The 5 Fastest-Growing Healthcare Industries

By Elsie Boskamp - Mar. 8, 2021

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Healthcare professionals are needed now more than ever before. Amid a global pandemic, it’s no surprise that health-care-services are expected to grow at unprecedented rates over the next ten years. As a whole, the industry is projected to see the most economic growth among the country’s 20 fastest growing occupations.

So, what does this mean? Well, to put it simply, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare and social-assistance professionals are in rapidly growing demand. This above-average industry growth rate translates to more jobs and employment opportunities, better medical care, and the chance to make more money.

The rapidly growing demand for physicians, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, mental health professionals, physician assistants, and other medical professionals is rooted in an increasing demand for quality medical care.
Baby boomers are leading this job growth and industry expansion, as more employers are needed to care for this aging population and tend to more patients with diseases and chronic conditions. This high demand places many healthcare occupations on track to increase by 30 percent by 2029.

The job market forecast for medical professionals looks promising and profitable. Annual growth was already seen in 2020 in the healthcare industry. Home health aides, personal care aides, and occupational therapy assistants all saw job growth.

How Are the Fastest-Growing Industries Identified

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates industry growth rates. Using labor statistics, the BLS develops ten-year employment projections to predict how the job market will change and what the labor market will look like in the coming years.

The Bureau of Labor has predicted industry growth rates since the late 1970s. The latest projections examine economic and employment growth rates between 2019 and 2029. Based on labor statistics, five out of 20 of the fastest growing industries are in healthcare and social assistance.

The data also pointed to an overarching job market growth-rate. Employment is expected to grow by 6 million, from 162.8 million in 2019 to 168.8 million in 2029.

Although this annual growth rate sits at 0.4 percent, slower than the rapid employment growth seen between 2009 and 2019, employment opportunities remain promising, especially in the fastest-growing markets.

High growth sectors are determined by closely analyzing job requirements, production needs, and economic input and output. Employment experts use this fundamental methodology, coupled with advanced data and measuring systems, to predict future labor demands and opportunities for economic growth and stimulation.

These labor statistics are regularly used in career planning, policy decisions, education and training programs, and investment decisions.

Top Five Fastest Growing Healthcare and Social-Assistance Industries

If you’re considering a career path in the home healthcare, social-assistance, or medical service industry, you’re in luck. Health-care-services are expected to grow faster than almost any other professional sector in the country.

The growth rate for occupations in healthcare and social assistance occupations is projected, on average, to increase by at least 30 percent between 2019 and 2029, as illustrated by labor statistics. That puts the annual growth rate at least double that of the rate of growth for all occupations.

Using Bureau of Labor statistics and relevant industry data, we’ve rounded up the top five fast-growing markets within the healthcare industry. Here are some of the best healthcare establishments for job growth and economic prosperity:

  1. Individual and family services. Individual and family services are the second-fastest-growing career market in the country and the fastest growing industry within the healthcare sector.

    The annual growth rate for occupations in individual and family services is projected to be 3.4 percent from 2019 to 2029. That’s one of the fastest-growing rates among all occupations.

    By 2029, experts predict there will be approximately 3.7 million individuals employed in private and public establishments specializing in individual and family services — that’s one million more jobs than there were in 2019.

    Careers in individual and family services include family therapists, marriage counselors, healthcare social workers, personal care aides, community health workers, child, family and school social workers, social service assistants, and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors.

  2. Home healthcare services. Labor statistics predict home healthcare services to growing by 2.6 percent each year between now and 2029.

    Home healthcare services are growing more than 2 percent faster than all other occupations. Within ten years, nearly 500,000 more professions will be employed in this industry than there was in 2019.

    Home healthcare services are in high demand across the country as life expectancies increase and the country’s population continues to age and develop chronic conditions.

    In 2019, personal care assistants were the second-fastest-growing job in Oklahoma, and home health aides were the third-fastest growing-career in Idaho.

    Home health aides and personal care assistants assist in the care and daily lives of people with disabilities, illnesses, or mental impairments.

    Professionals employed in-home healthcare services typically help clients with daily hygiene, including dressing and bathing, prepare meals, and administer medications.

  3. Outpatient care centers. Careers in outpatient care centers are expected to grow by 2.6 percent per year within the next ten years. That growth-rate translates to nearly 300,000 more jobs.

    More specifically, careers in outpatient mental health centers are the fastest growing within this establishment. Between 2019 and 2029, outpatient mental health centers will see a 15 percent growth in employment and a boost in revenues.

    Medical professionals employed in outpatient care centers consult with patients, perform procedures and develop treatment plans that do not require a patient to spend the night at a hospital or medical facility. This can include anything from chemotherapy treatments to going to see your primary care provider.

    Some of the best-paid and fastest-growing outpatient care professions involve physical and occupational therapy services.

    In 2019, physical therapy assistants, physical therapy aides, and physical therapists were all among the top ten fastest-growing jobs in Tennessee. Similarly, occupational therapy was the third fastest-growing gig in Texas.

  4. Offices and other health practitioners. The vast majority of other healthcare practitioners, including nurse practitioners, medical and health service managers, speech-language pathologists, and physician assistants, will also see above-average job-growth by 2029.

    Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that offices and other health practitioners will see a 22 percent growth over the next ten years or 2.2 percent per year. These numbers translate to more than 230,000 additional openings in medical offices.

    Among some of the fastest-growing jobs within this industry are physician assistants. By 2029, an estimated 164,800 physician assistants will be employed across the nation.

    The high demand for these medical professionals was already seen in 2019 when physician assistants ranked among the top ten fastest-growing occupations in Nebraska.

