Clinical_Laboratory_SciencesThe UAB School of Health Professions offers four of the top 10 best careers in healthcare by U.S. News & World ReportClinical laboratory technology ranked at number three, occupational therapy at number five, physician assistant at seven and physical therapy at number eight.

“Clinical laboratory scientists are key members of the healthcare team who play a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease,” said Michelle Brown, MS, MT (ASCP) SBB, assistant professor in the UAB Clinical Laboratory Science Program. “The clinical laboratory is constantly evolving as more complex testing such as molecular diagnostics is implemented.  This has produced an increased demand for well-educated and highly motivated professionals.”

As the baby boomer population continues to age so does the need for healthcare jobs. Many of the occupations on this list also rank at the top of the Labor Department’s growth projects for 2008 to 2018.

Physician_Assistant“Employment of physician assistants is expected to grow by 39 percent during that time period, much faster than the average for all occupations,” said Patricia Jennings, DrPH, PA-C , director of the UAB Physician Assistant program. “Physicians and institutions are expected to employ more PAs to provide primary care and to assist with medical and surgical procedures because PAs are cost-effective and productive members of the healthcare team.”

Physician assistants bring in a median average salary in the mid-$80,000 range, according to the report.

Sharon Shaw, PT, DrPH, chair of the UAB Department of Physical Therapy, said her graduates can expect to see more chances for career moves.

“They can expect to see increased career opportunities as the field continues to expand services in health promotion and wellness for the general population,” said Shaw. “With the aging population and certain special populations with special needs such as childhood obesity, there will be increased need for services in the inpatient, outpatient, and home settings, as well as nontraditional, newly developing work sites.”

Jan Rowe, DrOT, OTR/L, interim chair of the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy said it doesn’t take long for her graduates to find work.

“Our grads are 100 percent employed within three months of graduation,” said Rowe.  “Occupational therapists get to work hands on with variety of people, all ages, backgrounds, and settings.”

Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and the Surgicial Physician Assistant program in the School of Health Professions also ranks in the nation’s top 30 graduate school programs by U.S. News & World Report.