Career Advice > Career Advice

20 Medical Careers in High Demand

If you're in the medical field or looking to break in, you might be considering which jobs are most in-demand right now. Is it time for you to start specializing? Are you just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Healthcare jobs are booming, and they're suspected to continue thriving despite any negative changes in the economy. Many medical careers in demand are always looking for new hires.

If you're able to handle it, it's a great industry to get into. Healthcare professionals do a lot of good, and they do pretty well for themselves as well. Job security and a stable income are only two of the benefits of working in healthcare.

But which job is right for you?

If you're thinking about your next step in your career, you might want to know what jobs are hot right now. You're in the right place.

Here are 20 medical careers that are in high demand right now. 

1. Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered nurses are super in demand right now. The growth rate for new registered nurse hires is definitely slowing, but that doesn't mean that it's stopping, and now is still a great time to get into the field while you're able.

Even with a slowing growth rate, it's still roughly 15% and supposed to stay that way through the next few years, adding hundreds of thousands of jobs. 

Registered nurses only require an associate's degree most of the time, but some also have a bachelor's degree as well. Having an extra degree might help to negotiate higher pay. 

A great thing about becoming a registered nurse is that it doesn't have to be your end goal. As you'll see later, this is a great job. It's also a great stepping stone to more specialized career paths that you might find yourself gravitating towards after spending some time as a registered nurse.

It's also possible that you really enjoy being a registered nurse, and this is the end goal for you. Either way, it's a great career to jump into and a great way to help people and land yourself some job security.

2. Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists have specialized and honed in on a specific practice. These nurses provide anesthesia and related care during hospital procedures. They have many of the responsibilities of other nurses. They review records and attend to any allergies or medical histories, but they also administer local or standard anesthesia. 

This job has a higher bar of entry. It requires a master's degree, at minimum, from an accredited institution and medical program. This is after already having the RN license and clinical experience as a nurse.

While the bar of entry is higher, and there are more responsibilities, nurse anesthetists also receive the benefits of more autonomy than registered nurses, and generally much higher pay. 

3. Radiation Therapist

radiation therapist helps patients who have cancer. When a patient who has cancer must go in for radiation treatment, it is a radiation therapist who assists them.

The vast majority of radiation therapists work in a hospital where all the needed equipment is located. A few might be found in the office of a physician.

To become a radiation therapist, you must get a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. You must also get a license for the state in which you'll be practicing. States vary in their requirements, and some also require you to pass a national certification exam as well.

The job outlook for radiation therapists is strong. Employment is growing by 9% through to 2028.

4. Dental Hygienist

The world can never have enough dental hygienists, and as we learn more about how to keep mouths healthy, there will be increased demand.

The demand is suspected to grow about 20% through 2026, so if this is your field, now is a great time for you to be looking into one of the most needed healthcare jobs.

They're generally supervised on the job by dentists, and do much of the work involved with (as the name would indicate) hygiene. Dentists, on the other hand, focus more on repairing any problems, prescribing any medications, and performing any complex procedures that dental hygienists just don't have the experience for. 

To get into this career, there are generally three years of college ahead of you, as well as some clinical examinations. They end in you receiving an associate's degree. 

5. Nurse Midwife

If your place is with mothers and babies, a career in midwifery might be in your future. 

Nurse midwives care for families throughout the entire process of family planning. They help with the pre-pregnancy period, to ensure that mothers are healthy. They track the progress of the mother through her pregnancy, and they're with her through the birth and postpartum period. 

These nurses are also able to provide general family-oriented healthcare throughout their patient's reproductive lives.

They're not only nurses, but they're also primary care providers for mothers and babies, and they're masters of the delivery room. They're trained for everything from natural births going smoothly to emergency births that require serious medical intervention and care.

These nurse midwives start as registered nurses. They then go on to get a master's degree from an accredited institution. The job growth for this career path is roughly 21% through 2026, so now is a great time to jump into this high-demand healthcare job.

6. Physician Assistant

A physician assistant does many of the same jobs as a physician, but often under the observation of a physician or surgeon. They generally work alongside the physician to help patients with their various needs.

They may perform examinations, assist with diagnostics, provide treatment or medical counseling, or prescribe medications. 

In a clinic setting, a physician assistant can even act as a primary care physician. 

For this career, you're going to want to pursue a master's degree. Many of these programs are only two years long, but they can be intense. You will also be required to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination to become licensed. As a final speedbump, you will need to pair and collaborate with a supervising physician. 

This position has one of the larger potential growth rates in the medical field, making it one of the bigger medical careers in demand. It's set to grow by about 37% by 2026. That's a massive amount of growth, showing that there's a major need for physician assistants. 

7. Dermatologist

Skincare is very trendy right now, and that means that people are very interested in taking care of their skin. Dermatology is one of the health careers in demand that people don't immediately think about when they're plotting out their job trajectories. 

Dermatologists work with the largest organ of the body: the skin. Some of their work is aesthetic, focusing only on the appearance of the skin. This is covered under cosmetic dermatology. 

