Making a living in health care

Overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations

a physician extending a stethoscope toward a patient who is not visible
Update September 19, 2022

I wrote this post several years ago in my early blogging days. I’ve updated it with recent statistics and added a link to a more recent article about healthcare workers. Thanks for visiting. 

The Helpers-a book review

Starting from the pandemic’s quiet beginning late in 2019 through the vaccine distribution in early 2021, the author unfolds how the pandemic impacted their lives, their families, and communities. Despite being front line workers, they suffered the same things others did-isolation, loss of jobs and income, demanding work schedules under pressure; and for some, infection,…

Keep reading

Healthcare job statistics

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics (U.S. Department of Labor)

  • Overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations;
  • expected to result in about 2 million new jobs over the decade.
  • About 1.9 million openings each year, on average, are projected to come from growth and replacement needs.

The median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (such as registered nurses, physicians and surgeons, and dental hygienists) was $75,040 in May 2021, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $45,760;

healthcare support occupations (such as home health and personal care aides, occupational therapy assistants, and medical transcriptionists) had a median annual wage of $29,880 in May 2021, which was lower than the median annual wage for all occupations.

the original 2015 post

Previously I wrote about physician salaries after Medscape magazine reported the annual physician salary survey.  In it I explained  how doctors are paid and  where other  health care dollars  go. It became one of my most viewed posts.

 Physician jobs

Physicians are paid differently, like other professions.  Some physicians are employed by a corporate entity such as a hospital, others are self-employed, that is they own the practice. While some physicians  have a set annual salary, or hourly rate, other physician income is  based on how many patients they treat-office visits, surgeries, procedures, xray or lab consultations (which can be remote, so called telemedicine). Sometimes it might be a blend of the two.

non-physician clinical health professions

There are numerous non-physician clinical health professions-nursing, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, chiropractic, dentistry, optometry, audiology, dieticians, nutritionists,to name a few.

Support staff

Besides physicians are the support positions, those people in a hospital or clinic who don’t have medical training but whose work enables the rest of us to do our jobs.

These include maintenance, laundry, housekeeping, food services, security, transportation.

Technicology, administration, and finance

Nor does it include IT (information technology)  professionals; the use of  medical computer devices and  applications, called medical informatics, is now  a specialized profession.There are receptionists, customer service reps,human resources, billing and coding.

Other  occupations  directly or indirectly contribute to health care.

Laboratory testing is vital to providing health care.
MRI machine
Diagnostic imaging- CAT, MRI and PET scanning have increased our ability to see inside the human body compared to plain x ray.


exploring the HEART of healthcare


Medical stethoscope and heart on a textured background

Dr Aletha


Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

2 thoughts on “Making a living in health care”

  1. Thank you, Dr. Cress Oglesby! I appreciate your readership and that you were inspired to write your own take on it. I got my physician salary ranges from this article: They cite the average salary for each specialty and I agree that some of them seem high. The focus of my chart was geared toward years of training so ranges are listed by typical minimum years of training. In general the longer you train, the more you make in the end, but pediatric specialties are a clear exception to this. Pediatric Emergency Medicine Specialists do 3 years of pediatric residency plus 3 years of Peds EM fellowship (total of 14 years) while most general Emergency Medicine physicians only do 3 years of residency (total of 11 years of education) and fair or not – they usually make more than peds EM (likely due to more critical care time/codes/intubations).
    I received a few personal messages – and some comments on my facebook page post and on the article itself with ‘corrections’ of sorts – but I am not an “expert” on the training of other fields and most of the information was just drawn from straightforward google searches. There are all kinds of exceptions to the chart.
    **Someone commented that many hospital social workers are required to have years of experience prior to licensing, but I have a personal friend who practices as a hospital social worker with a bachelor’s degree and she had no prior experience (HIGHLY unusual).
    **Some people take longer to finish medical school, academic residencies sometimes include “lab years” and some specialties have a highly regarded additional “chief year” – but training years are average minimum.
    Anyway – thank you again! I appreciate your thoughts/feedback!

    Liked by 1 person

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