Health care employment is hot. And the new numbers from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—which projects growth over the course of the 10-year period 2014 to 2024, show it’s only going to get hotter.

While the average change in employment across all positions in all industries is expected to be 7% in the next 10 years, this list shows much higher demand in health care. This growth is fueled largely by expanded health insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act as well as an aging population.

So if you’re looking for a health care occupation that will still be roaring into 2024 and beyond, start with this list.

Physical therapy assistants/aides

Expected 10-year growth: 40%

Median annual pay: $41,640

What they do: Physical therapist assistants, sometimes called PTAs, and physical therapist aides help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain. They work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists.

Education required: Physical therapist assistants need an associate’s degree from an accredited program to enter the profession, and all states require them to be licensed or certified. Physical therapist aides usually have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training.

Occupational therapy assistants/aides

Expected 10-year growth: 40%

Median annual pay: $52,300

What they do: Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop or, recover the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients; occupational therapy aides typically perform support activities. Both assistants and aides work under the direction of occupational therapists. As people live longer, there will be an increased need for long-term rehabilitative services to increase quality of life, says Mandy Chamberlain, occupational therapist and founder of based in New Castle, Colorado. “People will be living with chronic conditions longer and because they are living longer, they will have a higher chance of acute processes such as stroke and heart attack, which will necessitate occupational therapy.”

Education required: Occupational therapy assistants need an associate’s degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program, and in most states, they must  be licensed. Occupational therapy aides typically have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Home health aides

Expected 10-year growth: 38%

Median annual pay: $21,380

What they do: Home health aides help older adults or other individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities to perform the tasks of daily life. In some instances, they can assist with administration of medication and check and record vital signs under direction from a nurse.

Educational requirements: There are no formal educational requirements for this position.

Nurse anesthetists, midwives and nurse practitioners

Expected 10-year growth: 31%

Median annual pay: $102,670

What they do: Nurse anesthetistsnurse midwives and nurse practitioners are a specialized level of nurses referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). They respectively provide care to patients undergoing anesthesia, to pregnant women before and during childbirth, or across an entire range of ages from newborns to the elderly in a primary care capacity.

Education required: Advanced practice registered nurses are required to have a master’s degree in their area of specialization, as well as a professional license. They must also pass a national certification exam.

Physician assistants

Expected 10-year growth: 30%

Median annual pay: $95,820

What they do: Physician assistants diagnose and treat patients in much the same way as doctors, under a physician’s supervision and in coordination with nurses and other health professionals. Because of new ACA regulations, there has been a major push for patients to seek care outside of hospital settings, says Kyle Mattice, president of health services at The Execu|Search Group, headquartered in New York City. “This trend, combined with the overall shortage of physicians, has sparked tremendous growth in the demand for physician assistants at outpatient and ambulatory care centers,” he says.

Education required: PAs are required to have at least a master’s degree and a professional license.


Expected 10-year growth: 29%

Median annual pay: $73,060

What they do: Audiologists provide care to those with hearing or balance issues, as well as treat illnesses or injuries of the ear. Most  work in hospital settings but some also work in schools, doing early intervention hearing tests for children.

Demand is increasing because of an aging population as well as greater emphasis on early identification for infants with hearing disorders and improved survival rates for premature infants, trauma and stroke victims, says Pamela Mason, director of audiology professional practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Rockville, Maryland.

Educational requirement: Audiologists must have a doctorate degree and be licensed in the state of their practice.

Genetic counselors

Expected 10-year growth: 29%

Median annual pay: $67,500

What they do: Genetic counselors help people understand genetic diagnoses and disorders, as well as the tests that are available to determine likelihood of those disorders. The Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minnesota, says a new emphasis on “personalized” medicine stemming from advances in genomic science is one of the main drivers of demand for genetic counselors.

Education requirement: Genetic counselors need a master’s degree in genetics or genetics counseling and board certification.

Occupational therapists

Expected 10-year growth: 27%

Median annual pay: $78,810

What they do: Occupational therapists help people with injuries, disabilities or functional limitations gain or regain the skills and mental health necessary to complete daily living tasks such as getting dressed, walking, writing, or even playing a favorite sport.

Education requirement: Occupational therapists must have a master’s degree and professional license.


Expected 10-year growth: 27%

Median annual pay: $101,410

What they do: Optometrists diagnose and treat diseases and injuries to the eye and other parts of the visual system. They also prescribe corrective lenses as needed.

Education requirement: Most optometrists obtain a bachelor’s degree and then pursue a four-year specialized doctorate degree in optometry. They must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.


Expected 10-year growth: 25%

Median annual pay: $30,670

What they do: Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research or blood donations.

Education requirement: Almost all employers look for phelbotomists who have earned a professional certificate, according to the OOH.