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High Demand for Health Care Jobs in Florida

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

April 17, 2015

Are you considering a job in the health care industry? In Florida, health care jobs are in high demand, according to the 2014–2015 Statewide Demand Occupation List—a report released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). Each year, this report reveals the jobs with the highest demand in the state of Florida. The list is based on annual percent growth of occupations statewide.

Registered nurses were number one on the list, with approximately 7,100 annual job openings and an average hourly wage of $30.28. Coming in at number nine on the list was licensed practical nurses, with approximately 2,346 annual job openings and an average hourly wage of $20.13. Nurses are in high demand in Florida and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. In fact, registered nurses are the 15th fastest-growing bachelor's degree level occupation in the United States with a projected growth rate of 13.09 percent by 20211.

Registered nurses are the largest profession licensed and regulated by the Florida Department of Health's Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) with a total of more than 250,000 active licensed registered nurses. According to the 2013–2014 Annual Report, MQA licenses nearly 22,000 registered nurses each year. Licensed practical nurses are the third largest profession licensed and regulated by MQA with more than 5,500 new licenses issued each year and a total of nearly 69,000 active licensees. In an effort to increase opportunities for nurses in Florida, the Board of Nursing reduced fees for initial license applications as of July 1 (2014) from $165 to $100. The cumulative benefit to new Florida registered nurses and licensed practical nurses is estimated at $1.75 million each year.

Not looking to pursue a career in nursing? Consider other health care professions that made it into the top 50 jobs in highest demand. They are:

  • Dental Assistants (#33)
  • Dental Hygienists (#42)
  • Massage Therapists (#47)
  • Radiologic Technologists (#49)
  • EMT/Paramedics (#50)

The population of licensed health care practitioners in Florida has increased by 15.9 percent since 2010, while the total resident population in Florida increased by only 5.5 percent. Because of this growing demand for health care jobs, MQA continues to make a concerted effort to reduce regulations and barriers to licensure that restrict opportunity for health care professionals. Working in conjunction with 22 boards and six councils, MQA licenses and regulates over 200 license types and seven types of facilities in more than 40 health care professions. By streamlining processes, decreasing application processing time and reducing licensure and renewal fees, MQA is committed to getting health care practitioners into the workforce in a more efficient and cost effective manner.

For more information on the Statewide and Regional Demand Occupation List issued by the DEO, visit their website at

1U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Market Statistics, Employment Projections Program, Forecast to 2021. Released December 2013.

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