New Report Highlights the Growing Demand for Healthcare Professionals

(US News) In recent years, various news outlets and organizations have been buzzing about an upcoming shortage of healthcare professionals like nurses and physicians. This shortage can be traced back to an aging baby boomer generation, which is set to retire and leave many of their healthcare positions open. As these individuals age, they will also require additional medical care. On top of an aging generation, changes to American policies have given more people access to healthcare, increasing the number of individuals who visit physicians’ offices and hospitals.

Recently, A new report highlights the need for more healthcare professionals.
A new report highlights the need for more healthcare professionals. the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analyzed just how fast the demand for healthcare workers is growing, and how many more professionals the nation will need in the future.

The U.S. Needs 5.6 Million More Healthcare Workers by 2020

Currently, heathcare represents 18% of the U.S. economy, the report indicates. As this sector is so vast, it naturally requires a great deal of employees, and this number is growing each year. The report estimates that between 2010 and 2020, the number of healthcare jobs in the U.S. will rise from 15.6 million to 19.8 million. By 2020, about 13% of all American jobs will be in the healthcare industry.

While almost all healthcare-related positions are expected to experience growth, the demand for nurses will rise the fastest. The report states that the number of jobs for nurses is expected to increase by 26%, which, given the current hiring rate of nurses, means the nation will lack a necessary 800,000 professionals.

Still, while a growing number of jobs is a good thing, the report states that the demand for healthcare will increase twice as fast as the U.S. economy, creating a lack of professionals to fill empty positions. Because of this, the report estimates that the nation will need an additional 5.6 million new healthcare employees by 2020.

More Students Must Earn College Degrees to Prevent Healthcare Shortage

In order to prevent a national shortage of healthcare professionals, more students must earn college degrees in a healthcare-related subject. The report states that by 2020, about 24% of all healthcare jobs will require a bachelor’s degree, while 28% will demand a graduate degree.

For nurses in particular, higher education is becoming extremely important. While an associate’s degree can help individuals find an entry-level job in the field, in order to advance they typically need a bachelor’s degree or higher. Today, about 80% of nurse practitioners and 61% of nurse anesthetists have a master’s degree.