Utah: A Shortage of Healthcare Workers

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The COVID-19 pandemic hit healthcare workers hard. Long workdays, tough conditions, and little time off pushed some people out of the industry. And others nearing retirement age decided to get out for good. Now regions across the country—including Utah—are experiencing a gap in their healthcare workforce. In fact, most Utah counties have been designated Health Profession Shortage Areas (HPSA) for primary medical care in Utah, which means that they are in need of healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, and medical assistants.

What is a Health Profession Shortage Area (HPSA)?

Several counties surrounding Salt Lake City have been designated as Health Profession Shortage Areas, also known as HPSAs. These areas need an increase in healthcare workers based on patient population or geographic location. For example, counties like Morgan, Tooele, Box Elder, and Juab need healthcare professionals who can provide services closer to where residents live while counties such as Utah, Cache, and Carbon need more healthcare workers based on the number of people who live there.

The healthcare shortage can be a challenge for patients and staffing, but it also presents an opportunity if you want to begin a healthcare career. A shortage of workers means there is a demand for those with skills in patient care, medical office management, and medical records management. In particular, the Utah Department of Workforce Services projects employment growth for Medical Assistants. Approximately 1,400 Medical Assistant positions are expected to open across the state each year, with more than 500 of those jobs located in the Salt Lake City metro area.

Can You Help Fill the Utah Healthcare Shortage?

If you have an interest in health care and a passion for helping others, you might consider a career as a Medical Assistant. In this role, you are responsible for clinical and administrative tasks at a healthcare facility. You set up exam rooms, clean and sterilize tools and equipment, and assist the doctor during exams and minor procedures. You also schedule appointments, submit insurance claims, order supplies from vendors, and respond to phone calls and emails. You ensure that the office runs smoothly so that the doctor can focus on the patients.

To be successful as a Medical Assistant, you need to know the basics of the healthcare delivery system, understand medical vocabulary, and be able to manage medical records and file insurance claims. You can learn these skills and more through a Medical Assistant training program. Through your studies, you learn how to manage a medical office, educate patients on proper health and wellness, and how to anticipate the doctor’s needs in the exam room. You also gain experience in laboratories that simulate real-world settings, and through an externship at a local healthcare facility.

Do you want to help address the healthcare worker shortage in your community? Charter College offers a Certificate in Medical Assistant that can prepare you for entry-level work in the field. Our program is offered in a blended learning format for convenience and flexibility and can be completed in as few as 10 months. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.