  5. Other ambulatory healthcare services. Rounding out the top five fastest-growing healthcare industries are other ambulatory healthcare services.

    Labor statistics illustrate an average growth rate of 1.6 percent for careers in other ambulatory healthcare services, which is four times higher than the average growth rate for other occupations. Come 2029, there will be more than 53,000 jobs available than there were in 2019.

    Like outpatient care, ambulatory healthcare services provide patients with essential care without requiring them to spend the night in a hospital or medical facility. Ambulatory healthcare services are typically offered at ambulatory surgery centers, primary care clinics, community health centers, pharmacies, or urgent care clinics.

    One of the most accessible, rewarding, and rapidly growing careers in ambulatory healthcare services is working as an emergency medical technician. EMTs are in high-demand, so the job forecast is promising. In 2019, emergency medical technicians ranked about the ten fastest-growing jobs in Alabama.

Best Jobs in Rapidly Growing Healthcare Industries

Now that you know which healthcare and social assistance industries are expected to be the fastest-growing with the best career and financial opportunities, let’s dive into the specific jobs that are projected to grow much faster than average.
If you’re looking to make the big bucks, these healthcare career options could be right for you:

  • Nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioner careers are expected to grow by more than 52 percent between 2019 and 2029. Nurse practitioners work independently or alongside other healthcare professionals to provide primary and specialty health care services and manage their patients’ overall care.

  • Occupational therapy assistants. Occupational therapy assistants will see a 34 percent growth within the next ten years, translating to more than 16,000 new jobs.

    Occupational therapy assistants work in therapist officers, hospitals, and nursing and rehab facilities to help patients develop, recover, and maintain essential life skills.

  • Home health and personal care aides. By 2029, there will be 1.2 million more jobs for home health and personal care aides than there were in 2019. This 33 percent growth rate is much faster than average.

    Home health and personal care aides provide care to people with disabilities, illnesses, or mental impairments.

  • Physical therapist assistants. Between 2019 and 2019, the market for physical therapy assistants is projected to grow by more than 30 percent, translating to 32,000 more jobs.

    Physical therapist assistants work with physical therapists to help patients manage pain and regain movement after injury or illness.

  • Medical and health services managers. Labor statistics show a 31 percent increase in the medical and health services management industry within the next ten years. Medical and health service managers, or healthcare executives, manage healthcare business operations.

  • Physician assistants. Physician assistants are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor puts job growth at just over 31 percent between 2019 and 2029. Physician assistants often serve as primary healthcare providers.

    They diagnose and examine patients, prescribe medications, and develop treatment plans.

  • Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors. Approximately 79,000 new jobs will become available before 2029 in the substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling industries.

    Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors provide counseling services to individuals suffering from addiction or behavioral problems.

  • Speech-language pathologists. Speech-language pathologist careers are expected to grow by nearly 25 percent between 2019 and 2029, translating to more than 40,000 jobs. Speech-language pathologists typically work in hospitals or healthcare facilities to identify and treat speech and swallowing disorders.

Other Fast-Growing Markets in Key Industries

So, what if you’re not interested in healthcare but still want to find stable employment in one of America’s fastest-growing industries? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Although healthcare and social assistance industries account for most of the 20 fastest-growing jobs from 2019 to 2029, there are still plenty of other industries projected to see positive growth and increased employment opportunities.

Here are some of the fastest-growing non-healthcare industries:

  • Mining. Mining is hard work, but, believe it or not, the industry is growing, and fast. Labor statistics show that mining and support activities for mining are seeing rapid job growth.

    According to the data, more than 110,000 employees will be hired in the mining industry by 2029, which is a yearly growth rate of 2.8 percent.

    Mining is in high-demand, and hiring managers are scrambling to fill new jobs. This growing industry looks both promising and profitable. Effects of the projected growth-rate can already be seen across the country. The expanding industry was the fastest-growing job in Arizona in 2019.

  • Personal services. Personal service careers are on track to see a 27 percent overall growth between 2019 and 2029. In the next ten years, nearly 100,000 people will find employment in the personal service industry.

    Personal services encompass a wide range of duties, including laundry and cleaning services, non-medical pet care, parking services, death care, and a variety of other personal assistance work.

    Individuals with careers in personal services are typically employed for individuals, households, or businesses.

  • Educational services. Good teachers are almost always in high demand. Education services will see a 2 percent annual growth between 2019 and 2029, leading to more than 175,000 new hires.

    Employers are searching for experienced educators to lead productive and welcoming classrooms and foster creativity and knowledge among America’s youth.

    Educational service careers are available in all areas of schooling, including primary, secondary, and post-secondary, and at various training facilities and certification centers.

  • Computer systems design and related services. It’s no surprise that computer systems design and related services are on the rise. This industry is projected to see a ten-year 23 percent growth, which will help establish more than 574,000 new jobs.

    This rapid job growth is fueled by the advancement of modern technologies and high consumer needs for quality technical services.

    Sales growth and new employment opportunities have already been seen across the country, including in California, where website and software development rank among the top 10 fastest-growing careers.

  • Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance. Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance personnel are in high demand. Their highly sought-after skill sets have elevated job growth and increased revenue.

    This equipment repair and maintenance market is on track to grow by 14 percent within the next ten years, opening more than 33,000 job opportunities. Included in this industry are wind turbine service technicians, which were dubbed one of the fastest-growing environmentally friendly jobs in 2020.

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Elsie Boskamp

Elsie is an experienced writer, reporter, and content creator. As a leader in her field, Elsie is best known for her work as a Reporter for The Southampton Press, but she can also be credited with contributions to Long Island Pulse Magazine and Hamptons Online. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Stony Brook University and currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee.

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