According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the healthcare industry is among the fastest growing in the country and will create 3.2 million new jobs (an increase of 22 percent compared to 11 percent for all other industries) between 2008 and 2018. A recent survey by the Harris Interactive for University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, revealed that over half of high school-age students were not interested in pursuing a career in healthcare and science fields, with students of color being the least interested.

The results of the survey indicated:

  • 51 percent of 9th-12th graders were not interested in pursuing STEM careers
  • 61 percent of African American students were not interested in pursuing STEM careers
  • 42 percent of Hispanic students were not interested in pursing STEM careers

The reasons students provided for their lack of interest included:

  • 21 percent felt they were not good in school subjects in healthcare/science
  • 18 percent felt they do not know enough about such careers
  • 16 percent felt they are not ready to study healthcare/science in college
  • 16 percent felt education for a healthcare/science degree would cost too much

According to the 2012 ACT exam scores, many students are not graduating from high school ready to pursue math and science studies in college, which may explain why 21 percent of students surveyed felt they were not good in healthcare/science subjects.

Based on 2012 ACT exam scores, less than half of all students demonstrated college readiness in science:

  • 47 percent of Asian students
  • 38 percent of White students
  • 21 percent of Pacific Islander
  • 16 percent of Hispanic students
  • 15 percent of American Indian
  • 7 percent of Black students

Although in math, the percentage of students was higher, only two racial groups had over 50 percent of students demonstrating college readiness in math:

  • 72 percent of Asian students
  • 54 percent of White students
  • 41 percent of Pacific Islander
  • 31 percent of Hispanic students
  • 24 percent of American Indian
  • 15 percent of Black students