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By 2020, 5.2 million more healthcare workers will be needed, study says

June 21, 2012
by Sandra Hoban
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Over the next eight years, healthcare demand will grow faster than the national economy, according to a new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce creating 5.2 million jobs. The numbers are even more staggering if behind-the-scenes employees such as office staff, pharmaceutical reps, accountants and the like are factored in.

The analysts also found that 4.6 million, or 82 percent, of those positions will require post-secondary education. The healthcare labor market has two labor markets: professional and support. Professional positions require advanced degrees, while support positions require high school and some college. The report’s lead author and director of the Center Anthony P. Carnevale in a statement added, “The pay gap is enormous: The average professional worker makes 2.5 times as much as the average support worker.”

Among the study’s findings:

  • Healthcare successfully competes for science and engineering talent because of the similar skills required.
  • There has been growth in the upskilling of nurses with 80 percent of entry-level nursing having at least an associate’s degree.
  • The largest number and proportion of foreign-born and –trained workers in the United States are employed in the healthcare field.

Whatever happens to the ACA, the healthcare field forecasts a steady growth in employment opportunities. To access an NPR interview with Anthony P. Carnevale, click here.

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