Health care IT is No. 1 among the top 10 hot jobs for college graduates, according to a report by the University of California San Diego Extension.
The report "2011 Hot Careers for College Graduates" aimed to reveal the top jobs for both recent grads and those in mid-career.
Researchers compiled the data based on college enrollment figures, national employment statistics, and interviews with executives in San Diego.
The federal mandate to implement EHRs (electronic health records) creates a need for health care integration engineers, health care systems analysts, clinical IT consultants and technology support specialists, the report states.
"Jobs and needs in the health care information technology field are a critical component of plans for positive change in the health care industry," wrote Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of public programs and dean of UC SD Extension, in the report.
"Although much of the anticipated reform for the U.S. health care system revolves around financial incentives and risk, achieving the cost efficiencies necessary to support that reform depends on more aggressive application of information technology to daily health care operations," she added.
In 2008, EHR and health information technicians held 172,500 jobs, according to the report. In the following decade (2008-2018), jobs in this area will grow by 20 percent, according to UC San Diego Extension.
"The injection of skilled knowledge workers into the magnet of health care information technology will not only provide solutions to immediate needs, but also will serve as a catalyst for new and emerging types of jobs in the coming years as the impact of health care IT takes hold," Mark Cafferty, San Diego Workforce Partnership president and CEO, wrote in the report.
The American Health Information Management Association projects around 40,000 new health care IT jobs over the next several years.
Health care IT careers can make patient care "safer, more effective and more efficient," Walshok noted.
"In order to implement this ambitious agenda with health care IT at the forefront, it is critical for the health care industry to have access to enough workers trained in the understanding and use of electronic records," said Walshok, who cowrote the recent book "Closing America's Job Gap."
Meanwhile, data-mining and analytics positions for government agencies such as the FBI as well as pharmaceutical, credit card and transportation companies came in second on the top 10 list of hot jobs.
The report predicts high wages for workers in data mining, including analysts, researchers and scientists.
Geriatric health care came in third place followed by mobile media. With news organizations, entertainment companies and advertisers using smartphones to stream content, jobs for graphic designers, video editors, app developers and software engineers will need to be filled, according to the report.
Mobile applications and Web sites and the development of mobile phone technology have created job opportunities for software engineers.
Job opportunities also abound for hygienists and ergonomists to keep the workplace free of accidents, according to the report.
Rounding out the top 10 list of hot jobs were Spanish/English translators, green jobs, ESL, financial examiners and health care case managers.