Survey says Healthcare has 
Growth Potential

A 2005 survey by the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) highlights MERIC's occupational projections and compares vacancy and turnover rates for high demand healthcare occupations. The results show outstanding growth potential for many healthcare professions across the state. MERIC projections find ten of the twenty fastest growing occupations from 2004-2014 are in the healthcare field.

Occupation 2004-2014 
Percent Change
Growth Openings
Network Systems and Data Comm. Analysts 43.8% 2,429
Dental Hygienists 43.2% 853
Medical Assistants 43.0% 2,812
Dental Assistants 42.6% 2,069
Computer Software Engineers, Sys. Software 39.3% 1,389
Physician Assistants 38.6% 374
Home Health Aides 34.8% 3,373
Forensic Science Technicians 34.7% 86
Computer Software Engineers, Applications 34.3% 3,794
Network and Computer Systems Admin. 31.3% 1,934
Database Administrators 31.1% 819
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists 30.3% 604
Social and Human Service Assistants 29.8% 955
Personal and Home Care Aides 29.2% 4,928
Occupational Therapist Assistants 29.2% 186
Physical Therapist Assistants 28.7% 396
Tour Guides and Escorts 28.1% 216
Marriage and Family Therapists 27.8% 62
Special Education Teachers 27.8% 1,667
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 27.3% 1,098

Though not in the top twenty in percent growth, registered nurse has the fifth most projected openings in Missouri with 23,189 and the most among healthcare occupations. It also has the highest vacancy and turnover rates for healthcare occupations, making it a high demand occupation for years to come. According to the MHA survey in 2005, the vacancy rate for registered nurses was 9.5 percent, a lower rate than the last survey in 2002 of 11.1 percent.

The vacancy rate for registered nurses varies by region in Missouri with the lowest rates occurring in the northeast, northwest and southeast regions. Higher vacancy rates occurred in the central, southwest and Ozark regions.

Turnover rates were more evenly distributed throughout the state with the west central, south central and northeast regions experiencing higher rates and northwest and central regions the lowest.


Other occupations covered in the MHA survey were pharmacist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, respiratory therapist and medical laboratory technician. All these occupations will experience growth over the next ten years.


2004 Estimated 2014 Projected
Total, All Occupations 2,923,800 3,167,280
Registered Nurses 53,110 65,190
Pharmacists 4,790 5,650
Physical Therapists 3,650 4,570
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians 3,290 3,920
Occupational Therapists 2,630 3,340
Respiratory Therapists 2,120 2,520

Vacancy rates for pharmacists increased in 2005 to 7.9 percent from 6.4 percent the previous year with the highest rates in west central and lowest in the northeast and southeast regions. Physical therapist experienced the highest vacancy rates in the south central and Kansas City regions and lowest in the northeast and northwest regions.

For the entire results of the Missouri Hospital Workforce Report 2005, visit the MHA website at:
MERIC occupational projections can be found at:


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