5 Entry Level Healthcare Jobs in Demand in Pennsylvania

Healthcare Jobs

5 Entry Level Healthcare Jobs in Demand in Pennsylvania

Healthcare is considered recession-proof and is expected to grow more than any other industry over the next decade. Learn about what jobs are available and growing including job and training resources right here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Is a career in healthcare in your future? 

For current and prospective healthcare workers, the pandemic offers a glimpse into the challenges and rewards of their future careers. While the entire economy has been impacted by the challenges of the pandemic, healthcare is one bright spot that is sure to continue

While there has been a surge in the need for healthcare professionals directly because of the coronavirus, it won’t disappear once the virus has been contained. Demand is projected to surge for healthcare workers in the coming years.

High demand for health professionals, especially for those dealing with older adults, is here to stay. The need for senior assistance is expected to increase dramatically between 2020 and 2028, at around seven times the average rate. In Pennsylvania, this is even more visible as the state has the fourth highest percentage of adults over the age of 60. 

Growth of medical occupations

Healthcare jobs are expected to grow 15% between 2019 and 2029. That’s nearly three times the average growth rate for all other occupations. Of the 10 fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. seven are in healthcare!

The aging population in the United States will lead to a plethora of diverse healthcare jobs. Roles as wide ranging as nursing and home health aides, physical therapist assistants, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners will all be booming. There’s opportunity in the medical field at all levels. For those looking at entry level healthcare roles, there are a variety of avenues that one can take to start their healthcare careers. Best of all, many of these roles can evolve into advanced medical careers with the right education and experience. We discuss 5 fast-growing entry level healthcare roles below. 

Home Health Aides

Median annual wage: $25,810

Education needed: High school diploma may be required; A training and certification program is required

Job postings in Pennsylvania: 2136

Projected employment growth (2019–2029): 34% (much faster than average)

Home health aides usually assist clients in their own homes with daily personal tasks, including bathing or dressing. They may provide basic health-related services, like giving medications or checking the patient’s vital signs. Additionally, they can help with general household chores and tasks such as laundry or cleaning. They might drive clients to medical appointments, help organize their schedule, and assist them in shopping for groceries.

HHAs broadly work under the direct supervision of nurses and other medical professionals such as physical therapists. This entry-level occupation has many openings, and it’s currently the sixth fastest growing occupation in America! Read more about the HHA program and what knowledge students will gain

Personal Care Aides / Personal Care Assistants

Median annual wage in Pennsylvania: $24,020

Education needed: High school diploma may be required; A training and certification program is generally not required, but some home care agencies may require CPR or HHA level of certification

Job postings in Pennsylvania: 1352

Projected employment growth (2019–2029): 34% (much faster than average)

Usually, formal education is not required. However, employers may prefer personal care aides to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. They are typically trained on-the-job by registered nurses, their direct employer, or another personal care aide. 

Personal care assistants/ aides may take clients for walks, talk with them, or engage them by playing games with them. Companionship is a major part of a PCA’s duties. They also help clients with personal care activities. They help them to get in and out of a wheelchair, climb the stairs, or get in and out of bed. They may also help plan and prepare meals for them or do other light housekeeping work like changing bed linens or vacuuming. As you can see, the role of a PCA is similar to an HHA. Although both jobs involve personal care, the HHA receives specialized training. They therefore have expanded duties and tasks such as complex diet regimes, handle simple dressing changes, or take basic vital signs. Because of their similar roles to HHAs, many PCAs benefit from formal HHA training. 

Certified Nurse Aides / Certified Nursing Assistants

Median annual wage in Pennsylvania: $32,440

Education needed: Pennsylvania state-approved education program

Job postings in Pennsylvania: 4303

Projected employment growth (2019–2029): 8% (faster than average)

CNAs are important roles and they work in a variety of different settings. Many work in long term care settings such as nursing homes. Performing under the guidance of RNs or LPNs, they assist patients on a physical, emotional, and personal level. CNAs perform daily activities for patients. They include helping them bathe, preparing meals, and transferring them to wheelchairs, etc. 

Pennsylvania requires CNAs to be on a state registry after getting training certification from a state-approved program, such as CareBridge Academy. Most programs are 120 hours of training, including a portion which is done within a long term care setting. A major benefit of being a CNA is that it is a low cost program that can be completed within weeks. Education qualifies for tuition reimbursement under certain circumstances when hired at a long term care facility! Plus, CNAs have the ability to work in many different settings, including hospitals. Read more about what a CNA will learn here

Medical Assistants

Median annual wage in Pennsylvania: $36,019

Education needed: Post-secondary program and/or proficiency certificate

Job postings in Pennsylvania: 1997

Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 19% (much faster than average)

Medical assistants have a diverse and broad skill set. They have the ability to perform a variety of front- and back-office duties as well as patient care. 

The clinical components of medical assisting includes recording vital signs when interacting with patients, collecting a patient’s medical history plus administering medications under direction of a supervising physician. 

Administrative duties could include many things. Examples include answering telephones, greeting patients, completing insurance forms, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments and arranging services, and managing billing.

The road to being a medical assistant typically involves medical assistant training and a certification exam. The process can take between 9 months to 3 years. Once completed, certified medical assistants often enjoy varied employment opportunities in a fast growing occupation.

Pharmacy technician

Median annual wage in Pennsylvania: $35,281

Education needed: High school diploma; many employers require certification

Job postings in Pennsylvania: 1261

Projected employment growth (2019–2029): 4% (as fast as average)

Pharmacy techs work under the supervision and direction of pharmacists. They play a key role in a variety of tasks. They will receive and confirm pharmacy prescription orders and also prepare and fill prescriptions. Additionally, they interact directly with customers and answer questions. They will also manage inventory, perform organizational tasks, and other specialized roles.  

Regulations for the role are evolving, but pharmacy technicians will usually have at least a high school diploma. There are no requirements for pharmacy technicians to be certified in Pennsylvania. That being said, it will give candidates an edge by having a certification. Plus, many employers will require their pharmacy technicians to be certified as a condition of employment.

Plan your next step

Now that you know more about some fast-growing entry level career options, could you picture yourself in one of these positions? If so, you’re ready to take the next step. Stand out from the crowd with the right education and certification to help you get ahead. 

CareBridge Academy offers training programs for Home Health Aides (HHAs), Personal Care Assistants (PCAs), and Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) right here in Philadelphia. Read more about the programs available. Classes are priced reasonably, flexible, and can be completed quickly.