The number of pre-baccalaureate degree workers rises in the healthcare industry. More than 60 percent of the workers in the health system do not have bachelor degrees, according to a research carried by the Brookings Institute. The report bases its findings on surveys carried in 2000 and 2009-2011 and geographically covers the largest 100 U.S. metropolitan areas.
By looking at the 10 of the healthcare largest occupations, the report finds that the number of workers increased by 46 percent since 2000. With a total of 3.8 million jobs in the surveyed areas, they account for 49 percent of the total healthcare workforce. The growth speed in the case of the 10 largest was faster compared to the overall job growth of just 39 percent. The total number of workers in the U.S. is higher than 12 million or 9 percent of the total workforce in the country.
Pre-baccalaureate degree workers generally have low incomes
RNs and diagnostic technicians have median annual earnings of $60.000 and $52.000, respectively. But the large mass of workers without a bachelor degree earn less than that. Half of the personal care aides and other types of aides earn between $21.000 and $24.000. The lower paid occupations are female dominated and racially diverse and represent the highest growing sector. About 400.000 new low paid workers have taken jobs between 2000 and 2009-2011. That is a 278 percent increase.
Reasons explaining why the increase is so dramatic are the following, according to the report. The aging population needs more health care and the overall population increased. Improving health outcomes and expanding access are other reasons explaining the increased number of employees. The number of people without insurance decreased after the implementation of Obamacare.
“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 states.
The U.S. health system is notorious for its lack of efficiency, compared to other developed countries. Hiring pre-baccalaureate degree workers is one solution to improve the system while offering jobs. But “We can provide better care for the amount of money that we’re spending,” as Martha Ross from Brookings Institute says, “and we need to do that so that we don’t end up running ourselves into bankruptcy.”