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"The health care and social assistance sector is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, adding 5.0 million jobs between 2012 and 2022," reports the BLS in a news release. "This accounts for nearly one-third of the total projected increase in jobs. The growth reflects, in part, the demand for health care workers to address the needs of an aging population."
Baby Boomers will have another effect on the workforce, the Bureau reports. As older workers retire, and the birthrate declines, the annual labor force growth rate is expected to decline over the next decade, from 0.7 percent annually during the previous ten years to 0.5 percent.
Occupations with the most projected growth over the next ten years include:
Personal Care Aides: Median income of $21,019 annually
Registered Nurses: Median income of $56,173 annually
Home Health Aides: Median income of $20,813 annually
Nursing Assistants: Median income of $25,199 annually
Many of these jobs require less than four years of post-secondary education (although RNs, it should be noted, increasingly have better career options if they obtain bachelor's degrees instead of associate's.)
Still, USA Today notes that jobs that require some education past high school have higher median wages and a better growth projection than those that do not. Jobs that required more education had median wages of $57,770 for 2012, as opposed to $27,670 for those that didn't. In addition, these occupations are expected to grow by 14 percent, instead of 9.1 percent.
So despite the ongoing debate on the value of a college education, your odds of employment and higher wages increase if you get a degree in this growth sector.
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