Best Careers for 2020 and Beyond: Healthcare


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Photo courtesy of shutterstock.com

Our “So you want to be a…” series was designed to help career-minded high school students think about the financial, academic and personal factors they should consider when exploring traditional professions such as engineering, law, medicine and teaching.

As a supplement, our Best Careers for 2020 and Beyond series will profile careers in various fields that may be less widely known but offer a stimulating work environment, excellent compensation and a favorable job outlook in the coming decade. We begin with a profile of three jobs in the healthcare sector that fit these criteria.

Physician Assistant (PA)

Perhaps the inclusion of the word “Assistant” in this job title turns some prestige-focused young people away from this career. Yet that would be allowing semantics to get in the way of a highly-lucrative and rewarding profession that is set to grow exponentially as the U.S. population ages and demand for healthcare services continue to explode.

While technically under the supervision of doctors and surgeons, Physician Assistants are generally given a great deal of independence and responsibility. PAs in all medical areas routinely see patients, perform diagnostic tests and write prescriptions. They also enjoy an exceptional level of career flexibility as they are able to work in just about any medical specialty field without having to add credentials.

Physician Assistant positions are expected to grow 38 percent through 2022, a rate well-above almost any other profession and double that of medical doctors. There are currently almost 200 PA programs in the U.S., almost four times the number that existed a decade ago.  While medical school takes more than seven years to complete, a Physician Assisant Master’s program can be completed in as little as two years.

Starting salaries for PAs are in the $90,000 to 100,000 range in most metro areas. Those who elect to work in surgery, ERs or dermatology typically enjoy even higher compensation and are often eligible to receive bonuses on top of base compensation.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CNRA)

Before the invention of ether in the 1840s, patients undergoing surgical procedures were given nothing more than alcohol and a leather strap to bite to help manage the pain. Today, over 50 million surgical procedures are performed in the U.S. every year and, fortunately for us all, methods of pain management have improved dramatically in the last 170 years.

In many hospitals, it is Nurse Anesthetists, not Anesthesiologists, who take a lead role in overseeing a patient’s anesthetic care before, during and after surgery. In fact, since 2001, 16 states have chosen to allow CNRAs to practice without the supervision of an MD-level Anesthesiologist. As a result, Nurse Anesthetists have become the sole provider of anesthesia at many rural and inner-city hospitals across the country. The autonomous role of CRNAs is likely to continue to grow in the coming years, and there is already a shortage of individuals to meet current market demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 31 percent growth rate for the field in the next decade.

CRNA programs seek candidates who possess a bachelor of science degree, are Registered Nurses, and have at least one year of experience in the field. Interestingly, there is a higher prevalence of males in this branch of nursing versus all others (45 percent versus 8 percent), perhaps due to the draw of a substantial paycheck.

Anesthesia is a highly compensated field not just due to demand, but also because the stakes are high every single day. Nurse Anesthetists make a median salary of over $150,000 and many make closer to $200,000. This level of remuneration is on par with many Primary Care Physicians and only requires a quarter of the schooling; Nurse Anesthetist programs can be completed in just two to three years, including clinical experiences.

Occupational Therapist (OT)

Perhaps some never explore occupational therapy as a career option because they are confused by its somewhat misleading job title. It would be easy to conclude that individuals in this field spend their days in corporate offices pleading with disgruntled employees to take their hand out of the paper shredder and “go to their happy place.”    

In actuality, occupational therapists help individuals develop or recover their ability to participate in their daily living/work activities. Most OTs work in hospitals, schools, and elder-care facilities. Services span across the lifespan as occupational therapists assist young children in tasks related to school, such as gripping a pencil and learning to type, as well as the elderly, with tasks such as dressing and showering independently. The bottomline goal, regardless of age, is to help people live happier, more independent and productive lives.

With an average salary in the $75,000 range (ranging closer to $100,000 in many metro areas), this highly rewarding field is perfect for someone with an equal love of science and people. OT is very data-driven and meticulous record-keeping is a must, but at the end of the day, forming positive relationships and helping individuals reach their goals is paramount.

More than 32,000 new occupation therapy positions are expected to open up in the coming decade, a growth rate of 29 percent. Job analysts see this job as “recession proof” and practitioners in the field report relatively low stress and high rates of job satisfaction making occupational therapy a career worth considering.