There are a lot of other areas covered, though, some more serious than others. Dermatologists can also work with serious skin conditions, infections, growth, bacteria, and at worst: cancer. 

Dermatologists are medical doctors, so they go through a lot of schooling. They require a doctorate to practice, but they make about $300,000 yearly. If you want to get into dermatology, the growth rate through 2022 is about 18%. Now is a great time to jump into this very niche (and very cool) career path. 

Helping people feel good about their skin and protect themselves from cancer is rewarding. 

8. Physical Therapist

Have you considered a future career path in physical therapy? You might want to. Physical therapists work directly with their patients and watch their gradual (hopeful) improvements over time.

They get to see the work that they're doing in real-time. 

They treat a wide variety of patients from all different walks of life. Some of them may be recovering from serious accidents, others from disabilities that they were born with (or developed over time) and want to work through. Some people may be recovering from sports injuries, or limb or joint replacements.

They all end up in the same place and require the same standard of care.

There's a lot of trial and error in physical therapy, and a lot of adjusting for individual patients. This is a job that requires a lot of critical thinking and, along with that, a lot of education.

Physical therapists require a doctorate degree, but all of the extra education will be worth it to see patients progress over time. 

This is another medical career with huge prospective job growth. Through 2022, there is potentially going to be a 36% increase in demand for physical therapists. If you want to help meet this demand, this might be the path for you. 

9. Occupational Therapist

Sometimes, for whatever reason, people have a hard time doing the things that they want or need to do to get through their day-to-day lives.

They don't quite need a physical therapist (though they may have at one time) but they need some extra help to get themselves back into working order to live independently.

This is where occupational therapists come in. 

Not all occupational therapists are alike, and some choose to specialize in a specific subgroup that interests them. Many of them work with children with physical or mental disabilities that impair their ability to live full lives amongst the other children. 

Some choose to work with the elderly who may have lost some ability over time and need to learn new ways to do things. 

Some can work with victims of accidents as they learn to go back to how things were before they were injured. There are so many different options. 

Occupational therapists also don't always have to work in a hospital setting, so if that's a factor for you, this might be an attractive job.  Some can work in schools or elderly care facilities. Some work exclusively in clinics. There's a lot of flexibility in this career path.

For occupational therapists, there's set to be a 29% growth in jobs by 2022. This is one of the most needed healthcare jobs and you can be one of the people helping to fill this role. 

10. Pharmacist

While many people think that a pharmacist's job might look easy, it's anything but. 

Physicians might be the ones prescribing medications, but pharmacists aren't just there to follow orders. They also advise the patients and healthcare providers on the medications being prescribed based on patient history, interactions, and overall background knowledge on the medication in question.

The job is highly technical and requires a lot of chemical and biological expertise. This is why it requires a doctorate degree. 

Pharmacists can work anywhere from a retail store to a hospital, so there's a wide range of positions and salaries. Job growth for pharmacists is about 14% through 2022. 

11. Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists focus on conditions involving the lungs. Now, seemingly more than ever, there is an increased need for respiratory therapists. 

A respiratory therapist is a specialist focusing on all things respiratory, including, but not limited to, asthma, COPD, emphysema, and a host of other conditions. When someone is suffering, they want someone who is honed in on this specialty,

7.7% of adults in the United States alone have asthma. There's a huge need for professional help.

This job generally requires an associate's degree, but it doesn't stop there. Their education will continue throughout their career, and they'll be learning consistently forever to keep updated on new conditions, methods, and best practices. 

There's a projected job growth rate of 19% by 2022, but it could go much higher.

12. Physician or Surgeon

Both physicians and surgeons deal with diagnosing and treating injuries and illnesses. Most work in hospitals or their own private clinic. Some work in academia or for the government.

Physicians and surgeons make the most of all medical careers. As such, they also require the most demanding education and training requirements. 

To be a physician, you'll need a bachelor's degree. It doesn't end there, though. You'll also need a degree from a medical school that takes four years to complete. Depending on the specialty of the physician, such as becoming a surgeon, you'll need another 3 to 7 years as an intern in a residency program.

The projected growth for this medical career looks great. It's expected to grow by 7% between 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average occupation. This growth is so high because of the increased need for healthcare services for America's aging population.

13. Dentist

dentist ensures the oral health of their patients. They are responsible for diagnosing and treating problems concerning the teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth.

Dentists work to fill cavities, give root canals, and more. There are also specialized types of dentists who deal with specific practices, such as pediatrics. A pediatric dentist is an expert at working with children's teeth.

Most dentists have their own business with a small staff of assistants who help. Some dentists enter partnerships to form a practice with another dentist.

To practice dentistry, you must first complete extensive schooling. Typically, you must graduate from a dental program, then also pass written and clinical exams. After that, you will have to obtain a license for the specific state you intend to practice in, as license requirements vary from state to state.

The job outlook for dentists is solid at 7%. Just as with physicians and surgeons, there'll be an increasing demand for dentists to assist the aging population and their oral problems.

14. Podiatrist

podiatrist specializes in feet, ankles, and the lower leg. They give medical and surgical care to people experiencing problems with these areas. Often, a physician might recommend you to a podiatrist if you came in with a unique foot problem.

