Study touts health care workers with less than bachelor's degree

LAS VEGAS -- Among Las Vegas workers with less than a bachelor's degree only 3.5 percent hold jobs in the most common health care occupations, the lowest percentage among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Brookings Institution reported Wednesday night.

The public policy think tank, based in Washington, D.C., released a study arguing that workers with less than a bachelor's degree are playing an increasingly significant role in health care.

"Today's healthcare industry is facing significant challenges, including expanded access, an aging population, the need for cost reduction and most importantly, a call for improved health outcomes," said Martha Ross, fellow with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of the report. "All of these changes have repercussions for the roles and responsibilities of health care employees.

"This report shines a spotlight on the important role that less educated employees can and should play in helping the health care system achieve the ‘triple aim' of better care, improved health outcomes, and lower costs."

There were an estimated 23,839 Las Vegas employees with less than a bachelor's degree who worked in the 10 most common health care occupations, according to data from 2009 through 2011. That was good enough to place Las Vegas 44th among the largest metros.

Included were 5,218 individuals employed as nursing, psychiatric or home health aides with a median salary of $32,000, 4,130 registered nurses with a median salary of $62,000, and 2,829 workers employed as health practitioner support technologists and technicians with a median salary of $30,000.

But Las Vegas health care workers with less than a bachelor's degree represented only 43.2 percent of all health care workers in the metro area, placing Las Vegas 92nd.

 


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