In 2006, health care was the largest industry in the United States, accounting for 14 million jobs ranging from office administrators to nurses, dentists, physicians and specialist surgeons.
The US Department of Labor predicts it will be the fastest-growing industry in the country, adding another 3 million jobs in between 2006 and 2016 - or 20% of all the new employment in the country.
In addition, according to the American Medical Association, 7 of the top 10 fastest-growing individual occupations are in the field of health care.
Entering the sector - particularly in the professional or services arena that makes up approximately 75% of health care employment - usually requires at least a degree-level qualification in a specialized field.
Professional health care occupations often involve complex duties and bring a high level of responsibility. They include careers such as physicians, surgeons, dentists, registered nurses, social workers and physical therapists.
According to the DOL, these jobs require some of the highest standards of education and ethics as they involve the diagnosis of ailments and the treatment of patients.
Service jobs, meanwhile, require less specialized knowledge and can include roles varying from nursing aides and home care aides to dental assistants and building cleaners.
There are a number of other careers in health care that do not require the same degree of education as professional occupations, such as administration roles, which account for 18% of employment in the sector.
Furthermore, DOL statistics show that more than half the people employed in nursing or residential care facilities have a high school education or less, as do around a fifth of hospital workers.
With 580,000 health care establishments in the US, jobs are located throughout the country. They are based at facilities ranging from small-town private practices to major metropolitan hospitals.
Around 40% of all careers in health care-related fields are based in hospitals, with a further 21% in nursing and residential homes and 16% based in physician's offices.
Professional and management roles in health care typically offer earnings that are higher than other industries, the DOL said, although they vary widely based on the level of education and training required, and the amount of responsibility a particular occupation requires.