If someone asked you to list what you believe are the top five healthcare jobs in America, what would they be? Your criteria for ranking healthcare jobs would be partially determined by what is important to you. So your top five might differ from someone else’s. With that in mind, this post discusses the top five as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
The publication puts out its list of top healthcare jobs annually. In fact, they produce similar reports for numerous industries. U.S. News & World Report looks at things like average salary, available jobs, education and training, etc. to determine rankings.
#1 – Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are becoming increasingly important in primary care, geriatric medicine, and pediatrics. They are being asked to take some of the burden off primary care physicians so that those physicians can concentrate their efforts on more demanding cases. And in many states, lawmakers are starting to remove the direct supervision requirements that keep NPs tethered to physicians.
Allowing NPs to provide primary care free from physician supervision is a big deal. NPs must have master’s degrees to be licensed, so it’s not like they lack the education to offer safe and high quality primary care. Lawmakers are finally coming to terms with that. As for salary, the average among America’s NPs is just over $111,000.
#2 – Physician Assistant
It is not surprising to see physician assistants (PAs) take second place to NPs. Practically speaking, PAs perform similar work. They work directly with physicians to diagnose illness, come up with care plans, and prescribe medications. They even assist in surgeries.
PAs are licensed to do certain things that NPs cannot do. But as far as primary care is concerned, the two positions are quite similar. Some of the same states that are looking to free NPs from direct supervision are hoping to do the same for PAs in a primary care setting. The average salary for a PA in the U.S. is approximately $115,000.
#3 – Speech Language Pathologist
Number three among the top five healthcare jobs is that of speech language pathologist. This is an interesting entry on many levels. Speech pathology is not something that most of us think much about. It is a specialty that you might never consider unless someone in your family has need of it. Nonetheless, speech language pathologists play a vital role in the healthcare system. They must have a master’s degree and they earn approximately $80,000 annually.
#4 – Physician
Are you surprised that the physician job comes in at the fourth position? If so, you are not alone. Our culture has a tendency to assume that the physician career tops all other healthcare jobs for pay, benefits, prestige, and so on. Yet U.S. News & World Report has physicians behind NPs, PAs, and speech language pathologists. The average physician still makes good money, though. Their average salary is about $208,000.
#5 – Registered Nurse
The registered nurse (RN) career takes the fifth spot on the list. RNs play a critical role in delivering quality healthcare across the entire spectrum. They work in hospitals and public clinics. They work in private practices, schools, and government institutions. Many states allow licensing with just a bachelor’s degree. The average salary for an RN is just over $73,000.
There are many more types of healthcare jobs other than these five. From clinical to allied and support positions, healthcare is an industry with a lot to offer. But of course, you searching for a job on our site is evidence that you already know that.