Top Ten Healthcare Jobs in Canada by Demand

Based on the Statistics Canada 2011 “Top 50 jobs in Canada” Report, Healthcare dominates 24% of the list.  A career in Healthcare could be the avenue to a successful and rewarding career.   With an aging population, demand is higher than ever for qualified individuals; within the next; decade senior citizens (65+) will outnumber children (<15)!  Canada experienced an astounding 51% increase in people requiring home care between 1998 and 2008.

  1. Nursing Supervisor
  2. Health Policy Specialist
  3. Respiratory Therapist
  4. Health Care Manager
  5. Dental Hygienist
  6. Medical Radiation Technologist
  7. Pharmacist
  8. Nurse
  9. Occupational Therapist
  10. Physiotherapist

Ranking is determined by Job Demand from 2006-2011, Median Salary, and Growth in Median Compensation from 2006-2011.  The “Top 50 Statistics Canada” report included jobs with a minimum of 10,000 currently employed in each field and excludes median salaries under $60,000.  Many of these positions generate employment opportunities for a number of different positions. For example, a Pharmacist position immediately generates multiple employment opportunities in directly related positions such as Pharmacy Technician or Pharmacy Assistant

Nursing Supervisor

As a Nursing Supervisor, you can expect to manage the nursing staff at a hospital, clinic, nursing home and many other forums.  A four-year university nursing degree is mandatory.  In addition to possessing a degree as a Registered Nurse (RN), management training, and 5 years of clinical experience is required to attain this level of Nursing Care.  Over the past 5 years, statistics for Nursing Supervisors show a 46% growth in employees, a median salary $74,880, and growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 24%.

Health Policy Specialist/Consultant

In this position you remain current on healthcare trends.  Designing policies and programs is an integral part of this position to help with various issues such as medical record sharing and innovative cost-effective solutions for an aging population.  A wide range of opportunities exist in this field ranging from data analysis to project management. To enter this field requires a minimum of a Management Degree or a university Degree in Health Informatics and an MBA or CMA with a focus on healthcare.  Over the past 5 years, statistics for this position show a 65% growth in employees, a median salary $65,229, and growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 16%.

Respiratory Therapist

What is a Respiratory Therapist?  They diagnose and provide treatment for those who suffer from heart or lung problems focusing on airway management.  Community Colleges provide a three-year program where the curriculum includes students participating in clinical training a hospital and/or home care setting.  Upon graduation, students become eligible to write the CSRT National Certification Exam and receive CSRT Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) certification. Due to Provincial legislation, other credentials may be required.  Over the past 5 years, statistics for this position show a 36% growth in employees, a median salary $62,400, and growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 15%.

Healthcare Manager

To enter the workforce as a Healthcare Manager requires extensive education. To attain this degree in the health care service industry, educational requirements are a Masters of Health Administration (MHA), which begins with a 4 year undergraduate degree.  Acceptance to the Masters program is based on an in-depth review of your previous education and work experience. Successful graduates from this accredited program will be highly educated in areas such as healthcare administration, health services management, organization administration, planning and evaluation, and health policies. Over the past 5 years, statistics for this position show a 14% growth in employees, a median salary $83,200, and growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 21%.

Dental Hygienist

A Dental Hygienist becomes the patient’s first contact for complete dental care.  Typically, a Registered Dental Hygienist performs cleaning, scaling, taking x-rays, providing fluoride treatments and assisting Dentists throughout various procedures. Dental Hygienists in Canada must complete a 3-year Diploma Program. Due to Provincial regulations, the scope of a Dental Hygienist’s responsibilities may vary so refer to your local Community College or Career College for specific Provincial requirements. Over the past 5 years, statistics for this position show a 21% growth in employees, a median salary $70,720, and growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 13%. Other related positions include Dental Assistant and Intra Oral Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant

A dental assistant works with patients assisting a dentist or dental hygienist during various procedures such as taking a patient’s medical history, taking and developing x-rays, taking impressions, teaching patients proper oral hygiene strategies etc.  Most provinces require dental assistants to be licensed and pass the National Dental Assistant Examining Board (NDAEB) exam.  Educational requirements are a 39-50 week diploma program depending on the province and on the core curriculum. 

Medical Radiation Technologist

To follow a career in Medical Radiography requires a 2 year Diploma Program.  Medical Schools and Community College Programs provide the skills necessary to provide Radiologists with x-rays and digital imaging for medical interpretation in diagnosing patients. Curriculum for Medical Technologist includes a combination of academic training using various imaging equipment. Demand is high for graduates of this Program.  You can also opt to continue your education to gain a degree as a Bachelor of Technology in Medical Imaging and specialize in specific areas such as angiography, mammography, and computerized tomography. Over the past 5 years, statistics for this position show a 16% growth in employees, a median salary $62,400, and growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 15%.

