Career colleges play a vital role in meeting occupational demands

By Candace Bensel

Four out of the five fastest growing occupations projected between 2014-2024 are in healthcare and healthcare support occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. and indicate that jobs in the healthcare industry are expected to grow more rapidly than any other industry with roughly 22 percent, or 3.2 million new jobs by 2018.

features_edroundup_employmentIn September 2016, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 7.9 million persons unemployed and 5.9 million job openings.  We have a need for skilled workers in high demand occupations and jobs are going unfilled.  Approximately 66 percent of high school graduates move on to college each year, but more than half will drop out.  Of those that do graduate, many are finding they are not prepared for the workforce because their program lacked the hands-on skills training required in our workforce today or they were prepared for a career in oversaturated markets.

Kentucky’s career colleges and schools approach higher education from a skills-based training mindset and have higher graduation and job placement rates than their counterparts as a result.  These schools collaborate with industry leaders in the local workforce through advisory groups to identify skills to incorporate into their curriculum, new practices and policies to cover with students and to fine-tune the messaging they relay as students prepare to enter their career.

Career colleges identify workforce needs to determine the programs they offer and the number of students they enroll each year.  As a result, many offer programs in allied health fields.  Students at Kentucky’s career colleges benefit from hands-on learning in the classroom and on the job during externships.  Classrooms are designed to mirror the clinical settings they will be working in, preparing students with the tools they will be using on the job and familiarizing them with the environment before they ever enter the workplace.

The projected needs in the top ten high demand healthcare occupations expected to meet present demands and fill positions of those leaving the workforce or retiring include:

  • RN: 1,000,000
  • Home Health Aide: 454,000
  • Medical Assistant: 199,000
  • Pharmacy Technician: 178,000
  • Medical Secretary: 133,000
  • Dental Assistant: 130,000
  • Healthcare Administrator: 92,000
  • Medical Records and Health Information Technician: 76,000
  • Physical Therapist: 68,000
  • EMT and Paramedic: 62,000

For information on local colleges offering these programs, visit the members page at

The Kentucky Association of Career Colleges and Schools (KACCS) is a voluntary association of proprietary colleges and schools.  KACCS is committed to creating and maintaining quality in the private, career education sector for people of the Commonwealth.  The Association strives to increase public interest in and understanding of the proper place and value of private, career education in Kentucky.

-Candace Bensel is executive director of Kentucky Association of Career Colleges and Schools.