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Emerging occupations.

The health and social services industries are, between them, the leading employers in 16 of the 25 emerging occupations identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics 1993 Occupational Employment Statistics survey. (See chart 1.) Emerging occupations may be entirely new or may be occupations in which employment increased from very low levels.

Health services jobs

Emerging health care management occupations were reported very frequently. Among these occupations are discharge coordinators and planners who arrange for medical care after a hospital stay and medical and mental health case managers who assess patient needs and develop plans to ensure that the patient receives appropriate care.

In addition, as more health care services are reimbursed by insurance or other third party payers, more people are needed to handle the paperwork. This has created a need for reimbursement specialists to process the forms necessary to receive payment; intake coordinators to process the paperwork necessary for admission of new patients and respond to inquiries from prospective patients; and medical coders to read medical documents and, using specialized software, code patient diagnostic and treatment data.

Health maintenance organizations (HMO's) continue to gain in popularity and to contract with more doctors, hospitals, laboratories, and clinics to provide services for their members. Occupations emerging from this trend are provider relations representatives to establish and maintain relations between health care providers and purchasers; and utilization review coordinators (nurses employed by HMO's) to assess the extent to which medical services are provided in compliance with established medical and financial standards, and who screen admissions for medical necessity.

Social services jobs

In the social services, emerging occupations often appear in the area where health care and social services intersect. (See exhibit 1.) For example, activity directors plan, coordinate, and supervise activities for groups in nursing homes, hospitals, residential care facilities, and senior citizen centers. Adult day care coordinators, adult day care directors, and adult day care supervisors coordinate and supervise day care for elderly persons in residential care facilities or senior citizen centers. Art and music therapists use these mediums in a physical or mental therapy program for disabled or emotionally disturbed persons, or for senior citizens or others in residential care settings.

Also in social services, bereavement counselors, bereavement coordinators, and bereavement followup workers provide grief counseling to families or individuals after the death of a loved one. Job coaches teach job duties to disabled clients at the worksite or at a training center. They also serve as on-the-job training assistants until the client achieves job proficiency, and they may provide job placement services for the client or negotiate work-related issues with the employer.

Other occupations

Changes taking place in businesses throughout the economy are having an effect on the way work is being done at all levels of the corporate hierarchy. As a result, emerging occupations are being reported in many fields, including:

* Customer service representatives and customer support staff to answer calls to "800" product information numbers and handle customers' inquiries or complaints, give price quotations, investigate errors, and perform order entry tasks.

* ATM (automatic teller machine) servicers and ATM clerks, in response to changes in the banking industry which include installing more ATM's and encouraging customers to use them.

* Desktop publishing specialists and operators, reflecting more powerful, less expensive computers, software, printers, and related equipment which allow firms to produce documents inhouse and on demand.

* Geographic information systems (GIS) specialists to design and maintain geographic databases and perform spatial analysis and image processing using geographic information systems "desktop mapping" software.

* Telecommunications managers and specialists who are responsible for the design, development and/or administration of voice, data, and image communications networks.

* Quality assurance directors and quality assurance coordinators, who test for product quality and consistency, administer quality management programs, and formulate plans for quality improvement, in response to the "quality improvement" movement sweeping the Nation.

As firms respond to worker safety and environmental protection concerns, several technical occupations are emerging, including:

* Air monitoring technicians and air quality technicians who collect air samples from construction sites, businesses, hospitals, schools, or other sites; and

* Hazardous materials removal workers and field technicians who remove, pack, transport, and/or dispose of hazardous materials.

"At Issue" was prepared by Douglas Himes of the Division of Occupational and Administrative Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics. and is based on Issues in Labor Statistics (Summary 96-5).
COPYRIGHT 1996 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Himes, Douglas
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Mar 1, 1996
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