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There's never been a better time to progress your health career

Photo: There's never been a better time to progress your health career
Demand for skilled healthcare professionals is on the rise with 250,000 new jobs to be filled over the next five years. Stand out from the crowd with a postgraduate degree.

Australians might be living longer than ever before but as a country we are faced with many immediate health challenges including an ageing population and the rise of chronic diseases.

As such, the demand for skilled healthcare professionals is also on the rise and with 250,000 new jobs projected to be filled over the next five years , Australia’s Health and Social Assistance sector continues to dominate the country’s employment landscape.

With rapid advancements taking place across the sector, combined with increased patient needs, there is a strong nationwide demand for health professionals ready to step into more senior management and leadership positions, making it an opportune time to study, upskill and climb the ladder.
As job and career growth opportunities across the health sector continue to rise, leaders in online higher education, Open Universities Australia (OUA), have significantly expanded their suite of online postgraduate health degrees provided by leading universities, enabling students to drive their careers forward without having to sacrifice their income, family and other life commitments.

Where to focus your energy

The health sector requires staff to fill critical shortage areas, but also experienced and qualified employees to guide the sector into new and exciting areas.
“Australia is now focusing on better and smarter ways at delivering health. Opportunities to step up and progress your career are rapidly arising, especially in areas like psychology and mental health, disability and in aged and community care in general,” says Dan Hobson from Hobson Health Recruitment.

According to 2018 data from the Department of Jobs and Small Business, the occupation projected to add the largest number of jobs over the next five years is aged and disabled carers (77,400 jobs), followed by registered nurses (65,300). Allied health professionals, who represent more than a quarter of the health workforce, are also increasingly sought after as demand grows across aged care, mental health and disability.

“In a nutshell, what we’re seeing is a huge amount of opportunity within areas where it’s needed most due to shifting demographics but also, just as importantly, within roles that are not possible to automate and therefore will always require a human presence.”

Dan says that the health sector’s workforce is currently in a unique position of being able to shape its own journey, making it a great time to upskill and thrive within this exciting space.

How to stand out from the crowd

Dan Hobson says that, whilst there is an abundance of opportunity for those looking for a fulfilling career in the health sector, a commitment to lifelong learning and upskilling is essential if you’re looking to step into a more senior position.

“One issue I see in the health sector is that many people are stuck in the old mentality of just biding their time and waiting for a promotion. But there’s only so many higher-level positions going around. You need to be a strong candidate to advance,” says Hobson.

With years of nursing experience under her belt, Brenda Bruce from Alice Springs did just that when she enrolled into Curtin University’s Master of Health Industry Management online through OUA.

Balancing study with her role as a Clinical Nurse Consultant for Safety and Quality, two young children and several moves around the country with her husband’s job wasn’t always easy, however, slowly but surely Brenda completed her master’s degree, which she says has provided her with highly valuable and applicable skills to take her forward with her career.

Brenda says ‘doing it all’ certainly had its challenges, but that the flexibility of studying online is what made it feasible.

With the median age of those working within Australia’s Health and Social Assistance sector being 43  and a third (33%) living in regional areas, the ability to access higher education online is essential for those requiring the flexibility of balancing study with their busy lives.

“Many of the candidates I’m placing into those higher-level positions, both in metro and regional areas, are at the age where they are also paying down a mortgage and managing school runs alongside their career, so they just don’t have the capacity to study on-campus – they need the flexibility to be able to study in their own time, in their own homes, in their workplaces,” says Hobson.

Your way forward

OUA offers over 45 postgraduate health degrees from leading Australian universities, helping to satisfy unmet demand for online health degrees at a national level across key areas of the sector including nursing, mental health, public and community health.

The digital delivery of health degrees offered by universities through OUA are designed to meet the demands of health professionals with flexible study modes and practicums remaining an integral part of the content where relevant and required, so students will continue to gain practical experience in professional field placements under clinical supervision.

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