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Five High-Paying Medical Careers with Projected Growth



In today's rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, the demand for skilled medical professionals continues to rise. Due to an aging population, technological advancements, and an increased focus on preventive care, certain medical careers are experiencing significant growth, offering promising opportunities for those entering the field. This article will explore five high-paying medical careers with projected growth, highlighting the roles that are not only essential to the healthcare system but also poised for substantial expansion in the coming years. Whether you are a premed student, a career changer, or simply interested in the future of healthcare, understanding these in-demand professions can help you navigate and capitalize on the dynamic job market.


  1. Veterinarians

Veterinarians care for the health of animals and work to protect public health. They diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals. Veterinarians must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from an accredited veterinary college as well as a state license. The median annual wage for veterinarians was $119,100 in May 2023.


Companion animal veterinarians treat pets and generally work in private clinics and hospitals. They most often care for cats and dogs, but they also treat other pets, such as birds, ferrets, and rabbits. These veterinarians diagnose and provide treatment for animal health problems; consult with animal owners about preventive healthcare; and carry out medical and surgical procedures, such as vaccinations, dental work, and setting fractures. Food animal veterinarians work with farm animals such as pigs, cattle, and sheep, which are raised to be food sources. They spend their time visiting farms and ranches to treat ill and injured animals and to test for and vaccinate against disease. They may advise farm owners or managers about feeding, housing, and general health practices. Food safety and inspection veterinarians inspect and test livestock and animal products for major animal diseases. They also provide vaccines to treat animals, enhance animal welfare, conduct research to improve animal health and enforce government food safety regulations. They design and administer animal and public health programs to prevent and control diseases transmissible among animals and between animals and people.


Employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 20% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 5,000 openings for veterinarians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force.


  1. Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists care for patients who have  conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Their patients range from premature infants with undeveloped lungs to older adults whose lungs are diseased. Respiratory therapists typically need an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. Respiratory therapists must be licensed in all states except Alaska as requirements vary by state. The median annual wage for respiratory therapists was $77,960 in May 2023.


Respiratory therapists also perform treatment to clear airways for improved breathing. For example, therapists may do chest physiotherapy to remove mucus from the lungs by tapping the patient’s chest and encouraging him or her to cough. Respiratory therapists in emergency settings may connect patients who cannot breathe on their own to ventilators that deliver oxygen to the lungs. They set up and monitor the equipment to ensure that the patient is receiving the correct amount of oxygen at the correct rate. Respiratory therapists who work in home care teach patients and their families to use ventilators and other life-support systems. During these visits, they may inspect and clean equipment, check the home for environmental hazards, and ensure that patients know how to use their medications.


Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 13% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 8,600 openings for respiratory therapists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force.


  1. Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. They mainly work in retail pharmacies and hospitals. Pharmacy technicians usually need a high school diploma or equivalent and learn their duties through on-the-job training, or they may complete a postsecondary education program in pharmacy technology. The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $40,300 in May 2023.


Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, who must review prescriptions before they are given to patients. In most states, technicians can compound or mix some medications and call physicians for prescription refill authorizations. Technicians may also need to operate automated dispensing equipment when filling prescription orders.


Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations. About 44,900 openings for pharmacy technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or retire.


  1. Physician Assistants

Physician assistants examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the supervision of a physician. To enter the occupation, physician assistants typically need a master’s degree from an accredited program. All states require physician assistants to be licensed. The median annual wage for physician assistants was $130,020 in May 2023.


Physician assistants work in various healthcare specialties, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. The work of physician assistants depends on their specialty or the type of medical practice in which they work. For example, a physician assistant working in surgery may close incisions and provide care before, during, and after an operation. Physician assistants differ from nurse practitioners in their training and the level of care they provide. For example, nurse practitioners cannot provide surgical care, whereas physician assistants can. They also differ from medical assistants, who do routine clinical and clerical tasks but do not practice medicine.


Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 27% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 12,200 openings for physician assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from replacing workers who transfer to different occupations or exiting the labor force to retire.


  1. Optometrists

Optometrists diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system, including examining eyes and prescribing corrective lenses. Optometrists need a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree, which takes four years of graduate-level study to complete. Every state requires optometrists to be licensed. The median annual wage for optometrists was $131,860 in May 2023.


Some optometrists provide specialized care in addition to general eye care. For example, some optometrists focus on treating patients who have partial sight, a condition known as low vision. Others may specialize in treating a certain population, such as infants and children. All states allow optometrists to prescribe medication, but states vary in the type of medication they allow optometrists to prescribe. States also vary in whether optometrists may perform surgery or other procedures, such as providing vaccinations.


Employment of optometrists is projected to grow 9% from 2022 to 2032. About 1,700 openings for optometrists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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Thank you for reading,

Mahima


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