The Health Science cluster is about using your love of science to help keep people healthy and treat those who are not. Work directly with people as a doctor or physical therapist or on your own by conducting research on diseases and other important health information. This field allows you to work in diverse environments such as hospitals, medical and dental offices, or labs.An aging population is expected to increase so will the need for radiation therapists. Advancements in cancer treatment and detection also should boost the need for radiation therapists. There also will be a need for new nurses with an increase in the employment of registered nurses. The expected increase in jobs is due to many reasons, including an older population that is likely to have more medical problems, and growing access to health care due to federal health insurance reform. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics also should have favorable job prospects. Paramedics and EMTs will continue to be needed to care for sick and injured people during emergencies.
Employment Projections: 2016-2026*
According to Trailblazers analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the Health Science cluster is projected to experience about 21 percent growth in Virginia between 2016 and 2026, which exceeds the anticipated national average growth of 18 percent among all occupations in this cluster. This cluster employed approximately 306,300 Virginians in 2016 and is expected to employ over 63,500 more by 2026, which represents the greatest numeric increase of workers among all clusters. More than 369,800 Virginians are projected to be employed in Health Science occupations by 2026.
*NOTE: The methodology for classifying occupations within the cluster/pathway system has been updated since the previous data cycle (2014-24), so 2016-26 Trailblazers employment projection data may not be comparable to data from previous cycles.
For more information on occupations in the Health Science Cluster, visit Trailblazers – Career and Technical Education in Virginia (PDF).
|Selected Occupation(s)||Employed in Virginia
|2017 Median Wage||Predominant Level of Education|
|Registered Nurses||64,787||$66,060||Bachelor's or more|
|Nursing Assistants||38,067||$26,590||Associate/Some college & Training/Certification|
|Licensed Practical and
Licensed Vocational Nurses
|21,668||$42,310||Associate/Some college & Training/Certification|
|Medical Assistants||12,603||$32,260||Associate/Some college & Training/Certification|
|Home Health Aides||11,526||$21,770||High School Diploma or less & Training/Certification|
|Pharmacy Technicians||9,067||$29,840||Associate/Some college & Training/Certification|
|Dental Assistants||8,258||$41,090||Associate/Some college & Training/Certification|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||7,752||$100,780||Bachelor's or more & Work experience|
|Pharmacists||7,085||$128,550||Bachelor's or more|
|Medical Secretaries||5,256||$35,290||Associate/Some college & Training/Certification|
- Wage data: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, May 2017.
- Employment projections data: Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Long-Term Occupational Projections, 2016-2026.
- Predominant education level: Trailblazers through the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.
Career Cluster Planning
A resource for counselors, administrators, and educators
CTE Administrative Planning Guide (APG) – includes information to help local school divisions plan and schedule instructional programs. The APG is organized by career clusters, with a complete listing of courses, concentration sequences, and credentials available to students as they plan for career entry and continuing education. Users may access course information by cluster or by searching for specific courses or certifications.
Career Planning Guide – includes an easy way for students and counselors to look for courses to further career goals. One can search for occupations, browse by Career Clusters or favorite academic subjects.
Information and tips for instructional leaders, administrators, counselors and teachers/faculty for creating a career pathway academic and career plan of study.
Sample Academic and Career Plans of StudySchool divisions are asked to develop sample plans of study based on the courses offered within their schools, the employment needs of the region, and the post-high school educational opportunities needed for these careers. Once these sample plans are developed, they can be customized to the needs of individual students so that all students have the opportunity to have an individualized academic and career plan of study.
Sample Pathway Plans of Study for Health Science:
- Biotechnology Research & Development (Word)
- Diagnostic Services (Word)
- Health Informatics (Word)
- Support Services (Word)
- Therapeutic Services (Word)
- Blank Plan of Study (with fields) (Word)
Also see Sample Plans of Study for all clusters and pathways.
Report: Education, Employment and Earnings: Analyzing Data from Health Science
Cluster Analysis Document for Virginia
Current research relative to employment sectors and information on occupation supply and demand. The information is presented in two formats: a summary brief and a detailed report.
Nontraditional Careers: Occupational and Employment Information
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2017 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.