Healthcare information technology tops the list of 10 ‘hot careers’ for college graduates in 2011, according to a new study from the University of San Diego Extension.
Due to government initiatives in recent years, the study states, the healthcare industry adopted an advanced technology system for managing and utilizing health information, medical establishments have the goal of transferring all healthcare information to an advanced technology-driven database within the next decade.
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“This fueling a demand for health information technicians who can support medical record reform,” say the authors of the study.
Technicians are needed for emerging jobs such as healthcare integration engineer, healthcare systems analyst, clinical IT consultant, and technology support specialist.
“Jobs and needs in the healthcare information technology field are a critical component of plans for positive change in the healthcare industry,” said Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of the public programs and dean, UC San Diego Extension.
[See also: Healthcare IT talent war is on.]
The study notes that job prospects for the health Information technology industry should be very good, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and are expected to grow faster than average.
“Several factors – a growing industry with vast employment needs, a societal concern with federal backing for broad reform, and a solution incorporating advanced knowledge and skills among workers – combine to form a strong base for workforce development and employment opportunity for the coming decade,” said Mark Cafferty, San Diego Workforce Partnership president and CEO.
“The injection of skilled knowledge workers into the magnet of healthcare information technology will not only provide solutions to immediate needs, but also will serve as a catalyst for new and emerging types of jobs in the coming years as the impact of healthcare IT takes hold,” Cafferty said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical records and health information technicians held about 172,500 jobs in 2008 (about 30 percent of jobs were in hospitals). Jobs are expected to grow by 20 percent, or about 35,100 new jobs, for the decade 2008-2018.
Some of the other top careers listed in the study are also connected to healthcare. See the list on the next page.
Top 10 'hot careers'
- Healthcare Information Technology - As technology increases, so does the need for health information technicians to use and maintain patient data that is vital for quality healthcare and to keep all medical records organized and confidential. Technicians are needed for emerging jobs, such as healthcare integration engineer, healthcare systems analyst, clinical IT consultant, and technology support specialist.
- Data Mining and Analytics - Looking for a needle in a haystack is a good analogy for data mining jobs. Data mining is the technique of extracting specific types of information or patterns from large databases, such as data warehouses. Advanced statistical methods sift through large volumes of data, providing answers to questions that were once too time-consuming.
- Geriatric Health Care - The growing population of seniors continues to have a major impact on careers in health care. As the numbers of aging baby boomers increase, so does the demand for certain healthcare jobs and services, including nursing, personal care and home healthcare.
- Mobile Media - Today’s four billion mobile phone users outnumber both Internet users and land-line owners. Cell phones and other mobile devices are now multifunction devices that enable users to surf the Web, listen to music, download podcasts, use maps, access global positioning satellites, shoot and send photos and videos, and send text messages. With the countless new software applications, the number of ways to use smart phones is exploding.
- Occupational Health and Safety - Many employees are adding safety expertise as a “value added” skill to make them more likely to be hired or retained in a tight job market. Specialists are needed to cope with technological advances in safety equipment and threats, changing regulations, and increasing public expectations. Employment growth reflects overall business growth and continuing self-enforcement of government and company regulations.
- Spanish/English Translation and Interpretation - For those completely bilingual in Spanish and English, these highly marketable language skills open doors to new careers. The key is to gain experience through practical internships in specialized fields such as law, medicine and business.
- Sustainable Business Practices and the Greening of all Jobs- By the mid-21st century, all jobs will be green jobs. Organizations today must address potential regulation changes and look for business growth opportunities in the new era of sustainable environmental economics.
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language - Interest in English teaching positions abroad continues to mushroom. College graduates can find teaching jobs abroad, with travel as an added perk.
- Financial Examiner/Internal Auditor - Financial collapses and scandals in the last few years involving the banking and insurance industries means more companies are having the books scrutinized. Enter the financial examiners, the forensic accountants of the business world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting 41 percent growth. Aspiring financial examiners and internal auditors can expect continued job growth as a result of changes in financial laws, regulations, and requirements. In addition, jobs in this field will become available as financial examiners retire, move into other positions, or leave the field completely.
- Healthcare Case Management - Case managers are healthcare advocates who — through a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, and advocacy — help patients understand their current health status, what they can do about it and why those treatments are important. In this way, case managers guide patients and provide cohesion to other professionals in the healthcare delivery team, enabling their clients to achieve goals more effectively and efficiently. According to a January 2011 survey, the number of case managers working in hospital admissions offices doubled from 2010 to 2011.