Top 10 Healthcare Careers for 2016

There are lots of different careers in the healthcare field, but not all are created equal. If you were that eight-year-old whose dream was to be a doctor, you’re going to need to get more specific! What KIND of doctor?

Guess what—we can help you answer that question now! Here are the best healthcare careers in the United States. And by “best,” I mean the ones that have grown the fastest, added the most jobs, and pay the highest. They are ranked by salary in the list below, but pay attention to the number of new jobs and the percent growth, too!

1. Going under

Anesthesiologists require a lot of training! They need to know chemistry, physiology, and pharmacology in order to do their job well and safely. So it’s easy to see why this career demands a doctorate, which translates into 10-15 years of higher education.

The profession of Anesthesiologist is still relatively young. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that America recognized we needed people to specialize in this area. Anesthesiologists are responsible for dulling pain or putting patients completely under during a medical procedure.

Anesthesiologists are also the highest-paid profession on our list, earning approximately $201K a year. This job has seen some decent growth—7,000 new jobs since 2011 (10% growth)—but note that these numbers are low(ish) for healthcare occupations. And the lower the job growth, the more competition you could face trying to get a job.

2. “Nurse, scalpel.”

Talk about high-pressure situations! Surgeons literally hold their patients’ lives in their hands on a daily basis. In order to be certified for this job, you will need a doctorate. Surgeons’ growth has been similar to Anesthesiologists: 9,600 new jobs (10%). Their annual salary is $191K on average.

3. A straighter smile

Orthodontists are a specialized branch of dentistry. While they added only 1,000 new jobs since 2011, this equals 11% growth—pretty solid. This means the demand for Orthodontists is definitely growing. They earn more than $167K a year.

4. Did you remember to floss?

Visiting the Dentist was a big event for me when I was a kid. I mean, who doesn’t get excited about sitting in a big chair and getting a new toothbrush and toy? (Okay, maybe I was the odd kid out.) Dentists prevent, spot, and cure any disease you could get in your mouth. And they are in demand! From 2011 to 2016, over 20,000 dentist jobs were added (11% growth). On average, Dentists make about $150K a year. That’s a lot of green!

5. Your baby blues

pexels-photo-1If you want to help the world see better, now is a good time to start on the adventure of becoming an Optometrist, or what you may be used to calling simply the “eye doctor.”

Optometrists check your eyes for sight and health issues, and on average make $110K a year. Optometry has seen a 17% growth since 2011, and about 11,000 new jobs.

6. Doctor’s helpers

Physician Assistants have quite a bit of power. They can examine and diagnose patients (under the supervision of a doctor), prescribe medication, and assist in surgery. One big difference between a PA and a doctor is that PA doesn’t need a doctorate, just a master’s degree. They make about $95K a year. And this job has increased by 16% since 2011, with over 24,000 new jobs.

7. The unsupervised helpers

Nurse Practitioners are similar to Physician Assistants, except they can examine and diagnose patients without a doctor’s supervision. So they’re a little more advanced than PAs. You will need a master’s degree to become a Nurse Practitioner, and on average you’ll be making $90K a year. Over 35,000 jobs have been added since 2011, with jobs rising 18%. That’s a lot of growth!

8. Lions and tigers and bears…

Helping animals have healthy, happy lives is a great job! Mind you, it isn’t always easy or pleasant. Veterinarians really have to get their hands dirty. But if that’s your dream, now is a good time to enter this field: Vets have grown by 17% since 2011 and have added over 14,000 jobs. You would need a doctorate, and would earn about $77K annually.

9. Keeping fit as a fiddle

If you enjoy helping people one-on-one, becoming a Physical Therapist might be for you. These folks help people prevent or manage physical pain by creating personalized exercise plans. This job has increased by 14% over the past five years, with over 53,000 new jobs. But something to keep in mind: While Physical Therapists must have a doctorate, they earn only $75K a year on average. This is on the lower side of pay grades for this list, but if helping people become more mobile and pain-free gets you excited, go for it!

10. Do you hear what I hear?

person-woman-music-pinkAudiologists study disorders associated with hearing and balance. Your ears are very important; they keep you from falling over all the time, and of course they make it a heck of a lot easier to communicate with other humans. Audiologists have grown by 2,900 jobs, rising 13% since 2011. These doctors make about $57K a year and must have a doctorate.

And there you go—a lot of information! If you see a couple jobs you like but don’t know which one would be best for you, go to and take our Discovery Questionnaire. We can help you pinpoint the careers that best fit your strengths and interests. So what are you waiting for? Let’s do this thing!

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