Pharmacist

Pharmacists require a Bachelors Degree in Pharmacy, which takes four years to complete.   Programs require some University prerequisites depending on Provincial guidelines, usually geared towards the sciences.  Becoming a Pharmacist also requires several hundred apprenticeship/internship hours.  The final step is taking the National Qualifying Exam through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada. Over the past 5 years, statistics for this position show an 8% increase in employees, a median annual salary of $93,000 and growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 18%.  Other related growth positions include Pharmacy Assistants and Pharmacy Technicians who work under the supervision of a Pharmacist. 

Pharmacy Technician

A Pharmacy technician’s duties often include verifying the information on a prescription, filling the prescription and preparing the label.  To enter this professional, you must graduate from a CCAPP accredited course that vary in length between 40 and 52 weeks, write the PBEC qualifying exams and register with the appropriate College of Pharmacists or Pharmaceutical Association in your province. 

Pharmacy Assistant

Pharmacy assistants aid pharmacists in administrative and customer service roles, and maintain inventory control, stock shelves, purchase medications and in some pharmacies, may prepare compounds and package and label medications.  While a diploma may not be needed, most employers prefer to hire pharmacy assistants who have completed a career college training program which are anywhere from 20 to 46 weeks, depending on the core curriculum. 

Nurse

Registered Nurses, (RN), hold a four-year Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from a Canadian University or its international equivalent. RN’s may specialize in a variety of areas such as surgery, obstetrics, psychiatrics, pediatrics, community health, occupational health, emergency, rehabilitation, or oncology, just to name a few.  To complete your education and be ready to enter the healthcare arena students must pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CNRE) Exam.  Provincial nursing regulatory authorities determine eligibility to write the exam. Demand for nurses in all areas of hospital and ambulatory settings remains very strong and will continue to be in the foreseeable future.  Over the past 5 years, statistics for this position show a 7% growth in employees, a median salary $79,990, and growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 22%.

Licensed Practical Nurse

What is a licensed practical nurse (LPN)?  Licensed Practical Nurses are trained in both academic and practical areas of nursing.  Graduates are prepared to provide services in a variety of environments to assist and monitor patients.  Educational requirements are a 1-2 year Diploma Program depending on the province and on the core curriculum and level of expertise at a Community College or University.  Programs include placements in a medical facility to complete the experience of the roles and responsibilities of an LPN. LPN candidates must pass a Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE).  Demand is high for Licensed Practical Nurses to help fill the national shortage of RN’s and LPN’s.  Opportunities are abundant for LPN’s in areas such as community services, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation services, acute care, and maternity just to name a few.  

Health Care AidePersonal Support Worker, Nurse’s Aide, Nursing Assistant

Heath Care Aides (HCA) are also known as Health Care Assistants, Personal Support Workers (PSW) (Ontario), Resident Care Attendants (RCA), Nurse’s Aides, or Nursing Assistants provide care and assistance for the acute or chronically ill, the elderly and patients who have special needs. These programs at career colleges are between 24 and 30 weeks in duration, and most include work practicums in a hospital, assisted living facility and home health agencies.

Occupational Therapist

To launch a career in occupational therapy (OT), the minimum educational requirement is a four-year undergraduate Baccalaureate Degree focused on occupational therapy academic programs and includes 1,000 hours of supervised on-the-job training. You can opt to elevate your education as an Occupational Therapist by enrolling in a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program upon completion of the undergraduate degree. The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) defines OT's as individuals who help others participate in activities that are of interest to them regardless of physical or mental ability. Over the past 5 years, statistics for this position show a 10% growth in employees, a median salary $68,640, and a growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 14%.

Physiotherapist

In accordance with the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA), to become a Physiotherapist in Canada, individuals require an undergraduate degree, usually with specific pre-requisites, in order to qualify for admission to Master’s Entry-Level Programs.  Students experience the degree of professionalism required with a total number of 1000+ hours in a clinical setting and requires Provincial Registration. Physiotherapy is required in many settings including rehabilitation hospitals, private clinics, community health centres, residential care and assisted-living facilities and schools. Over the past 5 years, statistics for this position show a 9% growth in employees, a median salary $69,992, and a growth in salary between 2006 and 2011 of 14%.