California’s Health Care Workforce

Tim Bates
Healthforce Center at UCSF

California’s health care industry employed more than 1.4 million people in 2015. Among these workers, nearly 55% were employed in ambulatory settings, about 25% in hospitals, and 20% in nursing or residential care facilities. An aging population, population growth, and federal health reform will likely contribute to increased demand.

This series of Quick Reference Guides from the CHCF California Health Care Almanac examines specific segments of the state’s health care workforce, focusing on pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, physician assistants, health diagnostic and treatment therapists, clinical laboratory scientists and technicians, and imaging professionals.

Among the trends:

  • California’s supply of pharmacists grew 17% between 2012 and 2015, while the supply of pharmacy technicians increased by 8%. About half of the state’s pharmacists were trained in California.
  • The number of physician assistants (PAs) in California grew 37% between 2012 and 2015. The Northern and Sierra region had more licensed PAs per capita than the rest of the state.
  • The supply of occupational and physical therapists increased between 2012 and 2015, while the supply of speech-language pathologists decreased slightly.
  • Between 2012 and 2015, California’s supply of clinical laboratory scientists remained stable while the number of medical/clinical lab technicians rose 11%.

Additional data and analysis on this topic is available from Healthforce Center at UCSF, the California Hospital Association, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The complete guides, as well as the 2014 editions, are available as Document Downloads.