Essential Careers in the Workforce

One thing that stands out, in particular about the year 2020, is that essential careers are the backbone of our society. There’s no question the workplace today is different from the pre-pandemic workplace of early 2020. Here is what you should know about these careers.

What is it that makes a particular career essential?

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “essential workers are those who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continue critical infrastructure operations. Critical infrastructure is a large, umbrella term encompassing sectors from energy to defense to agriculture.” If you’re thinking that covers a lot of ground, you’re right. But let’s explore a few examples of what makes an essential career essential.

Healthcare workers

This is pretty much a no-brainer, but there are few times in modern history when healthcare workers were needed more. And the healthcare industry is made up of far more than just talented doctors and surgeons. The nurses, medical assistants and administrative healthcare workers are equally important to the vitality and effectiveness of a medical team. Consider the typical duties of these healthcare heroes.

  • Licensed Vocational Nurse(LVN) – LVNs provide essential assistance to doctors and registered nurses and play a key role on a medical team. They routinely prepare patients for exams, perform lab tests, record vital signs, update medical records and much more.
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) – CNAs work under the supervision of a registered nurse and provide personal patient care such as bathing, feeding and dressing patients, as well as recording vital signs, answering patient calls and monitoring a patient’s behavior.
  • Medical Assistant Administrative & ClinicalThis versatile healthcare worker fulfills an important role by performing clinical duties as well as the administrative side of the equation. Medical assistants greet patients, schedule appointments, process insurance forms, record patient medical histories and more. But they will also routinely take blood pressure readings and monitor heart rates.

People working in any of these healthcare careers are more than just critical members of a healthcare team, they are some of our most essential workers during a crisis.

Critical technical trades

Maybe less obvious as essential careers in the workforce, there are several trade and technical careers that are undoubtedly critical to keeping infrastructure intact during any local or national crisis or disaster.

  • ElectriciansWhen you ask yourself “what doesn’t run on electricity”, you can quickly come to the conclusion that without skilled electricians the giant machinery of not just healthcare but just about everything that moves would come to a screeching halt.
  • HVAC TechniciansThe world survived before central heat and air, right? Of course. But it’s safe to say a lot more people would struggle to survive a pandemic without the ability to not only manage the climate inside homes, hospitals and buildings everywhere, but also to control the indoor air quality. HVAC professionals are also the folks keeping refrigeration systems smoothly functioning to protect critical medical supplies, food and other essentials that simply wouldn’t fare well without it. There just isn’t enough ice.
  • WeldersThere are some essential careers that by their very nature are essential to other essential careers. Welders are integrally involved in just about every kind of infrastructure operation including HVAC, electrical and more. Without these employees working to manufacture the parts, technicians would be unable to service and repair the machinery.

Amidst a global pandemic, there are likely a lot more changes to come.  But what has become clearer than ever before is that essential workers, the men and women who get up and go to work every day – pandemic or not, are keeping the wheels on the bus in the post COVID-19 world as we know it. So, if you’re looking for what’s next for your career, why not consider a career path that makes YOU essential. If you’d like to learn more about the essential careers above, check out the programs at Summit College. Summit is training the next generation of indispensable heroes who keep our communities going in good times and bad. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a campus tour.