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Health services workers at all levels of education and training are in demand. Many of the occupations projected to grow fastest are concentrated in the health services industry.

Growth aside, there is a shortage of skilled workers in the health services industry. From nurses to just about every key medical specialty is reporting a shortfall of workers; radiology and nuclear imaging technicians to pharmacists and emergency room doctors. Students pursuing these fields are almost guaranteed employment after education and/or training.

Nursing      •      Radiology/Nuclear Imaging      •      Pharmacy




In particular, there are not enough nurses to meet U.S. demand. The annual supply of nursing graduates has dropped at the same time demand for them is peaking as older Americans need care and head into retirement. There is tremendous job opportunity in this area.

  • The largest health care occupation, with more than 2 million jobs.
  • One of the 10 occupations projected to have the largest numbers of new jobs.
  • Earnings are above average, particularly for advanced practice nurses, who have additional education or training.

Registered nurses (RNs) work to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients cope with illness. They are advocates and health educators for patients, families, and communities. When providing direct patient care, they observe, assess, and provide the appropriate skilled interventions. In the acute care setting, nursing is a high -tech job, requiring computer skills and training to interpret cardiac rhythms, operate sophisticated monitoring equipment, perform beside tests and administer medications.

Like few others, the profession of nursing offers a wide variety of specialties. Here is a sampling of specialty areas from which you can choose:

  • Ambulatory care
  • Burn care
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Emergency
  • Geriatrics
  • Home care
  • Intensive care unit (cardiovascular, medical, neonatal and surgical)
  • Medical telemetry
  • Mother/baby care
  • Oncology
  • Operating room
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Recovery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Renal (diabetes and dialysis)
Want to know more? Click here to find a nursing program in
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Radiology/Nuclear Imaging

Radiologic technologists and technicians take x rays and administer nonradioactive materials into patients' blood streams for diagnostic purposes. Some specialize in diagnostic imaging technologies such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

More than half of all jobs are in hospitals. Most of the rest are in physicians' offices and clinics, including diagnostic imaging centers.

Formal training programs in radiography range in length from 1 to 4 years and lead to a certificate, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree. Two-year associate's degree programs are most prevalent. A bachelor's or master's degree in one of the radiologic technologies is desirable for supervisory, administrative, or teaching positions.

Radiography programs require, at a minimum, a high school diploma or the equivalent. High school courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology are helpful.

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Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. They advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosages, interactions, and side effects of medications.

About 6 out of 10 work in community pharmacies, either independently owned or part of a drug store chain, grocery store, department store, or mass merchandiser. A license to practice pharmacy is required. To obtain a license, one must serve an internship under a licensed pharmacist, graduate from an accredited college of pharmacy, and pass a State examination.

Employment of pharmacists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2010, due to the increased pharmaceutical needs of a larger and older population and greater use of medication.

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists provide medication and other healthcare products to patients. Technicians usually perform routine tasks to help prepare prescribed medication for patients, such as counting tablets and labeling bottles.

In hospitals, technicians have added responsibilities. They read patient charts and prepare and deliver the medicine to patients. The pharmacist must check the order before it is delivered to the patient. The technician then copies the information about the prescribed medication onto the patient's profile. Technicians also may assemble a 24-hour supply of medicine for every patient. They package and label each dose separately. The package is then placed in the medicine cabinet of each patient until the supervising pharmacist checks it for accuracy. It is then given to the patient.

Technicians entering the field need strong mathematics, spelling, and reading skills. A background in chemistry, English, and health education also may be beneficial. Some technicians are hired without formal training, but under the condition that they obtain certification within a specified period to retain employment.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board administers the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination. This exam is voluntary and displays the competency of the individual to act as a pharmacy technician. Eligible candidates must have a high school diploma or GED, and those who pass the exam earn the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). The exam is offered several times per year at various locations nationally. Employers, often pharmacists, know that individuals who pass the exam have a standardized body of knowledge and skills.

Pharmacy aides help licensed pharmacists with administrative duties in running a pharmacy. Aides often are clerks or cashiers who primarily answer telephones, handle money, stock shelves, and perform other clerical duties. They work closely with pharmacy technicians.

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Health Services Opportunities