Are you a Florida resident who’s interested in training for a new career? Even with the current uncertainty in the economy, consider looking at healthcare. Healthcare job openings across a number of occupations have been growing for many years, thanks in part to rising demand driven by an aging baby boom generation. Much has changed since the start of 2020, but that underlying trend hasn’t.
Another thing that hasn’t changed? Florida’s percentage of adults over 65 in its population is still one of the nation’s highest. The Population Reference Board reported that in 2018, 20.5% of Florida’s population was over the age of 65. Only Maine’s share of older adults was higher, at 20.6%.[i] That large population of senior adults is likely to continue driving more demand for healthcare workers in Florida for some time to come.
Healthcare Jobs Have Been Among Florida’s Fastest Growing
For the last several years, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has published Regional Demand Occupation Lists (RDOL). These reports look at the 100 fastest-growing careers which require less than a bachelor’s degree. In the 2019-2020 RDOL, five of the top 10 fastest-growing careers in Florida were in healthcare.[ii]
In this article, we look at four healthcare careers from the 2019-2020 RDOL list you may want to consider as you research your career training options. None of these career paths require a four-year degree for entry-level applicants.
Please note: all growth rates quoted in this article come from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and were compiled before the start of 2020. They may not reflect the current economic situation and are subject to change. Local job markets will vary.
2019-2020 Florida RDOL Projected Growth Rate: 2.20%, or an additional 2,662 jobs statewide. [iii]
What they do: Dental assistants help dentists and dental hygienists with procedures, provide administrative office support, and interact with patients. Their duties may include everything from taking x-rays to processing insurance claims and re-stocking medical supplies.
Where they work: The vast majority of dental assistants work in dentists’ offices. Some may work in physicians’ offices or for government agencies (for example, on a military base).[iv]
How to Become One: You will need to have a high school diploma or GED and then complete a post-secondary diploma program.
At Altierus Career College in Tampa, we offer a nine-month program that covers fundamental knowledge and skills, such as preventative dentistry, nutrition, dental radiology, and the major dental specialties, including orthodontics and periodontics. You’ll also learn CPR and how to handle medical emergencies that may arise in the office. Learn more about our dental assistant diploma program.
Registered Nurses (RNs)
2019-2020 Florida RDOL Projected Growth Rate: 1.92%, or an additional 14,248 jobs statewide. [v]
What they do: RNs are the front line of the healthcare system. They provide direct patient care and also educate, advise and support patients and their carers about managing health conditions.
Where they work: In 2018, 60% of the nation’s nurses worked in hospitals. The rest worked in settings such as care homes, outpatient care clinics, physicians’ offices, and other facilities.[vi]
How to Become One: You will need to have a high school diploma or GED. Then you must complete an associate degree program, pass the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN), and apply to obtain licensure to practice in Florida.
Altierus in Tampa offers an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program you can complete in as few as 24 months of study. The program covers the foundation of competent nursing care. You’ll be able to complete clinical rotations with our extensive network of Florida healthcare partners. We also help you prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam—we even cover your testing fees as part of your tuition. Learn more about our Tampa nursing program.
Medical Record and Health Information Technicians (“Billers and Coders”)
2019-2020 Florida RDOL Projected Growth Rate: 1.82%, or an additional 937 jobs statewide. [vii]
What they do: Medical billers and coders process patient records and insurance claims, entering data into computer systems and making phone calls to follow up on questions, payments, and other issues.
Medical coding turns practitioner records into standardized codes that can be processed for insurance records and public health research data. Medical billing focuses on the insurance side, ensuring that practitioners are paid properly and that patients receive appropriate coverage.
You can learn more about the differences between medical billing and coding in another article. Note that many employers will offer jobs that combine both functions, especially at smaller facilities.
Where they work: In 2018, 34% of medical billers and coders worked in hospitals. The rest worked in doctors’ offices, care homes, insurance companies, and other organizations.[viii]
How to Become One: You’ll need a postsecondary diploma, and to compete for some roles you may also need industry certification.
Our Tampa campus offers a medical billing and coding diploma that you can finish in as few as eight months. The program covers topics including anatomy, physiology and health insurance, along with practical experience using the latest billing and coding software. Your training also includes preparation and testing fees for the American Association of Professional Coders’ Certified Professional Coder (CPC) examination. Find out more about our medical billing and coding program in Tampa.
2019-2020 Florida RDOL Projected Growth Rate: 1.65%, or an additional 764 jobs statewide. [ix]
What they do: Surgical technologists assist surgical teams by ensuring all operations are adequately supplied with the correct instruments and materials, all ORs are sterilized, and all patients are safely transported to and from procedures. During procedures, their duties may also include tasks such as basic suturing, cleaning or dressing wounds, and passing instruments to the surgeon.
Where they work: As of 2018, 72% of surgical technologists in the U.S. worked in hospitals. The rest worked in outpatient clinics, physicians’ offices and dental practices.[x]
How to Become One: You will need to complete a surgical technology associate degree program. While Florida does not require surgical technologists to be certified, many employers prefer candidates who also have national certification.
Altierus in Tampa offers an Associate of Science in Surgical Technology program which you can complete in as few as 24 months. You’ll be matched with a local hospital or surgical center to complete clinical rotations, and you’ll also receive support and preparation for a surgical tech certification exam, such as the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Learn more about our surgical tech degree program.
Find a Healthcare Career Training Program in Florida
Need more help finding a career training program that’s right for you? At Altierus Career College, helping you get on a career path is what we do. Contact us today to get help identifying a healthcare training program that matches your interests.
[ii] http://www.floridajobs.org/workforce-statistics/publications-and-reports/labor-market-information-reports/regional-demand-occupations-list, “2019-2020 Regional Demand Occupations List” [Excel file]
[iii] http://www.floridajobs.org/workforce-statistics/publications-and-reports/labor-market-information-reports/regional-demand-occupations-list, “2019-2020 Regional Demand Occupations List” [Excel file]
[v] http://www.floridajobs.org/workforce-statistics/publications-and-reports/labor-market-information-reports/regional-demand-occupations-list, “2019-2020 Regional Demand Occupations List” [Excel file]
[vii] http://www.floridajobs.org/workforce-statistics/publications-and-reports/labor-market-information-reports/regional-demand-occupations-list, “2019-2020 Regional Demand Occupations List” [Excel file]
[ix] http://www.floridajobs.org/workforce-statistics/publications-and-reports/labor-market-information-reports/regional-demand-occupations-list, “2019-2020 Regional Demand Occupations List” [Excel file]