High Growth, Good Wages: Why Nursing Is Today’s Hottest Healthcare Job
For decades, daytime television has been filled with ads attempting to lure new workers into the healthcare industry. The commercials all have common themes: short training times, reliable opportunities, and a chance to help people.
And there’s good reason for the recruitment push. As Caroline Preston writes in The Hechinger Report, the number of Americans ages 65 and older is expected to double by 2060, which means health care workers will be in incredible demand. Officials predict health care and social assistance will make up nearly a third of all new jobs in the next decade.
The downside? Many of these new jobs pay very little. But nursing, which requires substantial education, is an exception. A two- or four-year degree in nursing, which also requires passing a national exam, nets a median salary of $68,450. It’s also virtually robot-proof.
Though many positions in the healthcare industry are vulnerable to developments in artificial intelligence—radiologists or anesthesiologists, for example,, nursing tasks vary so widely that it’s difficult to see how machines can fill the spectrum.
But there’s a knowledge gap in what it takes to become a nurse. Empathy and good decision-making are important, but so are math and science.
“There’s a huge gap in understanding among guidance counselors about what nurses do,” Janet Haebler, a senior associate director at the American Nurses Association told The Hechinger Report. “Many don’t understand the basics that need to be built early on,” she said. “It does require a heavy background in math and science.”