Working with an Aging Population

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

The United States is home to an aging population. According to U.S. Census data, people aged 65 and older became the largest age group in the country (in terms of percent of the total population) in 2010.1 Yet while recent Census data shows that the pace of aging in the U.S. has slowed slightly, the Census Bureau still marks 2030 as a "turning point" at which all baby boomers will have reached retirement age – 65 years old. The Census Bureau further projects that by 2060, Americans aged 65 and older are expected to account for 23% of the U.S. population.2

Careers in aging, such as healthcare providers, are reported among the fastest growing occupations in the country by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Of the top 10 fastest growing occupations identified by the BLS from 2016 through 2026, five are in the health and personal care sector.3 These include positions involving direct interaction with an aging population, such as home health aides and personal care aides, as well as physician assistants, nurse practitioners and physical therapist assistants.

Fast-Growing Careers in Aging and Healthcare

If a career as a healthcare provider interests you, consider the following careers in aging and healthcare services that are projected to see significant job growth in the future.

Personal Care Aides

Personal care aides provide a range of non-medical support services for the elderly and disabled, and may work in a client's home by helping with the completion of day-to-day tasks made difficult by age, disability or chronic illness.

Job responsibilities may include helping with errands, such as making appointments when planning a weekly schedule and ensuring a client has a clean living space stocked with food and other necessities. Personal care aides may also help clients stay engaged and active by helping them get to and from community and social events.4

  • Degree Required – A high-school diploma or equivalent is sufficient for a job as a personal care aide. However, specific training may be necessary to obtain certification if state certification is required.5
  • Job Outlook – The BLS projects employment of personal care aides to grow 39% from 2016 through 2026.6

Home Health Aides

Home health aides assist clients in their homes or in larger community settings. Home health aides may provide a limited range of healthcare services, such as changing bandages, helping with daily physical therapy exercises, monitoring vital signs and giving medication on schedule.4

  • Degree Required – A high school diploma or equivalent may be required. However, depending on the state and specific position, such as those that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement, certain training and licensing requirements may also apply.5
  • Job Outlook – The BLS projects employment in home health aide positions to grow 47% from 2016 through 2026.6

Medical and Health Services Managers

Medical and health services managers assist with the administrative and business aspects of providing healthcare. While not all health service management positions deal directly with older patients, a range of opportunities may be available to those who want to work in this sector, such as managing a skilled nursing facility or an organization providing hospice care.7

  • Degree Required – A bachelor's degree in healthcare management or a related field may be required, though a master's degree may be preferred.8
  • Job Outlook – The BLS projects an employment growth of 20% in these positions from 2016 through 2026.9

Social Workers

While many social workers deal with children and families, others may work in clinical and home-health settings. For example, healthcare social workers may work with a wider range of elderly patients to help make sure clients understand all important information about diagnoses and treatments. Additionally, social workers may help coordinate future doctor's appointments and connect patients with support groups and other resources. Social workers may also serve in advocacy roles, communicating with local, state and national representatives to help shape healthcare policy.10

  • Degree Required – Basic positions may require a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field like psychology or sociology, although clinical positions require a master's degree in social work.11
  • Job Outlook – The BLS projects employment of social work and social services positions to increase 16% from 2016 through 2026.12
If working with the elderly to provide medical treatment, healthcare services and support, or other social services is of interest to you, explore healthcare management degrees at AIU.

1. "2010 Census Shows 65 and Older Population Growing Faster Than Total U.S. Population." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb11-cn192.html (Visited 10/11/18).
2. "Demographic Turning Points for the United States: Population Projections for 2020 to 2060." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2018/demo/P25_1144.pdf (Visited 10/11/18).
3. "Fastest Growing Occupations." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm (Visited 10/11/18). Conditions in your area may vary.
4. "Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides: What Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides Do." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm#tab-2 (Visited 10/11/18).
5. "Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides: How to Become a Home Health Aide or Personal Care Aide." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm#tab-4 (Visited 10/11/18).
6. "Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides: Job Outlook." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm#tab-6 (Visited 10/11/18). Conditions in your area may vary.
7. "Medical and Health Services Managers: What Medical and Health Services Managers Do." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-2 (Visited 10/11/18).
8. "Medical and Health Services Managers: How to Become a Medical or Health Services Manager." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-4 (Visited 10/11/18).
9. "Medical and Health Services Managers: Job Outlook." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6 (Visited 10/11/18). Conditions in your area may vary.
10. "Social Workers: What Social Workers Do." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-2 (Visited 10/11/18).
11. "Social Workers: How to Become a Social Worker." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-4 (Visited 10/11/18).
12. "Social Workers: Job Outlook." U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-6 (Visited 10/11/18).

American InterContinental University cannot guarantee employment or salary. For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

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