top jobs in 2021
There are many enriching roles beyond becoming a physician, nurse, dentist, or veterinarian. Source: Joseph Prezioso/AFP

The top jobs in 2021-22 revolve heavily around post-pandemic recovery. COVID-19 is straining healthcare systems worldwide, prompting doctors and nurses to stretch themselves thin to uphold their medical responsibilities.

In fact, the pandemic has highlighted gaps in healthcare professionals training, highlighting the importance of areas such as infection control, mental healthcare and ageing and aged care in all educational programmes for health professions. We now know that healthcare provision is a complex, multi-layered practice that involves all kinds of specialists and assistants. If you’re considering medical school or a healthcare degree, it helps to know about your potential career pathways and what you need to do to break into them.

Top jobs 2021-22: Beyond the typical roles

While surgeons remain the best-paid medical professionals, the growth of the industry is driving up demand for a host of other specialisations. You may explore the managerial or biotechnological facets of healthcare, which are increasingly lucrative. But besides becoming a physician, nurse, dentist, or veterinarian, what are the top jobs in 2021 within healthcare and medicine? Here are some of your career options.

top jobs in 2021

Source: Jens Schlueter/AFP

Physician assistant

Becoming a physician’s right-hand person involves conducting and interpreting tests and exams. These physicians play a supportive role in diagnostics and treatment. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for this role will increase 31.3% between 2019 and 2029, which translates to close to 40,000 jobs in the US alone. You will need a postgraduate degree to break into this career.

Speech language pathologist

Standing out from the other top jobs in 2021 for healthcare, this role involves assessing, diagnosing, and treating communication disorders. You will need a speech therapist degree, bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders or a related major to work with a range of patients: children with trouble swallowing, people who stutter, even recovering stroke victims. As research progresses, pathologists are privy to more insights and techniques to help improve speech impediments. That’s why the US will require 24.9% more speech language pathologists in the next decade, opening up over 40,000 jobs.

Occupational/physical therapist

Occupational therapists focus on building and restoring abilities, while physical therapists help patients rehabilitate from injuries. As the saying goes, “Physical therapy teaches people how to walk, and occupational therapy teaches them how to dance.” You must undergo training to become a certified therapist.

Upon graduation, you can work in hospitals, centres, even schools or homes, depending on your patient’s needs. As the quality of healthcare grows, so does the demand for dedicated therapists who can not only guide rehabilitation, but walk with the patient through each stage of recovery.

Source: Gerard Julien/AFP


According to a 2019 Indeed survey in Australia, job ads for pharmacists spiked 180% in that year, while pharmacy assistant jobs ads grew 170%. They are also paid increasingly well. See, these healthcare professionals go beyond distributing medicine; they handle health screenings and immunisations, research medication therapy, and even study a patient’s medical profile to consult doctors on best treatment plans.

What qualifications will you need? Well, pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy professional degree and pass licensing exams before they can legally prescribe medicine. Rules to practice differ from country to country, but your foreign degree should be widely recognised as a vital stepping stone.


As the world recognises the importance of good mental health, seeking psychiatrist help is normalised and even encouraged. Diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental disorders is only possible after medical school and a psychiatry residency programme. It is a healthcare career path that involves treating the whole patient, with or without medical intervention.

There is a shortage of psychiatrists, too — not just in the US, but in other developing countries as well, which places it among the promising top jobs of 2021 and beyond. This shortage is expected to hit 12% by 2025, which creates a pressing need for more qualified graduates who enter practice.