The aging of the U.S. population will bring with it an increased need to adjust to such a profound demographic shift. For one, as increasing numbers of baby boomers and later generations move into their senior years, caring for their health needs will become vital. Future shortages of health workers to serve older adults are very likely, leading to a boom in employment in such jobs. The need for many services to assist older Americans also holds promise for "age wave" jobs.
Trained nurses and nursing aides, especially registered nurses, will be in great demand as older nurses retire and population shifts require even more nursing professionals. For instance, employment growth for registered nurses is expected to be 26 percent through 2020. As of 2010, registered nurses were also earning a median wage of $64,690 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants earned 2010 wages of $24,010, with 20-percent growth through 2020 expected.
Home Health Jobs
Greater numbers of home health and personal care aides to see to the long-term care needs of senior adults will also be needed. Employment-wise, the growth for home health and personal care aides is expected to exceed 70 percent through 2020. Home health and personal care aides also earned about $20,170 annually in 2010, and entry-level education requirements are low, at the less-than-high-school level. Also, home health and personal care jobs provide a means of entering the health care worker sector.
Age Wage Jobs
A 2011 Forbes online article refers to the wide variety of positions needed to help care for an aging population as "age wave jobs." As the population moves into its senior years, everything from music therapists for Alzheimer's patients and occupational therapists for the elderly will be needed. Jobs of note for an aging population include fitness trainers, retirement coaches, home modification specialists and patient advocates. Forbes estimates that millions of new jobs will be needed to care for older adults.
Age Wave Pay
Forbes says patient advocates earn from $50 to $200 hourly. Certified fitness trainers can earn from $17 to $30 hourly, though big city trainers can earn from $60 to $100 or more on an hourly basis. Home modification specialists help modify the living spaces of senior adults and can earn about $40 hourly. Retirement coaches counsel soon-to-be-retired adults on what to do with the rest of their lives. Credentialed or certified retirement coaches can make from $50 to $400 hourly.
- The Council of State Governments: The Population 65 Years and Older: Aging in America
- University of California Santa Cruz: Intelligent Technology for an Aging Population
- USA Today: Aging Population a Boon for Health Care Workers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants
- Forbes: An Aging Population Means New Jobs
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images