The momentum of healthcare as the fastest growing career sector in the United States continues! If you are looking to start, change or advance your profession, a career in medical imaging, including ultrasound or sonography, is a great option.
Job Growth for Ultrasound Technicians
The BLS Report
Just a few weeks ago, on December 19, 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released an “Employment Projections—2012-2022” report stating that, “Occupations and industries related to healthcare are projected to add the most new jobs between 2012 and 2022.”
Specifically the healthcare and social assistance sector is estimated to grow 2.6% year accounting for 5.0 million new jobs from 2012 to 2022 (almost one third of the total job increase in the country).
Diagnostic medical sonographers (also may be known as ultrasonographers, ultrasound technologists …) are ranked #6 among the 30 occupations projected to see the fastest growth. According to the BLS, sonographer positions will increase 46% between 2012 and 2022 (and in 2012 their median annual salary was $65,860).
Other healthcare and allied health positions among the top 30 fastest growing occupations reported by the BLS include: Home Health Aides (48.5%), Occupational Therapy Assistants (42.6%), Physical Therapist Assistants (41.0%), Physical Therapist Aides (40.1%), Physician Assistants (38.4%), Occupational Therapy Aides (36.2%), Medical Secretaries (36.0%), Nurse Practitioners (33.7%) and Registered Nurses (19.4%).
Furthermore, the BLS also listed “30 occupations with the largest projected increase in employment from 2012 to 2022” which included such positions as registered nurses, home health aides, nursing assistants, medical secretaries, licensed practical nurses and medical assistants.
Source: To view the BLS’ “Employment Projections—2012-2022” report, visit: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecopro.pdf
Increased Access to Health Insurance
As part of the Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance plans for a surge of Americans kicked in on January 1st, 2014. According to the coordinator of Triton College’s diagnostic medical sonography program, Debra Krukowski (in a November 11, 2013 Chicago Tribune article) this will also lead to an increasing demand for ultrasound professionals.
Chicago Tribune’s Steve Milano reported: “When the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, goes into effect in January of 2014, demand for sonography is expected to rise significantly, says Krukowski. ‘All of these people who haven’t had insurance in a long time and who have had aches and pains will now be able to go for ultrasounds or x-rays or other diagnostic tests’.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans must cover certain preventive services. Among these are certain screenings that require medical imaging exams, such as ultrasounds on men between 65 and 75 who have at one time smoked to diagnose abdominal aortic aneurysm; or mammograms to detect breast cancer performed every one to two years on women over 40 years old.
Each health insurance plan will vary on which preventive services (in addition to those required by the Affordable Care Act) they fully or partially cover. However the fact that more Americans will be able to more feasibly access certain medical imaging exams, combined with the BLS’ promising projections, suggests a positive and sustainable outlook for ultrasound professionals.
If you’d like to explore a career in medical imaging, visit our center for schools in your state to get started!