New Health Care Programs Needed to Meet Soaring Job Demand

With an aging U.S. population driving skyrocketing needs for health care workers, higher education institutions are facing increasing pressure to expand graduate programs in high-growth medical fields like physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, and speech-language pathology.

“We’re seeing a tremendous, pronounced level of interest in health care graduate programs,” said Pradeep Khandelwal, EIM CEO, at a recent virtual forum hosted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified staggering growth needs—a 21% increase for physical therapists, 18% for occupational therapists, 31% for physician assistants, and 25% for speech-language pathologists, just to name a few.” *

Powerful Societal Trends Reshaping Health Care Landscape

The exploding job demand is fueled by societal trends reshaping the health care landscape. “An aging population in the U.S. needs a wide array of services,” Khandelwal noted. Innovations like AI are speeding up changes in standards and challenging how we train future health care professionals. Delivery models are shifting toward preventative care and value-based strategies.

By 2034, older adults are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history, increasing the need for services like geriatric care management. Breakthroughs in digital health, telehealth, wearable devices, and AI-assisted diagnostics are enabling more proactive, personalized care. Emerging value-based payment models that reward quality over quantity are catalyzing preventative, holistic treatment approaches.

Universities Partner to Launch Hybrid Accelerated Degrees

To rapidly scale up and meet this critical workforce need, universities are partnering with organizations like EIM to launch hybrid accelerated degree programs that blend online learning with intensive in-person clinical training.

“Higher education leaders from institutions of all sizes are now seeing an ability to address societal needs at a national level with these hybrid programs,” said Khandelwal. “They can graduate individuals with in-demand skills who are virtually guaranteed healthy income-producing employment.”

Hybrid programs allow universities to nimbly create new academic pathways while maintaining rigorous standards. By combining EIM’s expertise in instructional design, digital delivery, student services and clinical placements with institution’s vision and mission, the hybrid model provides a best-of-both-worlds education.

Students get access to top practitioners as instructors, robust remotely accessible coursework, hands-on skills labs, and an extensive nationwide network of field sites and health care partners for clinical rotations.

Partnering for Broader Impact

As Khandelwal summarized, “With trusted partners who will act to further an institution’s mission and vision, universities are able to act more expeditiously, execute with much less risk, and have an impact beyond their historical reach.”

By joining forces with organizations like EIM, higher education institutions can rapidly deploy in-demand health care programs across the nation. This allows them to boost enrollment, generate new revenue streams, and increase their geographic impact—all while avoiding the substantial costs and risks of trying to build the capacity for national hybrid education from scratch.

For institutions looking to serve the evolving needs of students and the health care industry, forming the right partnership could be a powerful catalyst for change. Now is the time to act to solve a critical societal challenge and workforce need.

* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Consensus of Employment and Wages (QCEW). Projections from 2023 to 2033.