Thought this was interesting: Casper Star-Tribune Online - Regional

TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- The state Department of Labor predicts a strong demand for new registered nurses in Idaho to continue until 2016, with an average yearly need for more than 500 of these medical professionals.

The state expects health care, with nursing at the forefront, will prove the fastest growing industry in Idaho during the next eight years and offer some of the highest-paying jobs.

Pharmacists and dental hygienists will also be in big demand, according to an agency report released this fall.

The need for more registered nurses in Idaho is being driven by the total growth of the population, including a sizable portion that is aging, and retiring health care workers who are part of the baby-boom generation, said Jan Roeser, an economist with the state Department of Labor.

The agency expects the number of Idaho residents age 65 and older to nearly double during the next eight years.

"You can't really tie it to just one thing," Roeser told The Times-News.

Mike Slagowski, a 36-year-old single father of three, is earning a nursing degree at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. Despite the slowdown in job markets nationwide, Slagowski said he is confident nursing will allow him get a job and continue to provide for his family despite the troubling economy.

"People are still going to get sick," Slagowski said.

The median pay for a registered nurse in Idaho is about $25 an hour, according to the Department of Labor.

Heather Callen was among nursing students at the college in south-central Idaho who attended a campus career fair on Friday. Callen said nursing appeals to her because it provides opportunities nationwide.

"It's pretty much guaranteed that you'll have a job no matter where you go," Callen said.

This mobility also creates job openings as nurses leave their positions to tackle new specialties, such as working in an emergency room or in orthopedics, said Shari Rumple, a nurse at Gooding County Memorial Hospital.

"Even though we're a small facility," Rumple said. "We always have at least one RN (registered nurse) opening."

Still, the career fair for nursing students last week wasn't without signs of the tightening economy.

At least two recruiters who had planned to come to the event canceled, said Nina Hollifield, an assistant professor in the nursing program at the College of Southern Idaho.