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Healthcare Training On The Rise

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
October 28, 2009

Students and career-switchers are increasingly seeking training in healthcare professions, and colleges and employment centers are doing their best to meet the demand.

"Health, for the most part, seems to be recession-proof," noted Gregory Paulauskis, director of the division of health science at Montana State University-College of Technology, who was interviewed by the Great Falls Tribune. "People get sick and have to go to the hospital. . . . This fall we had only a few programs that didn't start at maximum capacity."

He said that this year, the college had twice as many nursing applicants and three times as many radiology students than it could accept. Other popular programs include training for dental hygienists and physical therapist assistants.

He noted that students are drawn to careers in healthcare because many only require two-year degrees and lead to jobs that can be found throughout the country. "There is no doubt that getting an associate degree in the health field is a smart move," said Paulauskis.

Similarly, The New York Times reports that city officials plan to open a new employment center next week solely dedicated to training and placing workers in health-related jobs. Officials noted that healthcare job placements have nearly doubled over the past year and now represent about 21 percent of all city placements.

Despite the growth of the sector, New York economists pointed out that it can hardly replace losses in sectors such as finance or law, where salaries are much higher. Doug Turetsky, of the city's Independent Budget Office, noted that every Wall Street job--where average salaries are roughly $410,000--generates three and a half other jobs in the city.

"A home health aide doesn't earn enough to have anywhere near that kind of effect," he said.

Nevertheless, others said that any creation of new jobs is a positive development. Martin Kohli, the regional economist at the New York office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, noted that jobs in the city grew by 6.4 percent from 1990 to last year, while those in healthcare grew by 41.5 percent.

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