On January 5, the Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) released its Employment Situation Summary. During 2017, employment growth totaled 2.1 million jobs. One of the sectors that saw the highest growth was Health Care, which added 300,000 jobs during 2017. Such growth is anticipated to continue with the BLS projecting that from 2016 to 2026, Health Care occupations will grow 18% - a rate that is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Given that Health Care workers will be in high demand, we looked at Couragion’s application data to see how the sector fares with our middle and high school students. These students are the people we need to inspire to pursue Health Care careers if we are to fill the projected future job openings.

Couragion’s application includes careers across all sectors and students freely select which careers they want to review. In looking at the top 10 lists of the most frequently selected careers, one Health Care career makes the list for males – Physician Assistant as the 8th most selected career. For females, two Health Care careers make the list – Physician Assistant as the 2nd most selected career and Cancer Researcher as the 4th most selected career. So from an interest perspective, Health Care performs well.

Now from a fit perspective… The Couragion app enables students to see how a given career meets their own desired interests, values, and desired work characteristics. Careers with a great match are called Best Fit careers. Here, Health Care performs well when it comes to females. For example, 73% of females that complete the Physician Assistant career receive a Best Fit rating. And for the Cancer Researcher career, 68% of females receive a Best Fit rating. Males, on the other hand, do not have such a strong match. Only 38% of males receive a Best Fit rating for the Physician Assistant career.

After experiencing each career, Couragion encourages students to comment about what they liked/disliked about the career. The following verbatim remarks highlight themes we see in student comments about the Physician Assistant career:

Comments from those that would want to pursue this job…

o   ‘I really like to protect & help others.’

o   ‘I am good at listening so I would be good at this job.’

o   ‘I like that you can choose your own schedule.’

o   ‘I like interacting with people.’

o   ‘It has a great salary level.’

o   ‘I love that you can cure someone and change a person’s life.’

o   ‘There are lots of available jobs in this career.’

Comments from those that would not want to pursue this job…

o   ‘I am not very good at working with people.’

o   ‘I would like to be more involved with a patient than just seeing them for a few minutes.’

o   ‘I dislike blood and bad injuries.’

o   ‘I have a soft heart and if I can 't help the patient or something happens while they're under my care I'm not sure what I'd do.’

o    ‘I would get sick from being around sick people all day.’

o   ‘Seeing 20 patients a day would be too much pressure.’

The ability to help others, interacting with people, strong salaries, and many job openings are seen as positive to students considering Health Care careers. On the flip side, being responsible for peoples’ well-being and having limited time to spend with each patient are seen as negative to students considering Health Care careers. These are important considerations for those trying to attract students into the Health Care field – offering insights into the attributes of the job that should be emphasized when recruiting workers while also providing guidance on aspects of the job that could be changed to make the field more attractive to the incoming workforce.

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