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Unaware of Possibilities, Many High School-Age Students Do Not Plan to Pursue Healthcare and Science Jobs

PHILADELPHIA, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the projected need for healthcare practitioners at all levels in a challenging job market, nearly half of high school-age students (45 percent of 13 to 18 year-olds) are not considering pursuing a career in healthcare and science fields. The news comes as a result of a recent survey conducted online by Harris Interactive for University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.  

Of the students who are not interested in pursuing a career in healthcare and the sciences, about one in five (22 percent) feel they "do not know enough about careers in healthcare and the sciences" to pursue them.  This includes 19 percent of teenagers between the ages of 16 to 18, a critical juncture for making decisions that impact their career options.

America's graying population, coupled with the yet-to-be-determined impact of healthcare reform, means countless healthcare and science jobs will need to be filled within the next decade.  

According to the Department of Labor, the healthcare industry is among the fastest growing in the country and will create 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018. Wage and salary employment in the healthcare industry is projected to increase 22 percent through 2018, compared with 11 percent for all industries combined. The occupations projected to grow the fastest, include home health aides, medical assistants, and physical therapists.  

"While only three percent of the students surveyed felt there are few job opportunities in the sciences, a markedly higher percentage felt they did not know enough about these jobs," said Russell J. DiGate, PhD, provost at University of the Sciences. "To meet the projected growing demand, there appears to be a need to help teenagers understand the types of healthcare and science opportunities available to them, and then encourage them in their choices."

The survey, conducted between May 20-25 among 604 high school-age students, also suggests that the disinterest in healthcare and science jobs is partly due to students feeling intimidated by the field. Specifically, among high school age students who express disinterest,

  • Twenty-one percent feel they are not good at healthcare and science subjects in school
  • Nineteen percent do not feel ready to study healthcare or science in college
  • Twelve percent feel getting a healthcare degree would be too difficult.

With its healthcare and science focus, University of the Sciences has historically seen 90 percent of its graduates get a job or pursue post-graduate education placements within three months of graduation.

"Healthcare and science jobs are dynamic, meaningful, and rewarding," said Dr. DiGate.  "And keeping high school students informed about the options available to them will help talented individuals pursue these professions; this ultimately serves society as a whole."

Note: For more information on the survey, or to speak with a University of the Sciences expert about job opportunities available to students in healthcare and the sciences, contact Robert Johnson at

About the survey – This Healthcare and Science Jobs survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the University of Sciences in Philadelphia between May 20 to 25 among 606 children aged 10 to 18, 604 of whom are aged 13 to 18. 10-17 year old results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, parental education, urbanicity, and region. 18 year old results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Harris Interactive – Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

About University of the Sciences in PhiladelphiaAt University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, students embark on a challenging learning experience in a proving ground for successful professionals in the healthcare-related fields. A private, coeducational institution dedicated to education, research, and service, and distinguished as the nation's first college of pharmacy, the University has produced leaders in the healthcare marketplace since its founding in 1821, including founders of six of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world. With undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs in such disciplines as pharmacy, bioinformatics, physical therapy, healthcare business, and health policy, the 3,000 students in the University of the Sciences' five colleges learn to excel in scientific analysis and to apply their skills to improving healthcare in their communities and in the lives of people worldwide. Learn more online at

SOURCE University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
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