The health care industry, including doctors, nurses, insurance agents, home health aides, and allied health care workers, accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy, making it the largest industrial sector in the United States. And Florida in particular is well-known as a haven for retirees who will need an increasing amount of health care as they age.
Over 68,000 people in Orlando work in healthcare and healthcare support positions, and the industry is slated for strong growth over the next several years.
According to the latest numbers, ten of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the U.S. are health care related. An aging population and the retirement of current workers means employment in the health care industry will grow by 22 percent through 2018 in the U.S. Many positions will be open in a variety of areas -- from radiographers to clinical lab technologists.
Who will be hiring? Employment at hospitals will grow by 10 percent, but that is the slowest pace in health care. The future is particularly bright for smaller home health care services, which are predicted to grow by 46 percent through 2018 to assist older patients and those with chronic conditions. Medical and diagnostic labs will grow by nearly 40%.
Other areas with expected growth include physician and other health practitioner offices (34.1 and 41.3 percent growth respectively), outpatient care centers (38.6percent growth), and dental offices (28.5 percent growth).
And, as group practices integrate and medical records are electronified, the need for office and administrative support will grow accordingly.
Careers and Income
As you begin your health care career and apply for jobs, consider the work environment, the size of the organization, its status as a profit or non-profit institute (pay scale can be less at a non-profit), benefits, requirements for mandatory overtime, and typical working hours.
According to the American Medical Association, anesthesiologist assistants make one of the largest starting salaries -- $95,000 - $120,000. But that is unusual. Most non-MD health care positions pay around $50,000. Those with more responsibility for patient care, such as dentists, surgical assistants, physician assistants, and pharmacists, may make more.
Average salaries for popular healthcare careers in Orlando:
Clinical Lab Technologist: $51,250
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer: $64,580
Health Information Technician: $29,300
Home Health Aide: $23,190
Medical Assistant: $28,550
Physical Therapist: $84,230
Physical Therapist Assistants: $62,700
(Salary figures according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Health Care Schools in Orlando
Orlando is home to a variety of respected public and private health care and nursing schools, including:
Florida Technical College - Orlando
Diplomas in Medical Billing and Coding, Medical Assisting, and Patient Care
Keiser University -Orlando
Keiser offers associate degrees in a variety of allied health programs, including massage therapy, medical laboratory technicians, surgical technology, and nuclear medicine technology.
DeVry offers associate degrees in health information technology.
Sanford-Brown Institute - Orlando
Sanford-Brown Insitute offers programs in cardiovascular sonography, diagnostic medical sonography, and medical assisting.
Find more healthcare schools in Orlando.
Have more questions about careers in health care or looking for healthcare-related degree programs and colleges? Visit HealthCareDegrees.org for more information on careers and degree programs across the country.