There's been a surge in healthcare jobs of late as the U.S. continues its climb out of the recession years and a recent study points out that a large percentage of those jobs are being filled with pre-Baccalaureate healthcare workers.
The report, compiled by the Brookings Institute, found that between 2000 and 2011 the number of workers in 10 of the healthcare industry's leading occupations increased some 46 percent. That numbers actually outpaced the 39 percent job growth the entire industry saw during that same time period.
The report adds that healthcare workers without a bachelor's degree now make up 61 percent of the total workforce in the sector. The report also points out that that number dips to 57 percent when they focused on metropolitan areas.
"In a more team-based approach to care with a strong health IT infrastructure, pre-baccalaureate health care workers can use standardized, evidence-based guidelines of care to take on more routine responsibilities, such as screening, outreach and health education," the report states "Doctors and other clinicians can then focus on diagnosis and treatment of patients with more complex conditions."
The report also focuses on what specific positions the aforementioned 61 percent are working in as these less-educated workers are taking jobs in the field that generally pay less than $30,000 annually. Those positions mainly include nursing aids and medical assistant jobs.
The Brookings Institute data also points out that the information the researchers have uncovered should be viewed as a positive for the healthcare industry moving forward.
"Accordingly, the diverse nature of the pre-baccalaureate healthcare workforce can be a significant asset to healthcare providers. Pre-baccalaureate workers in these occupations are disproportionately people of color; five occupations have higher shares of blacks, Asians and Hispanics than the average of pre-baccalaureate workers across all occupations," the report reads. "Moreover, these 10 occupations have become more diverse over the last decade. In 2000, a majority (59 percent) of pre-baccalaureate workers in the 10 highlighted occupations were white. By 2011, the share of white workers had dropped to just under half (49 percent). Of particular note is the change in the share of pre-baccalaureate healthcare workers who are Hispanic, increasing from 10 percent in 2000 to 17 percent by 2011, with increases concentrated in the dental assistant and medical assistant occupations."