Would you like a stable job with reasonable benefits and possibly a pension? Choose a career in the health care industry. Demand for health care jobs is in response to an increase in the elderly population, which incur a majority of the nation’s health care expenses.

The increase in the elderly is partly in response to the aging baby boomer generation will reach retirement age over the next decade. Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, so the oldest of them celebrate their 65th birthdays in 2011. By 2030, 26 percent of the U.S. population will be aged 65 or older, compared with 17 percent today, according to the U.S. Census.

In addition, we are starting to live longer as a result of medical advances and increased knowledge about how we can preserve our health. In addition to general health care jobs such as doctors, nurses, radiology technicians, medical assistants, and pharmacist jobs, there is a demand for physical therapists, cardiology technicians and geriatric specialists who work with senior health.

Be aware that despite a need for health care specialists, not all medical facilities are hiring during the recession. In fact, many nurses and medical assistants must work extra hard as they fulfill the gap that a smaller staff presents. Health care jobs are filled in almost every community throughout the country, but the best jobs are rewarded to individuals with two to three years of experience. Be prepared to begin your career in a less glamorous setting. Volunteer for extra assignments, be willing to work overtime even without compensation, and do what you can to show your enthusiasm and commitment to your work. A few good work references are like gold in this industry and will help you get a more advanced health care job.

Despite the recession, the present health care workforce is getting more elderly and nearing retirement. The average age of registered nurses is 47 and a majority of the senior management of hospitals is baby boomer age, according to Leaders in Healthcare. As employees retire, health care jobs are opening up, particularly in managerial positions.

In order to meet staffing demands and to increase health care jobs, hospitals and other medical facilities will be pursuing a number of measures, according to Leaders in Healthcare. Some of the measures include:
* Providing more part-time positions for medical professionals who have retired but would still like to work.
* Helping existing staff qualify for advancements by providing career growth opportunities.
* Developing advanced IT capabilities and by establishing protocols, enabling less experienced staff to operate more advanced machinery.

Health care jobs are available at this time, and the health care industry is a good field to pursue. Be willing to build up your resume by working in a less glamorous setting for the first few years of your career. But whatever field within the health care industry you pursue, make sure to take a class or pursue an additional certification in geriatric medicine. Doing so will increase your qualifications, which can be the advantage you need among the other candidates to land the health care job you desire.

Jane Martineau is a staff writer for North Orion. She specializes in education and workforce research.

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