Why More Men Should Go into Allied Healthcare
It’s no secret that over the last few decades, the US job market has moved away from manufacturing to the service sector (This includes careers that might be found in the health, computer services, and retail industry.). Undoubtedly, the group most affected by this shift has been working-class men who don’t hold university degrees.
With millions of medical jobs for men up for grabs, healthcare has quickly become an emerging industry. So why aren’t more men taking notice?
Shattering the Stigma of Men in Allied Healthcare
To understand why fewer men are in healthcare positions, it’s necessary to look at the effects of gender roles in the industry.
Women are a relatively new addition to the medical world, and while the number of female doctors and surgeons has risen dramatically over the span of one hundred years (from 6% in 1949 to 33% in 2015), fields like nursing and allied healthcare were often considered “more appropriate” and therefore easier to enter.
There’s still a stigma surrounding female physicians, but in allied healthcare, it’s completely the opposite. While positions for doctors and surgeons are held by more men than women, nearly 80% of American allied healthcare professionals are female. Not only is there more of a ‘team atmosphere’, but it’s also far more balanced for people from all walks of life.
Why Are Men so Hesitant to Join?
There are a variety of outdated notions swirling around allied healthcare. We’ve heard that men don’t feel like they’d be welcome in a female-dominated sector, or that women are simply better at direct-care work with elderly people and children which requires roles like bathing, feeding, and toileting.
In the 21st century, the concept of gender-specific jobs is quickly losing traction. Men are excellent (and necessary) contributors to the world of healthcare, and they’re definitely capable of providing the same level of professionalism that their female counterparts do.
A More Even Playing Field Than Most Careers
Despite the fact that female doctors are reported to have better personal interactions with their patients (and with the same level of successful results), they’re paid anywhere from 25% to 40% less than male doctors.
Allied healthcare’s largely female population, however, has ensured a better gender income gap for workers – and for a wider variety of positions, too! In the 2018 Census, it was discovered that almost 75% of phlebotomists were women, yet the wage gap was only 6% less. In the physical therapy sphere, male PTs comprised around 40% of the sector and earned approximately 12% more for doing the same job.
While there isn’t a perfect system, most allied healthcare positions provide fairer, more balanced salaries than in any sector. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Stable Career Opportunities
Blue-collar jobs continue to be outsourced or taken over by non-human labor, and some men have concerns about joining healthcare if manufacturing careers are “brought back.” Unfortunately, positions dwindle every year, resulting in serious lack of security over the coming decades. Allied healthcare opportunities however, are only starting to take off.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s set to grow faster than the average sector. Much of this comes down to aging Baby Boomers, who will make up nearly 20% of the population by 2030. Because they’re in poorer health than generations before them, prospective healthcare workers will have far better job security than those who go into blue-collar manufacturing work.
How Pay Affects Men Entering Healthcare
Another issue surrounding the allied healthcare gender divide is the “lower salaries” that some of these roles receive. Machinists might have pulled in a healthy salary of around $20 per hour before their plant closed or their position was made redundant. It’s therefore understandable that a substantial pay cut affects a person’s willingness to join the world of healthcare.
With fewer manufacturing positions available nationwide – and roles in allied healthcare on the rise – many experts believe that these salaries will start to reflect this demand. If finances are a concern of yours, consider the following jobs that pay well. They might surprise you!
Diagnostic Medical Tech
From abdominal sonography to adult echocardiography, DMS techs are x-ray vision experts who take high-quality images of tissue, organs, and even blood flow. If you’re fascinated with anatomy and photography, consider employment in this sphere. Oh, did we mention that the average salary for an ultrasound tech is over $73,000?
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians
If you’re a savvy computer user with an analytical mind, why not consider studying to become a medical billing and coding expert? Some health information technicians are able to work from the comfort of their own home, but in 2018, they also received a national average salary of $42,820. Best of all, you can gain your medical billing certification in under a year!
Medical Laboratory Scientists
If you ever dreamed about working in a lab setting, a career as a medical laboratory scientist could be right up your alley. In this role, you’d be analyzing bodily fluids (e.g. saliva, blood, urine) and reporting your findings to various hospital departments. With an average 2018 wage of more than $50,000, the hands-on work you do is handsomely rewarded.
Not only do MRI techs get to use state-of-the-art technology to peek into the inner-workings of the human body every single day, but they’re also relied upon by physicians and surgeons to take the best images possible. With MRI techs earning a mean hourly wage of more than $33 (or more than $70,000 per year), there are plenty of reasons to join this growing field.
Other Factors for Determining Healthcare Salaries
While it’s true that some entry-level allied healthcare workers might earn somewhere between $10-$15 per hour, quite a few professions provide jaw-dropping salaries – all without requiring four-year college. Higher wages, however, are usually determined by a combination of location, experience, and whether you hold a certification in your field.
Location, Location, Location
There’s no way around it: Incomes tend to be reflected by the region in which you live. If you take a look at the 2016 statistics for average state incomes, all but one of the ten highest salary averages were along the northeastern and Pacific coastlines. The lowest average incomes in the United States were typically found in southern and central-southern states.
There are exceptions to every rule, sure, but allied healthcare salaries almost always follow this pattern. Whether you’re seeking work as an experienced pharmacy technician or looking for a great entry-level ultrasound tech position, your income will likely be tied to average incomes of your city or state.
You wouldn’t expect an apprentice pipefitter to earn the same salary as someone with a decade of experience, and that goes for any other career. For example, a medical assistant who’s trained by their employer will probably receive a lower average salary than someone with accredited medical assistant certification or an associate degree.
Many entry-level healthcare careers offer excellent opportunities for upward mobility, like teaching positions in training schools.
As they improve at their job, a healthcare worker might discover that he excels in certain sectors or possesses skills he never knew he had. Medical assistants often go back to school to gain their nursing degree, and it’s also quite common for future pharmacists to work as pharmacy technicians while they complete their studies. If you’re dedicated to learning and improving, the sky’s the limit!
While there are quite a few allied healthcare jobs that allow you to work without certification (such as phlebotomy technicians and sterile processing technicians), many employers opt for professionals who have completed an accredited training program.
If your employer happens to provide on-the-job training, you may still have to complete a training program to take certification exams. Certifications typically provide better salary offers and employment opportunities by showing prospective employers that you’re dedicated to your chosen career.
Certifications might also be a great way to specialize in fields. For example, diagnostic medical sonographers have the ability to gain certification in specific fields like adult echocardiography or musculoskeletal sonography. Hospitals and private clinics across the country have an overwhelming need for people with expertise, and you might also be eligible for better salary offers.