If you’re thinking of changing careers, you could do a lot worse than to look into the many opportunities offered by today’s rapidly growing healthcare industry. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a big shift away from goods producing industries over the next few years towards those that provide services. Far and away the largest of these is expected to be the healthcare and social assistance sector, where about one quarter of all new jobs in the US will likely be found.Why Is Healthcare Are Booming Industry?The reasons for this employment boom are not hard to understand: as medical science progresses, people are living longer and the population is gradually comprising more and more of the elderly. The so-called “baby boomer” generation also is contributing to this trend, so that the 55+ age sector is growing faster than any other group. As they advance into old age, these people will likely have continuing need of medical services, including screening, diagnoses and treatments. This implies a similar demand for the support roles on which healthcare providers depend, from medical secretaries and insurance personnel to nursing aides, occupational therapist assistants and pharmacy technicians.Job Training for Health CareMany of the skills needed for these healthcare service industries go beyond those that can be acquired through simple on-the-job experience. But an important attraction for many people is that the vocational training required can often be completed in just one or two years, depending on the subject concentration and degree of specialization. For example, it may be possible to earn an associate degree to become a physical therapist assistant after five semesters, or just under two years. Other certificates or diplomas may be achieved in even less time. After training, you may also need to be licensed or gain certification to practice in some fields — requirements may vary from state to state.These days, many students are taking the opportunity to complete all or part of their academic training online. While they may very well need to complement their studies with real-world clinical experience, online study programs allow enrollees to gain a qualification at the same time as holding down a full-time job. They can organize their study schedule at times which fit in with their other commitments, and avoid the expense and hassle of having to attend classes on campus.Whether they opt for an online course or a more traditional class, it’s important for any student to make sure that the school and the program they select have been properly accredited. For some healthcare support professions, this may even be a precondition of employment. But accreditation also provides a measure of quality assurance, and may make it easier to do things like transferring credits if a student needs to change schools in the middle of the course or wants to go back for retraining later on.Healthcare Is a Socially Minded CareerMany individuals are drawn to the idea of a career in health care because they like the idea of working with people on a daily basis. There can be great job satisfaction in knowing that your work contributes to the public good, and there are also many opportunities to exercise analytic, managerial and technological skills as well.