STRONG DEMAND FOR BILINGUAL MEDICAL WORKERS IN HOUSTON & DALLAS

The 2020 U.S. Census report estimates the U.S. population to be approximately 329 million. This represents a 0.35% increase over 2019.  But while some states saw large increases in population growth, others experienced declines.  The Census report details important migration and cultural trends taking shape across the United States that will influence everyone from healthcare workers, language translators and interpreters, construction workers, teachers and many other aspects that are important to growing cities near Houston, including Sugar Land, Pearland, The Woodlands, and Conroe. One important projection that has been identified is the number of jobs in the medical field that will need to be filled through 2036. These same economic and employment trends are equally important to growing cities near Dallas such as Frisco, McKinney, Plano, Irving, Arlington and Fort Worth. 

Less than 100 years ago, Americans lived in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southern states. But today, the Southern states and Western states have the largest populations. A large part of this trend can be explained by the exodus of Americans from areas like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. The areas with the largest population gains tend to be retirement and high-tech hubs in areas with favorable weather conditions, relatively low-cost of living and respected academic institutions. 

Immigration & Migration to Houston and Dallas

While Americans are migrating to southern cities like Houston and Dallas, the country is also becoming more diverse. Between 2010 and 2021, more that 70-percent of U.S. cities grew in racial diversity. While the white population declined, the Latino population grew by 20%, Asian population by 29% and the black population by 2%. A significant portion of this diversity resulted from U.S. immigration policy.  As America’s new growth centers have attracted people from across the country, they have also attracted people from around the world.  In fact, metropolitan areas like Dallas, Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Tampa, and San Antonio are among top destinations for people immigrating to the United States. 

Population Trends in Texas For Multilingual Workers

Jobs in the Medical Field: Solving Healthcare Challenges

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that with several tech centers, a location close to the Mexican border, moderate climate, low cost of living and number of nationally recognized universities, the state of Texas features several of the most linguistically and culturally diverse cities in the United States. In fact, Irving, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, has been identified as the second most diverse city in the country. In recent years, this title of most diverse city in the U.S. has been awarded to Houston. Both cities are minority-majority cities and consist of large numbers of Hispanics, Whites, Africans, East Asians, Southeast Asians, South Asians, and Middle Easterners. The large number of translation companies in each city is one indication of the high level of diversity, which is immediately recognizable. In fact, nearly 60% of residents in Irving speak a language other than English, with the largest non-English language spoken most being Spanish. In Houston, more than 145 different languages are spoken.

While the population growth from migration and immigration are welcomed in metropolitan areas like Houston and Dallas, they present challenges. This is particularly true in the field of health care, where accommodating population growth means building and expanding hospitals, specialized clinics, and nursing homes. It also means attracting lots of new doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers and having access to competent Houston and Dallas translation services. In Houston and Dallas, through 2036, employment in healthcare occupations will account for an estimated one in four new jobs. Many jobs in the medical field will need to be staffed by bilingual speakers of English and Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese or Vietnamese. Alternatively, medical providers will need align with qualified translation services providers. At present, health care accounts for 12% of the jobs in the greater Houston area, or 335,000 workers, but by 2036 the number could easily approach 412,000.  

The number of jobs in the medical field in Houston and Dallas will outpace other occupations. Increased diversity will accelerate demand for multilingual medical translators and medical workers.

Demand For Multilingual Health Care Workers in Texas

In today’s growth cities like Houston and Dallas, Health Care employment has experienced faster growth than other sectors. The challenge to these communities is meeting increasing demand for health services with trained medical professionals. Accommodating non-English-speaking patients with skilled language translators and bilingual healthcare workers and other medical professionals is a must.

Independent studies suggest that the healthcare jobs with the greatest demand will include therapists, lab technicians and health aids, who work outside the largest hospitals. Further, the Texas Department of State Health Services projects a shortage of more than 32,000 RN’s by the year 2032. But shortages of healthcare workers, especially those with bilingual language translation and interpretation skills could delay needed care.  With current immigration trends, language translation services that provide medical translators will be needed to eliminate the language barriers that exist between medical professionals and non-English-speaking patients. A qualified medical translator has education and training in a medical field, along with a degree or certification in language studies. Their specialized training allows them to translate medical records, including laboratory reports, radiology reports, pathology reports, medical histories, discharge summaries, medical notes and medical certifications, and vital records such as birth certificates and death certificates. Medical translators are increasingly important as more immigrants relocate to Houston and Dallas. At present, doctors with Houston Methodist Hospital and Baylor Scott & White Health are unable to accommodate all of the multilingual needs of patients.

Further, cities like Dallas and Houston will also need to invest in educating future medical professionals, particularly bilingual medical professionals if they want to meet the needs of their expanding cities. The University of Houston’s College of Medicine is one example of how Houston is working to keep the next generation of medical professionals in the greater Houston area. The goal is to attract students interested in pursuing medical careers from outside the area and keep them local as they marry and raise families. Another example is HCA Houston Healthcare which has already donated millions of dollars to the University of Houston’s College of Nursing to attract students to pursue careers in nursing.

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