Healthcare jobs are in high demand, and training programs at local universities can help people enter the field. Whether you want to be a clinical medical assistant, pharmacy technician, or medical biller, Westchester has a variety of opportunities for you.
The healthcare industry has a history of success in Westchester County and continues to grow locally and across the country. About 1.8 million openings are projected yearly in healthcare due to employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave, according to the U.S. Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Healthcare has been and will continue to be the leading growth sector in our region for the foreseeable future,” says Jason Chapin, the director of workforce development at Westchester County Association (WCA). “The health systems and their related industries comprise a key economic sector in Westchester County, generating $18 billion in economic impact and providing over 50,000 jobs.”
The WCA currently manages the County-funded Healthcare Talent Pipeline Program (HTPP). The program will train 200 people and place 150 or more job seekers through 2025 in health and administrative careers. Tech skills, healthcare, and job readiness are the main components of the training. The WCA also partners with a variety of colleges, BOCES members, hospitals, medical groups, and nursing homes to train and place job seekers in the healthcare field.
“Major hospital systems like Northwell, Montefiore, and WMCHealth, as well as medical groups and health centers continue to grow because they serve a large and aging population that needs more healthcare services where they can receive high-quality care in Westchester without having to go to New York City,” says Chapin.
Healthcare support occupations such as home health and personal care aides, medical transcriptionists, and occupational therapy assistants had a median annual wage of $33,600 in 2022, according to the U.S. Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. A new report for jobseekers by WCA shows that clinical medical assistants in Westchester make around $42,000 a year while pharmacy technicians make around $40,000, and medical billers make around $45,000.
“We know what the demand occupations are based on historical data,” says Deryl Beasley, the Lower Hudson Valley Regional Director at the Workforce Development Institute. “I can tell you healthcare is a big deal, and it’s not just nursing. It goes across all different areas of healthcare.”
While healthcare jobs are in high demand, they often require long hours and challenges that other industries don’t have, such as overnight shifts or working on holidays. Healthcare workers are often resilient and composed because they have to deal with difficult situations.
“When considering a job in healthcare, the number one quality I see in my colleagues and successful students is empathy,” says PNW BOCES Instructor Caroline Murphy. “If you can’t place yourself in another person’s situation, it can make it harder to have patience and compassion at work.”
For people interested in entering the healthcare industry, there are several educational programs offered in Westchester. SUNY Westchester Community College has workforce programs in healthcare with eight different options including an intensive clinical medical assistant program, a medical coding program, and a remote pharmacy technician program, to name a few.
In the intensive clinical medical assistant program, people learn how to perform administrative and clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Students will learn how to prepare patients for examination by performing routine laboratory procedures. The medical coding program is now fully online and teaches students how to record, integrate, and report patient data securely with specialized computer applications.
In the remote pharmacy technician program, students will learn pharmacy laws, regulations, and medication organization. They will also gain additional skills for routine patient care such as ECG, phlebotomy, simple lab tests, and infection control. Upon successful completion of the course, students are eligible to take certification exams offered by the National Healthcare Association.
PNW BOCES also offers training for students interested in healthcare. It has a general intro to healthcare careers occupations course, a medical assistant course, a new visions course, and more. The medical assistant program can be completed in one or two years and requires students to sit for a national exam after the successful completion of the course. The program works to cross-train students with administration and clinical skills.
The demand for healthcare jobs will not waver anytime soon in Westchester. The outlook for the industry is strong and allows interested students to jump into a variety of specific programs related to their interests.
“Healthcare careers are physically and intellectually demanding,” says Murphy. “But it’s a career that I will never regret embarking on, especially now because I get to teach the next generation.”