As the national economy continues to struggle, medical careers can offer better job security and higher pay, leading many midlife career changers to move from an office building to a hospital.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in July of 2011, the national unemployment rate reached 9.1%. During that same month, hospital workers were unemployed at only 3.3%.
In fact, the BLS predicts that between 2008 and 2018, jobs for nurses in particular will increase by 22%. Also projected to rise in the next seven years are jobs for physician assistants (PA). BLS estimates that by 2018, there will be 39% more PA positions available in the United States.
In addition to job security, even in a struggling economy, hospital employees are bringing in bigger paychecks than the average American. As of July, 2011, the national average hourly earnings were $23.13, which works out to roughly $46,000 a year. Hospital employees are averaging hourly earnings of $27.75, or roughly $55,500 a year.
Midlife Career Changers
In addition to monetary reasons, many midlife career changers are choosing careers in medicine because they are looking to get fulfillment from their job.
Medicine at its root is about healing, and people working in the medical field get the satisfaction of knowing that on any given day, they could truly affect someone’s life for the better.
According to a 2005 Johns Hopkins study, 73% of healthcare employees nationally are satisfied with their job.
A 2010 Conference Board survey showed that only 45% of American workers are satisfied with their jobs – the lowest tally since 1987.
If that’s not enough reason to consider a career switch, then what is?
Medical Career Change
With these reasons in mind, many Americans are pursuing medical career changes.
According to the Associate of American Medical Colleges, 5% of medicals students are above the age of 30 when they start school. Considering medical school takes four years, residency takes three years, and specialized fellowship programs can add a few more years to a doctor’s education, 5% is a big portion.
Many people also make the decision to start a second career as a nurse. A Health Resources and Services Administration survey revealed that only 9% of registered nurses (RN) are below the age of 30. And the average age of an RN is about 45 years old.
So whether you are looking for more stability, more money, or a feeling of personal satisfaction from your career, you will not be alone if you decide to have a second career in medicine.
Author: Brendan Purves