With our aging population and expansion of our healthcare system, occupational prospects in the healthcare profession are favorable and expected to increase. The demands for more healthcare professionals continue to increase in this decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of healthcare practitioners is expected to increase by 26% from 2010 to 2020. The 26% expected increase in employment of healthcare practitioners is greater than the average expected increase for all occupations, which is 14%.
Here are the projected growth statistics for healthcare occupations that require doctoral degrees.
Audiologists evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with hearing and balance disorders. They also fit and dispense hearing aids to patients. Audiologists are licensed and have a doctoral degree in audiology (Aud.D.).
Chiropractors provide therapy to treat patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system. They use manipulation techniques and additional treatments such as heat or cold applications or massages to treat patient’s injured areas. Diagnostic techniques such as x-rays and physical examinations are used. Chiropractors are licensed and must complete a 4 year doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) degree program.
Dentists examine, diagnose and treat problems related to teeth and gums. They help patients maintain good oral health providing general and/or specialized dental care such as filling cavities, repairing or removing teeth, prescribing medications for dental procedures or treatment, and performing root-canal therapy. Dentists are licensed and have doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S) or doctor of dental medicine (D.D.M) degree through a 4 year postgraduate program.
Optometrists are eye doctors. They examine, diagnose, manage and treat disorders or injuries of the eyes. They also prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses and medications if needed. Optometrists are licensed and must complete a 4 year doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree program.
Pharmacists are experts in drug information and usage. In addition to dispensing prescription medications, pharmacists provide medication therapy management and drug consultations and recommendations to patients and healthcare providers. Pharmacists are licensed and obtain a doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD) after a 4 year postgraduate program.
Physical therapists evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with functional problems resulting from physical injuries, birth conditions or diseases. They use therapeutic activities such as exercise, stretching, and/or hands-on therapy to help patients with their ability to move. Physical therapists have doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree and are licensed.
Physicians and Surgeons
Physicians and surgeons examine, diagnose and treat injuries or diseases. They prescribe medications and therapies to treat patients. They are licensed, have doctor of medicine (MD) degree, and may be specialized in one or more medical specialties.
Podiatrists evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with problems associated with their feet, ankles, or lower leg. They treat patients by providing care instructions, prescribe medications and perform surgeries on lower leg problems. Podiatrists are licensed and have doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) degree.
Veterinarians examine, diagnose and treat health problems of animals. They provide information on general care, medical conditions and treatments of animals. They prescribe medication, perform surgeries and conduct research on medical conditions and diseases of animals. Veterinarians have a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and are licensed.
Healthcare practitioners are the foundation and framework of our healthcare system. They work together to ensure patients receive proper treatment in a timely manner. With the expected growth in demand for healthcare services, healthcare providers will continue to have job security and satisfying healthcare careers.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition.