When students start class at the state-of-the-art Health Sciences Center at the Rose State College Campus this semester, they will be studying for occupations where openings are critically high.
According to a 2006 report from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, shortages of health care professionals will soon be faced by all Oklahomans.
The report states the shortage will mean more than 5,000 openings in the health care field in the state, including more than 3,000 nurses.
“Current workforce shortages are projected to steadily worsen until 2012 unless steps are undertaken today to greatly increase the number of nurses, therapists, and technicians entering health care professions in Oklahoma. … Oklahoma must increase the number of professionals entering the state’s health care workforce or it will be increasingly more difficult to fill those jobs and maintain current health care staffing levels,” according to The Governor’s Council on Workforce Development’s ‘Oklahoma’s Health Care Industry Workforce: 2006 Report’.
This shortage means that many direly needed health care occupations will pay quite well for graduates, said Dan Points, Dean of the Rose State College Health Sciences Division.
“There has never been a better time for students entering the field of health care,” Dean Points said. “Students are being recruited months before graduation with very competitive salaries; from those demanding intimate patient care; to computer based disciplines to the those requiring in depth analytical skills. All provide job security while serving others.”
Leading the shortage is the need for nurses. The report states Oklahoma will need 3,135 trained nurses by 2012.
When graduates from Rose State College’s nursing program are ready to begin working, salaries are expected to be from $17.63-$19.74 per hour, or more than $40,000 a year, with benefits, according to figures obtained by the college.
However, Oklahoma’s health care opportunities aren’t just for nurses. Respiratory therapists will also be in short supply, according to the report. Average starting salaries for new RSC graduates in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area range from $18.00 to $35.00 per hour, according to data given to the college.
The need will also be great for radiographers, which are professionals who operate X-Ray machines and other radiological medical equipment. Radiologic Technology jobs are expected to increase by 26 percent. Starting salaries in Oklahoma range from $13.50 to $17.00 per hour.
Registered Health Information Technologists will also be needed to address the burgeoning population of aging Boomers, to navigate the complicated issues surrounding insurance claims. An RHIT can earn $20,000 to $30,000.00 annual pay at start, and $30,000 to $50,000 five years out.
All of these occupations, as well as others, will have a new educational home at the Rose State College Health Sciences Center opening January 21st. All are vigorous two-year programs, requiring a strong commitment on the part of the students as well as the faculty.
Although some graduates may take longer than two years, few occupational areas offer such strong public need or such strong compensation in such a short amount of time.
Thu, January 21, 2010
by Ben Fenwick