Health Sciences Sector Analysis

HS Sector Overview

Key takeaways from the landscape analysis for the Health Sciences Sector in the Chicagoland area:

  • Good occupations in this sector require or involve going through a community college and AAS program, but there exist many occupations for entry-level industry credentials and college certificate programs.
  • Key AAS programs are offered at most community colleges in the Chicagoland area, creating competition for City Colleges of Chicago.
  • Nursing is technically a middle-skills role, but most registered nurses now have or enter the profession with a bachelor’s degree.

Overview of Private Training Landscape

Based on Chicagoland CareerPathways, the private training landscape features a vast majority of training and private programs that place people into “Gateway Occupations” of MA, PCT, etc.

  • All meet the in-demand criterion for High Priority Occupations, but not Living Wage
  • For individuals in these positions to improve their salary potential, they typically need to return to school and seek out higher-earning nursing qualifications or pivot to the administrative side and seek roles such as Medical and Health Services Managers:
    • 63% of employees in these roles have at least a bachelor’ degree or higher
    • Bachelor’s degree becoming the entry-level requirement

Recommended Improvement Strategies for HS

Based on the landscape analysis, the EdSystems team proposes the following strategies to both prepare residents for living wage roles in the HS Sector and meet labor market demands:

  • Expand program offerings leading to more middle-skills Technologists or high-end technicians, e.g., Medical Laboratory or Cardiovascular Technologist.
  • Create the structures to move other typically non-stackable roles with industry certifications or licenses (e.g., Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomist, Medical Assistant) into more advanced administrative roles and clinical functions
    • Working with employers, create apprenticeship/”earn and learn” opportunities for these employees to move into more advanced non-nursing administrative or clinical roles
  • Ensure entry-level assistants (CNA’s, Medical Assistants) aren’t “stopping out” at these roles
    • Build capacity of partner nonprofits to provide “alumni career pathway” supports to individuals employed in these occupations. Pilot these programs through philanthropy but ultimately integrate them into WIOA structures.
    • Consider replicating early childhood’s “Gateways to Opportunity Registry” model (including registration, transcript reviews, access to informational sessions and training, access to scholarships) in Health Sciences.

HS Priority Occupation and Promising Credential Areas

Middle-Skill Credential Area
Occupations
Typical Entry Education
Chicagoland Wage $/hr
Chicagoland Projected Growth (10 yr.)
Annual Chicagoland Job Openings
Term
Nursing
Nursing Assistant
Postsecondary Certificate
$13.90
4%
3,072
Gateway Occupation
Practical Nurse
Postsecondary Certificate
$27.62
0%
649
High Priority Occupation
Registered Nurse
Bachelor’s
$36.95
14%
4,046
High Priority Occupation
Hygienists, Therapists and Therapy Assistants
Respiratory Therapists
Associate Degree
$29.50
2%
163
High Priority Occupation
Physical Therapy Assistants
Associate Degree
$30.45
2%
306
High Priority Occupation
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Associate Degree
$31.97
2%
153
High Priority Occupation
Dental Hygienists
Associate Degree
$36.18
8%
236
High Priority Occupation
Health Science Assistants and Records Managers
Medical Records & Health Information Tech
Postsecondary Certificate
$21.74
3%
240
Gateway Occupation
Medical Assistant
Postsecondary Certificate
$17.67
13%
1,068
Gateway Occupation
Health Technologists & Technicians
Radiologic Technologist
Associate Degree
$31.54
1%
178
High Priority Occupation
Pharmacy Technician
High School + On-the-Job Training
$15.81
6%
724
Gateway Occupation
Patient Care Tech (Phlebotomist)
Postsecondary Certificate
$17.39
13%
301
Gateway Occupation
EKG Technician (Phlebotomist)
Postsecondary Certificate
$17.39
13%
301
Gateway Occupation
Phlebotomist
Postsecondary Certificate
$17.39
13%
301
Gateway Occupation

HS Pathway Progressions​

Explore Other Middle-Skills Pathways in Chicago Sector Analyses