People don't only get sick from Monday to Friday between 9 and 5, so it stands to reason that health care happens around the clock. This means that many health care jobs have evening, weekend and part-time hours -- good news for those who want to be part of the fast-growing health-care industry but don't want to commit to it full-time. While these jobs often don't offer benefits, they do provide flexibility that can be helpful for working parents, students and others who need it.
Many pharmacies are open around the clock, which means flexible hours for pharmacists, especially those who work in a retail setting. According to the BLS, about 19 percent of pharmacists worked part-time in 2008. And the pay tends to be high, meaning that part-time hours can sometimes provide enough to support a family.
Hourly pay: $53.64*
This is one of the most flexible careers out there about half of all dental hygienists worked part-time in 2008, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, a publication of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And dental hygiene is one of the fastest-growing occupations, expected to grow 36 percent between 2008 and 2018.
Hourly pay: $32.81*
These health professionals study and treat disorders related to hearing and balance. While most of them work full-time (putting in 40 to 50 hours per week), others work on a part-time basis, according to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.
Hourly pay: $32.05*
Nursing is the largest health care occupation, and is expected to grow significantly (about 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS). The agency reports that about 20 percent of nurses worked part time in 2008. Like many health-care professionals, nurses typically work in shifts, which in many cases can be dropped or added depending on scheduling requirements.
Hourly pay: $31.10*
Dispensing opticians fill prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. Most work regular business hours, but some work part time, especially at retail outlets, according to the BLS.
Hourly pay: $15.84*
Home health aide
The aging population increasingly needs health services at home, which is leading to surging numbers of home health aides. The occupation is expected to grow a whopping 48 percent between 2008 and 2018, the BLS reports. Weekend, evening and part-time hours are common, since many patients receive professional help to supplement the help they receive from family and other caregivers. It's worth noting, though, that the pay is low and the job is often demanding -- one reason so many jobs are expected to become available.
Hourly pay: $9.89*
Physicians are known for having demanding schedules, so it may seem surprising that more of them are choosing to scale back their hours. That's according to the American College of Physicians, which recently surveyed its members and found that 12 percent chose to work part time, almost half for family reasons. The arrangement can be beneficial, but the APA urged physicians to consider how it will affect their pay and benefits, among other issues.
Hourly pay: Varies depending on specialty
*Figures are the median hourly wages listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.