The healthcare industry has taken on massive growth in recent years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18% by 2026, adding nearly 2.4 million new jobs. 

This growth is attributed to several factors, including a growing population of aging baby boomers. By 2030, an estimated one-fifth of the population will be over the age of 65. And with advances in modern medicine, these boomers are living longer, fueling the demand for healthcare. Overall, spending on healthcare is set to increase at an average yearly rate of 5.5% through 2026

As healthcare costs rise, consumers are increasingly looking to low-cost alternatives in search of the best value. At the same time, there is a growing national interest in wellness, fitness and nutrition, opening up plenty of opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in dipping a toe into healthcare and starting their own business. 

For aspiring entrepreneurs, the following businesses are among the many growth opportunities within the healthcare industry:

  • Home Health Care. Costs for healthcare continue to grow, resulting in an increased demand for low-cost home care solutions. As an owner of a home health care business, you provide professional medical care within a patient's home. These businesses assign professionals to monitor chronic health issues, provide senior care or give day-to-day home assistance like cooking meals, cleaning and changing bandages. Keep in mind that you will need to register with the state to receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid, then obtain certifications and hire a reliable team of health professionals before starting operations. 

  • Medical Transcription. If you are looking for an opportunity that allows you to work from home, make your own hours and do almost everything digitally, medical transcription might be the job for you. As an alternative to selling goods, medical transcriptionists sell their services, transcribing voice recordings into written documents for medical records. They are usually employed by hospitals, but physicians' offices and medical labs are also popular options. While digital transcription alternatives powered by artificial intelligence are cropping up on the market, these new technologies are creating a new demand for human support to ensure quality. Medical transcription does require some training, and additional certificates can give you a leg up on the competition. 

  • Medical Supply Sales. The aging population and the chronically ill have a growing need for medical supplies and equipment, including walkers, braces and bedpans. A medical supply business gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to either open a physical store and sell within their community or create an online store and target customers in any location. Market research will be necessary to learn which products are in demand and where, and you'll also need knowledge around quality suppliers and your competition. A medical supply sales business is a hands-on undertaking, but it's also an exciting opportunity for an entrepreneur looking to grow a large, successful investment -- some big suppliers see profit margins greater than 20%. There is also a lot of growth opportunity in terms of expanding the physical locations or the geographic market of the online store.  

Medical and Wellness Franchises

Beyond independent businesses, it's also an opportune time to open a medical-based or wellness franchise. This is a smart choice for entrepreneurs with little experience who want support when starting their first business. 

A franchise can make it easier for first-time business owners to get their company off the ground, thanks to corporate backing and a tried-and-true business plan. Supplement shops, weight loss centers, chiropractic offices, urgent care facilities and dialysis centers are just a few examples. 

However, don't forget that an infrastructure of support also comes with a set way of doing things. So if it isn't in your wheelhouse to follow strict brand guidelines and rules, a medical franchise may not be the best choice.

Now's the time to enter the healthcare market 

The healthcare industry is strictly regulated, and for good reason -- you are working with human lives. So be prepared to obtain any and all licenses and certifications necessary before starting your entrepreneurial journey. 

With an aging population, rising healthcare costs and an increased interest in low-cost alternative healthcare solutions, it's a great time to meet the demand and enter the healthcare market. There is plenty of financial opportunity for entrepreneurs in the industry. Moreover, opening up a healthcare business is also an opportunity to do good. What better way to pivot your career than in healthcare, where you can be your own boss and help your community at the same time?

Published on: Aug 13, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.