Podiatrists often have their own clinics they work in. However, it's also common for podiatrists to work in a group practice with physicians or other specialists. A smaller percentage of podiatrists work out of hospitals.

To become a podiatrist, you must earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree. After this, you have to complete a three-year residency program. Once you're done with your education, you will have to acquire a license for each state you intend to practice in.

Employment of podiatrists is running strong. The job outlook has podiatrists growing by 6% from 2018 to 2028.

As a vast majority of the population reaches into the later stages of life, many will need to be treated for issues with their feet brought on by diabetes and obesity.

15. Nurse Practitioner

Nurses care for their patients in a variety of ways. A nurse might help coordinate and provide care to hospital patients and assist the doctor in general duties. Some nurses have specialty practices, such as serving as a midwife. Still, other nurses may assist in anesthesiology, or visit personal homes to give hospice care.

Most nurses work in either a hospital or in a physician's private clinic. However, there are many who also take on hospice clients and work within the patient's home.

To become a nurse, you must receive a degree in one of the advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) roles. From there, you must receive a license for the state you wish to practice in, as well as pass a national certification exam.

Nurses are experiencing explosive growth in employment. From 2018 to 2028, the job outlook for nurses is growing by 26%.

16. Optometrist

Optometrists treat the eyes. Many people refer to an optometrist as simply the "eye doctor".

When working in this field, you diagnose and treat various visual problems. There is more to optometry than just giving people glasses. Optometrists also help to manage eye diseases, injuries, and other disorders.

The majority of optometrists work in a private practice office. However, there are many to be found working in an optical goods store within a large retail shop.

Becoming an optometrist requires completing a bachelor's degree at a bare minimum, then going on to receive a Doctor of Optometry degree. A Doctor of Optometry takes four years to complete. After that, you must acquire a license for the state you'll be practicing in.

The job growth for optometrists is strong. Employment is on the rise by 10% through to 2028. 

17. Veterinarians

Veterinarians work with animals. When your beloved pet falls ill, it is a veterinarian who is able to discover what the underlying cause is and treat them for the condition. 

Many veterinarians have a specialty. While most have a common practice that treats standard domesticated pets, some specialize in treating exotic or farm animals.

Most veterinarians work in their own private animal clinics or veterinary hospitals. In more rural areas, a veterinarian may travel to farms to treat animals.

To become a veterinarian, you must get a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. After that, you'll have to get a license for the state you intend to practice in.

The job outlook for veterinarians is looking strong. From 2018 to 2028, veterinarians will get an 18% growth in employment.

18. Audiologist

An audiologist works with ears, such as diagnosing and treating hearing problems. If a patient suffers an ear injury, the physician will often refer the patient to an audiologist. 

Most audiologists work in their own private practice, but many can be found working in a physician's office or at hospitals. There are also some who work in school districts, and travel between schools to test the hearing of children. 

To become an audiologist, you must get a doctoral degree. All states also require that you obtain a license for that specific state.

Employment is growing for audiologists at 16%. Much of this is due to the aging population. As people enter their elderly years, hearing loss becomes a common problem.

19. Chiropractor

Chiropractors work with the body on a deep tissue level. If a patient has chronic back pains, they can often visit a chiropractor who will work to get bones properly realigned and thus relieve pain and pressure. Chiropractors are also able to help with muscle, ligament, and tendon problems.

The majority of chiropractors work in a solo practice. However, you can sometimes find a group chiropractic practice in larger cities.

Chiropractors must receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. They must also earn a state license before they can go into business. It typically takes about four years to earn the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

Employment growth for chiropractors is strong at 7%. Many people are looking into alternate ways to improve their overall health without having to take prescription medication, which is where chiropractic care comes in.

20. EMTs and Paramedics

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are the first responders to emergencies. When a person dials 911, it is often the EMTs and paramedics who arrive on the scene first. EMTs and paramedics are also responsible for transporting patients to hospitals.

EMTs and paramedics work long hours. It is a stressful job involving life-or-death situations on a near-daily basis. However, it is also a rewarding career. If you want to make a career out of saving people every day and being the first person on the scene after accidents or natural disasters, this is the career for you. EMTs and paramedics are the true unsung heroes of the healthcare industry.

To become an EMT or paramedic, you must complete a postsecondary educational program. All states require that you receive a license to operate as an EMT or paramedic.

With a job outlook growth of 7%, EMTs and paramedics continue to be in high demand. There will always be emergencies involving car wrecks, acts of violence, and more, which means there will continue to be a pressing need for EMTs and paramedics.

There are Many Medical Careers in Demand Right Now

Medicine is often a calling. The urge to help people isn't pushed off by the years of schooling and long hours required to work in the healthcare industry, 

The medical careers in demand will shift over time as the needs of the population shift, but if any of these popular careers feel like your calling, now might be the time to jump in.

If you're ready to start looking for careers in the medical field, visit our site. We can help place you with the medical career of your dreams, or give you advice on how to get there.

Advance your career. Change your life. - HospitalCareers