Big Growth in Health Care Jobs May Mean Great Careers

As a whole, the health care industry is expected to grow substantially over the next ten years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which could mean plenty of jobs for those working in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices.

But that may not mean a bunch of new careers for professionals in that industry, especially new graduates. A recent publication from the Brookings Institute reported that most of the newly created jobs in the health care industry were low-wage positions, such as nurses aides, dental assistants and home health aides.

The study included data from 10 health care jobs in 100 different cites, consolidated in findings on wages, employment rates and diversity.

Karen Roth, research director at the St. Louis Area Health Coalition, said that the high industry turnover is largely caused by a wide range of issues is. She noted that it is “something that has plagued the medical profession for a long time” and it can have a negative impact on the quality of care provided at health care institutions.

“Many of these workers are in the working poor category, meaning that they earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level,” Brookings fellow Martha Ross told St. Louis Public Radio. However, “[it] can provide people with lower levels of education a career ladder and a path toward upward mobility,” Ross told USA Today. 

So, the health care industry seems to be experiencing bitter-sweet growth. While, most new jobs are for low-wage positions, those positions can be a foot-in-the-door to larger career paths in an otherwise booming field.

“Health care jobs lift less-educated workers,” USA Today, July 24, 2014, Paul Davidson,
“Low-wage health care jobs grow but without mobility,” The Tennessean, July 23, 2014, Shelley DuBois,
“Part of the Solution: Pre-Baccalaureate Healthcare Workers in a Time of Health System Change,” Brookings, July 2014, Martha Ross, Nicole Pichrl Svajlenka, and Jane Williams,

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