College Transitions is a team of college planning experts committed to guiding families through the college admissions process. As counselors and published higher education researchers, we aim to bring perspective (and some sanity) to college planning, and we strive to provide students with the support they need to enroll and succeed at a college that is right for them. Please visit our website—www.collegetransitions.com—to learn more.

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College Transitions

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College Transitions is a team of college planning experts committed to guiding families through the college admissions process. As counselors and published higher education researchers, we aim to bring perspective (and some sanity) to college planning, and we strive to provide students with the support they need to enroll and succeed at a college that is right for them. Learn more at collegetransitions.com

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March 2019

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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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Raleigh, NC  27603
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Quail Ridge Books
4209 Lassister Mill Rd.
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Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
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Cost: $25 and up

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123 Vivian St.
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Cost: $5/person

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1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: Free

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: $15/class, or use your class pass/membership.

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781 Mt. Carmel Church Rd.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Chapel Hill Public Library Room B
100 Library Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: Chapel Hill Alliance for a Liveable Town (CHALT)

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Cost: Free: students must register

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Optum
4242 Six Forks Rd
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Cost: Free

Where:
Poe Center for Health Education
224 Sunnybrook Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Cost: $5 per class

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Road
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
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Cost: Free

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Poe Center for Health Education
224 Sunnybrook Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $18/adult, $12 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Hayes Barton Baptist Church
1800 Glenwood Ave.
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Cost: $5/person

Where:
North Carolina Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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More information

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Cost: $4-$12

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North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
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Telephone: 704-636-2889
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Cost: $13/members and $18/nonmembers. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Telephone: 919-839-6262
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Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
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Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Cary Hot Yoga
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
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Sponsor: Durham Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist...

Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Ziggy is a shy boy who would rather stay at home and watch television than explore the island of Jamaica. Over the course of his onstage journey, with some help from his friend Nansi, he...

Cost: $18/adult, $12 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Meymandi Concert Hall
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Hayes Barton Baptist Church
1800 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Cary Kennel Club, Alamance Kennel Club, Durham Kennel Club, Raleigh Kennel Club and Fayetteville Kennel Club join forces to bring dog lovers a variety of dog competitions, obedience and rally...

Cost: $5/person

Where:
North Carolina Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

The Vernal Equinox signals the beginning of Spring. It is the point when there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the equator. Mark the change of seasons by heading to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »

More information

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Cost: $4-$12

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC  28159
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

Enjoy the museum's annual celebration of flowers. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $13/members and $18/nonmembers. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Telephone: 919-839-6262
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Newland Communities
Telephone: 888-249-9429
Contact Name: Cherith Andes
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Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), kids ages 6 & under: free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »

More information

Ziggy is a shy boy who would rather stay at home and watch television than explore the island of Jamaica. Over the course of his onstage journey, with some help from his friend Nansi, he...

Cost: $18/adult, $12 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Harris Lake County Park is home to several species of salamanders. Join us as we learn about these elusive amphibians and see some up close. All ages. Meet in the Educational Garden at the picnic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist...

Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Durham Stake presents a family-friendly show featuring favorite Dr. Seuss books all together in one story. Join the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, and many others on a journey through...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
1050 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Contact Name: Bethany Fager
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is putting on the hilarious, yet sometimes tender, musical production of Seussical on March 15-16 and 22-23. It is a family-friendly show that...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
1050 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: Durham Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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The Raleigh Boychoir will reach new heights as our choristers and community present Dr. Tim Sharp’s “High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass.” Welcoming area boys to perform in...

Cost: Free

Where:
First Baptist Church
99 N Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Raleigh Boychoir
Telephone: 919-881-9259
Contact Name: Erin O'Hara
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Ziggy is a shy boy who would rather stay at home and watch television than explore the island of Jamaica. Over the course of his onstage journey, with some help from his friend Nansi, he...

Cost: $18/adult, $12 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Register online. Choose course #121675.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Celtic Woman celebrates Ireland's rich musical and cultural heritage, while continuing its remarkable legacy of introducing some of Ireland's most talented singers and musicians onto the...

Cost: $43 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist...

Cost: $25 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Shop for gently used kids' clothing, toys, furniture, baby equipment and more. See the website for shopping hours.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hayes Barton Baptist Church
1800 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2018-19 Education Guide offers 678 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools, academic resources and an Exceptional Child special section.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2018 Readers' Favorites are.