Career Trends for LVNs and LPNs as projected by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Employment of LVNs / LPNs is projected to grow much faster than average. Overall job prospects are expected to be very good, but job outlook varies by industry. The best job opportunities will occur in nursing care facilities and home healthcare services.
Employment change: Employment of LVNs / LPNs is expected to grow by 21 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations, in response to the long-term care needs of an increasing elderly population and the general increase in demand for healthcare services.
Demand for LVNs / LPNs will be driven by the increase in the share of the older population. Older persons have an increased incidence of injury and illness, which will increase their demand for healthcare services. In addition, with better medical technology, people are living longer, increasing the demand for long-term healthcare. Job growth will occur over all healthcare settings but especially those that service the geriatric population like nursing care facilities, community care facilities, and home healthcare services.
In order to contain healthcare costs, many procedures once performed only in hospitals are being performed in physicians' offices and in outpatient care centers, largely because of advances in technology. As a result, the number of LVNs / LPNs should increase faster in these facilities than in hospitals. Nevertheless, hospitals will continue to demand the services of LVNs / LPNs and will remain one of the largest employers of these workers.
Job prospects: In addition to projected job growth, job openings will result from replacement needs, as many workers leave the occupation permanently. Very good job opportunities are expected. Rapid employment growth is projected in most healthcare industries, with the best job opportunities occurring in nursing care facilities and in home healthcare services. There is a perceived inadequacy of available healthcare in many rural areas, so LVNs / LPNs willing to locate in rural areas should have good job prospects.
About the field of Physical Therapy
Physical Therapists (PTs) receive specialized education in a variety of sciences such as physics, human anatomy and physiology and kinesiology that enables them to understand how the body works. They know how to incorporate all four of the body's major systems (musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary) to restore and maximize mobility and function and manage pain. PTs are independent practitioners of choice for the management of movement disorders. Physical Therapy students today are required in nearly all programs nationwide to complete a clinical doctorate degree from an accredited education program. Currently nearly all colleges and universities nationwide offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.
About Physical Therapist Assistants
Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) are the only health care providers besides Physical Therapists trained and licensed to provide physical therapy. PTAs provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. PTAs complete an intensive education culminating in an associate degree and must hold licenses to practice in every state except Colorado and Hawaii. PTAs are distinguished from physical therapy assistants, aides or technicians who are trained on-the-job and not eligible to provide physical therapy by many payers, including Medicare. PTs may utilize a PTA to provide therapeutic exercise, functional training, or modalities such as electrotherapy, ultrasound, and other treatments as part of the patient’s plan of care which is designed by the PT.
Physical Therapist Assistant Employment Outlook
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) www.apta.org individuals looking for a rewarding career in a struggling job market and down economy, may find a career in physical therapy to be the perfect answer. The soaring demand for physical therapist assistants can be attributed to the aging population who are more vulnerable to chronic and debilitating conditions that require physical therapy services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for physical therapist assistants is expected to spike upward by an astonishing 35% between 2008 and 2018-a much quicker rate than average. As of 2010, there are approximately 63,800 licensed/certified physical therapist assistants working in the United States, and that number is expected to jump to 85,000 over the next 10 years.
Benefits to Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant
PTAs have a wide choice of employment opportunities ranging from hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities to include fitness and wellness-oriented programs under the direction and supervision of a licensed PT. PTAs most often work regular business hours, providing more ability for a balanced lifestyle. PTAs can derive great job satisfaction by helping clients regain function, manage pain and prevent injury and disability
What you will gain from a Physical Therapist Assistant Education
According to the APTA, “the purpose of PTA education is to graduate knowledgeable, competent, self-assured, adaptable, and service-oriented patient/client care providers. PTA education prepares the graduate to perform selected components of intervention and data collection and assess the patient's/client's safety and response to the interventions provided under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist in an ethical, legal, safe, and effective manner. Additionally, graduates of PTA programs must be prepared to communicate with other members of the health care deliver team; interact with members of the patient's/client's family and caregivers; and work cooperatively with other health care providers. Graduates are prepared to participate with the physical therapist in teaching other health care providers and providing psychosocial support for patients/clients and their families and caregivers with recognition of individual, cultural, and economic differences.”
Career Trends for MRI Technologists (grouped in the category of Radiologic Technologists) as projected by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Employment is projected to grow faster than average. Those with knowledge of more than one diagnostic imaging procedure -- such as CT, MR, and mammography -- will have the best employment opportunities.
Employment change: Employment of radiologic technologists is expected to increase by about 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. As the population grows and ages, there will be an increasing demand for diagnostic imaging. With age comes increased incidence of illness and injury, which often requires diagnostic imaging for diagnosis. In addition to diagnosis, diagnostic imaging is used to monitor the progress of disease treatment. With the increasing success of medical technologies in treating disease, diagnostic imaging will increasingly be needed to monitor progress of treatment.
The extent to which diagnostic imaging procedures are performed depends largely on cost and reimbursement considerations. However, accurate early disease detection allows for lower cost of treatment in the long run, which many third-party payers find favorable.
Although hospitals will remain the principal employer of radiologic technologists, a number of new jobs will be found in offices of physicians and diagnostic imaging centers. As technology advances many imaging modalities are becoming less expensive and more feasible to have in a physician’s office.
Job prospects: In addition to job growth, job openings also will arise from the need to replace technologists who leave the occupation. Those with knowledge of more than one diagnostic imaging procedure -- such as CT, MR, and mammography—will have the best employment opportunities as employers seek to control costs by using multi-credentialed employees.
Demand for radiologic technologists and technicians can tend to be regional with some areas having large demand, while other areas are saturated. Technologists and technicians willing to relocate may have better job prospects.
CT is continuing to become a frontline diagnosis tool. Instead of taking x rays to decide whether a CT is needed, as was the practice before, it is often the first choice for imaging because of its accuracy. MR also is increasingly used. Technologists with credentialing in either of these specialties will be very marketable to employers.
Career Trends for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers as projected by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Faster than average employment growth is expected. Job opportunities should be favorable.
Employment change: Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by about 18 percent through 2018 -- faster than the average for all occupations. As the population continues to age, there will be an increasing demand for diagnostic imaging. Additional job growth is expected as healthcare providers increasingly utilize ultrasound imaging as a safer and more cost-effective alternative to radiological procedures. Ultrasound imaging technology is expected to evolve rapidly and spawn many new sonography procedures, enabling sonographers to scan and image areas of the body where ultrasound has not traditionally been used.
Hospitals will remain the principal employer of diagnostic medical sonographers. However, employment is expected to grow more rapidly in offices of physicians and in medical and diagnostic laboratories. Health care facilities such as these are expected to increase in number because of the strong shift toward outpatient care, encouraged by third-party payers and made possible by technological advances and less expensive ultrasound equipment that permit more procedures to be performed outside of hospitals.
Job prospects: Job opportunities should be favorable. In addition to job openings from growth, some openings will arise from the need to replace sonographers who retire or leave the occupation permanently. However, job opportunities will vary by geographic area. Sonographers willing to relocate will have the best job opportunities. Sonographers with multiple specialties or multiple credentials also will have good prospects.
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