Employment of nursing assistants is projected to grow 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of orderlies is projected to grow 11 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
As the baby-boom population ages, many nursing assistants and orderlies will be needed to assist and care for elderly patients in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Older people are more likely than younger people to experience dementia, as well as chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. More nursing assistants will be needed to care for patients with these conditions.
Demand for nursing assistants may be constrained by the fact that many nursing homes rely on government funding. Cuts to programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, may affect patients' ability to pay for nursing home care. In addition, patient preferences and shifts in federal and state funding are increasing the demand for home and community-based long-term care, which should lead to increased opportunities for nursing assistants working in home health and community rehabilitation services.
Job prospects for nursing assistants who have completed a state-approved education program and passed their state's competency exam should be good, particularly in home healthcare services and community-based care settings. The low pay and high emotional and physical demands cause many workers to leave the occupation, and they will have to be replaced. This creates opportunities for jobseekers.
Nursing Assistants and Orderlies
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Healthcare support occupations
Nursing assistants and orderlies
Total, all occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program