devices.
#12. Physical therapists
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 37,300 (up 15.1% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $97,720
A physical therapist is a type of health specialist who can help patients improve how their body manages movement, especially in response to pain or injuries. Often this is through prescribed exercises that reduce the need for surgery or prescribed drugs. These professionals use hands-on care, patient education, prescribed exercises, stretches, and equipment to restore function or reduce pain.
#11. Orthotists and prosthetists
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 1,500 (up 15.4% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $77,070
Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate medical assistive devices, braces, and artificial limbs for patients. They help patients regain their mobility, fitting them with the devices and monitoring their care. Orthotists and prosthetists also set goals and create rehabilitation plans to achieve clinical goals.
#10. Genetic counselors
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 600 (up 16.1% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $89,990
Genetic counselors have specialized education and training in medical genetics to determine patients' risks for inherited conditions. They review genetic tests and results with patients and their families. They can subsequently provide information and support on how these potential genetic conditions can affect the patient and their families.
#9. Health information technologists and medical registrars
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 6,200 (up 16.5% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $58,250
Health information technologists and medical registrars help design and develop computerized health care systems. They advise organizations on how to implement and manage their electronic health care systems, catalog and update patient records, provide insights into possible disease patterns using data, analyze clinical data, and create reports.
#8. Massage therapists
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 24,600 (up 18.3% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $49,860
Massage therapists use hands-on techniques and apply pressure to a body's soft tissues to address injuries, loosen tight muscles, promote relaxation, and increase circulation. They may rub and knead the muscles, connective tissues, ligaments, and skin to manage a health condition or improve wellness.
#7. Speech-language pathologists
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 33,100 (up 19.3% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $84,140
Speech-language pathologists are communication experts who assess and treat individuals with speech, language, social communication, voice, fluency, and swallowing disorders. Depending on the issue, they can help patients form sounds better, improve conversational understanding, and help them understand social and conversational cues.
#6. Home health and personal care aides
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 804,600 (up 21.7% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $30,180
Home health and personal care aides assist those with disabilities or chronic illnesses with their daily living activities. They may help clients prepare food, use the bathroom, assist with bathing, or help them get up from bed and move around. Home health aides help their clients live at home independently while providing assistance with day-to-day tasks.
#5. Occupational therapy assistants
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 10,800 (up 24.0% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $64,250
Occupational therapy assistants help patients take part in daily living activities, such as washing, grooming, feeding themselves, or performing movements like rising from a chair or getting into bed. These workers may also conduct basic clerical tasks like scheduling, collecting medical history, and ordering medicine and supplies. These professionals may also help clients recover after a workplace injury.
#4. Physical therapist assistants
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 26,300 (up 26.1% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $62,770
Physical therapist assistants work under physical therapists to help patients regain mobility and strength and manage pain following injuries or illness. They may help treat patients through a variety of interventions such as exercise, hands-on massage, balance training, joint mobilization, ice, and other methods. Assistants document patient progress and report the results to the physical therapist.
#3. Physician assistants
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 39,300 (up 26.5% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $126,010
Physician assistants are licensed clinicians working under a physician's supervision who examine, diagnose, and treat patients. They may conduct physical exams, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, and provide patient education. Entering the field requires an accredited master's degree and licensure.
#2. Medical and health services managers
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 144,700 (up 28.4% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $104,830
Medical and health services managers are the masterminds behind the scenes of health care facilities overseeing planning and operations. They supervise, direct, coordinate, and evaluate staff and business activities at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and managed care organizations. These managers are responsible for arranging the delivery and quality of services provided and keeping tabs on the health care facility's capacity and usage.
#1. Nurse practitioners
- Expected additional jobs by 2032: 118,600 (up 44.5% from 2022)
- Median annual wage in 2022: $121,610
Nurse practitioners help manage patients' overall care, examine patients, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret medical tests, and prescribe medications. The position holds more responsibilities than a nurse but the range of duties varies from state to state. The position holds many similar duties to a doctor but requires less training and is licensed differently.
Data reporting by Wade Zhou. Story editing by Ashleigh Graf. Copy editing by Tim Bruns. Photo selection by Clarese Moller.
This story originally appeared on Incredible Health and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.