Healthcare workers maintain the health and condition of the human body. Jobs in the healthcare industry include not only doctors and nurses, but medical transcriptionists, pharmacy technicians, respiratory therapists, x-ray technicians, laboratory assistants, physician assistants, home health aides, dieticians and nutritionists, medical coders and billers and nursing assistants.
Learn about jobs in the healthcare industry:
- Illinois Department of Employment Security's Guide to Health Careers.
- Illinois workNet Healthcare Key Sector Page
- Healthcare Job Skills Training Programs in Chicago
Why Choose a Career in Healthcare?
A job in healthcare is a smart choice for a lot of reasons.
- The healthcare industry is huge-10.5% of the US labor force! This means that there are a lot of jobs out there already.
- Jobs in healthcare are projected to grow by 29% by 2010, as compared to 14% growth of non-health jobs. Many more jobs will be created or opening up over the next few years.
- Nine out of the 20 fastest growing jobs are in healthcare.
The healthcare industry reports a national shortage of skilled healthcare professionals to provide services to a growing population that is aging faster and living longer. The shortage is so severe that the American Hospital Association has labeled this situation "the looming crisis in healthcare." [Source: In Our Hands, American Hospital Association Commission on Workforce for Hospitals and Health Systems, April 2002.]
The healthcare industry employs a lot of people. Eight of the top 50 employers in the Chicagoland area are hospitals. An additional six of the top 50 employers are healthcare-related companies (e.g., pharmacies, drug manufacturers, home health care agencies, etc.). [Source: Illinois Workforce Information Center]
How Do I Get a Job in Healthcare?
First, you need to determine what kind of healthcare job interests you. The Illinois Career Resource Network Countdown has several resources that can help you determine your career interests. Once you know what your interests are, the Illinois Career Resource Network can also help you find jobs to match your interests. There are several guides that can give you more information about the many different jobs in the healthcare industry. Check out these websites:
- Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (Click on publications, then Health Careers Guide)
- Illinois Department of Employment Security Guide to Healthcare Careers
Can I Work in Healthcare if I Have a Disability?
Absolutely! Many people with disabilities have been told that healthcare careers are not open to them because they are disabled, but this is simply not true! There are many people with disabilities working in the healthcare industry. In fact, there are several resources for people with disabilities working in the healthcare industry, such as:
- Health Care Workers & the Americans with Disabilities Act (EEOC Factsheet)
- National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND)
If you are still in school, begin preparing now! The Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council has a timetable for high school students that lists the actions that should be taken at each year of a four-year high school experience. That timetable can be found by clicking here, and then clicking "Publications," "Health Careers Guide," and "High School Timetable for Students" in the lefthand column of the webpage.
If you are Chicago Public Schools student, another option you may be interested in is the Education to Careers Program (ETC). ETC has four programs available in healthcare-two general career preparation programs, a medical assistant program and a laboratory aide program. If you or your child are in elementary or middle school and a student of Chicago Public Schools, you may want to consider going to a high school that offers one of these programs.