For Workers Without Bachelor’s Degrees, Healthcare Is A Booming Field

Nine in 10 dental assistants have an associate's degree or less, according to the Brookings study. Credit: US Army Garrison Red Cloud - Casey via Flickr

Nine in 10 dental assistants have an associate’s degree or less, according to the Brookings study. Credit: US Army Garrison Red Cloud – Casey via Flickr

Close to half of all healthcare workers in Nashville, and nationwide, do not have a Bachelor’s degree.

According to a new study from the Brookings Institution in Washington, that segment of the workforce includes registered nurses with two-year degrees, personal care aides and medical assistants. The latter, in particular, has seen rapid growth: The number of medical assistants without associate’s degrees or less has more than doubled in Nashville since 2000.

Jennifer Groves is a medical assistant for a Nashville gynecologist, where she administers pregnancy tests and checks heart rate and blood pressure. She says she can tell there are ample job opportunities in her field.

“Just looking at other jobs that are available, there are a bunch of postings on the Internet, and there’s always hiring for medical assistants.”

The number of healthcare workers without Bachelor’s degrees in Nashville has grown by 42 percent since 2000 — six times the growth of all pre-baccalaureate jobs in the metro region. The study found that lower-paying jobs grew the most.

Nashville Highlights

The numbers below refer specifically to pre-baccalaureate workers, or those without Bachelor’s degrees.

  • 87 percent of workers in healthcare are female, compared to 46 percent of workers in all fields
  • Personal care aide jobs have grown the most since 2000: 145 percent, or nearly one-and-a-half times
  • Salaries for healthcare workers have decreased by 4 percent since 2000
  • Nashville ranks 39th out of the 100 largest metro areas for the number of healthcare workers
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