Are you looking for a secure job in an in-demand field? Do you have an interest in medicine and a strong passion for helping others? If so, healthcare may be the right career path for you. Within the industry, there are many types of jobs that you can pursue. Here is a look into nine of the most popular types of healthcare degrees.
The population of baby boomers is aging. As they grow older, they are requiring more medical attention and education surrounding chronic conditions like arthritis, dementia, diabetes, and obesity. All the while, more and more Americans are gaining access to healthcare. Due to recent federal reforms, people who were previously uninsured are now obtaining health insurance for primary and preventive care services.
Alongside the growing need for medical services is an increasing demand for trained healthcare professionals. In the coming years, more nurses, doctors, medical assistants, dentists, and clinical workers will be needed to care for patients in all areas of the healthcare field – in the offices of physicians, in clinics, hospitals and ambulatory settings, in specialized treatment centers, and more.
If you are considering a career in healthcare, know that you are choosing a thriving, promising career path. Healthcare is among the fastest growing fields today. In fact, experts predict that healthcare will soon become the largest employment sector of the United States. By 2024, the number of healthcare occupations is expected to grow 19 percent, much faster than all other occupations. About 2.3 million jobs will be added to the industry, making room for active job seekers holding healthcare degrees.
The healthcare industry is both personally and financially satisfying. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (such as registered nurses, physicians, and dental hygienists) was $62,610 in May 2015, higher than the average annual wage for all other occupations.
To start your path to a prospering career in healthcare, you must first start with the right education. The type of higher education you pursue will be specific to your interests and your aspirations as a prospective medical student. To help you choose the right educational path, we’ve listed below nine of the most popular types of healthcare degrees.
- Bachelor’s Degree of Public Health
Public health professionals are needed to protect the greater health of organizations, communities, populations, individuals and families all over the globe. These professionals work to educate others and prevent chronic epidemics like diabetes and obesity, infectious disease outbreaks like the Zika virus, as well as other public health emergencies such as natural disasters.
If this sounds like the right career path for you, a bachelor’s degree in public health can help get you there. The bachelor’s public health degree curriculum is taught by industry experts and designed to provide you with the educational background, skills, and hands-on training necessary to work in the pubic healthcare field. Upon graduation, you will be prepared for careers such as:
- Disaster Preparedness Coordinator
- Environmental Health Specialist
- Health Educator
- Health Promotion Specialist
- Community Health Worker
- Research Assistant
- Nursing Degree
Nursing is one of the most popular and prospering medical career choices today. Within the sector, there are many types of nursing degrees you can pursue: For example, an associate degree in nursing will help you move into a career as a registered nurse and a BSN degree (or Bachelor’s of Nursing) will prepare you for advanced and specialized positions within the nursing field.
You can earn your degree and prepare for RN licensure in as few as 20 months part-time, or enroll in our 16-month RN to BSN program. All nursing courses are offered online, on-campus, and in hybrid format.
- Medical Assisting Degree
Medical assisting is multi-dimensional, as professionals assume both clinical and administrative duties within this healthcare sector. Medical assistants work directly with patients and in part with a medical team, performing EKGs and medical tests, taking patient vital signs, scheduling appointments, and filing insurance claims. Medical assistants are typically required to have postsecondary education.
Through the medical assistant program offered in some schools, students can earn both their certificates as well as their associate’s degrees in as few as 12 months. Upon completion of your program, you will be prepared for MA careers in hospitals, private practices, clinics, medical office departments, and other healthcare settings.
- Health Science Degree
Health science is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide career advancement opportunities to entry-level health professionals and aspiring healthcare students. A health science degree teaches the fundamentals of biology and anatomy, physics, math, and chemistry, as well as offers hands-on experience within the field. The health science program offers four different tracks students can pursue: Environmental Health, Health Care Administration, Bachelor’s Degree Completion, and Health Care Career Exploration.
- Dental Hygiene Degree
Dental hygienists work directly with patients during dental exams: cleaning teeth, performing oral exams, and documenting oral health conditions. They are highly-trained, active members of the dental office. If you are considering a career in dental hygiene, you must attend an accredited dental hygienist school that offers both classroom and on-the-job training in the field. The Dental Hygiene Program is a great example, centered around evidence-based learning and hands-on training in our state-of-the-art dental lab facility.
- Phlebotomy Certificate
A phlebotomy technician, otherwise known as a phlebotomist, is a healthcare professional who draws blood from patients. Certificate programs in many universities offer comprehensive trainings and hands-on, on-the-job experience for those interested in becoming a phlebotomist. In phlebotomy classes, students learn to collect venous and capillary specimens effectively, perform laboratory testing, as well as demonstrate lab safety techniques.
- Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree
Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) help patients recover, develop, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. From physical injuries to developmental disorders, they help patients with all sorts of everyday struggles to regain the ability to live an independent and satisfactory life.
The OTA program teaches a variety of therapeutic modalities and activities as methods of treatment through hands-on clinical learning and vocational training. Here, all Occupational Therapy Assistant courses are offered during the evenings and on weekends for added flexibility.
- Associate Degree in Respiratory Care
From Life Star ambulatory services to homecare rehabilitation settings, respiratory therapists are needed in critical times to help patients with breathing troubles and cardio-pulmonary disorders. If you are interested in respiratory care, attending a respiratory therapist school will be the next step for you. Most universities have undergraduate and graduate degree programs that will prepare you to administer medications, obtain and analyze lab specimens, use ventilators, and perform respiratory diagnostic tests. Upon completion of your degree, you will be prepared to complete your certifications and land an entry-level position as a Respiratory Care Practitioner.
- Medical Billing & Coding Certification
If you are interested in the more technical side of the medical field, attending a medical billing and coding school may be the right next step for you. Billing and coding is a rapidly growing sector of the healthcare field. In this position, you will work less with patients and more so on the analytical side – analyzing patient histories, coding medical information, and filing claims and disputes with health insurance companies. In some universities, you can obtain your medical billing and coding certificate in as few as 12 months, faster than any other medical billing and coding schools.
These are just some of the many different degree programs available within the field of medicine. No matter which type of healthcare degree you choose, know that it will prepare you to land a thriving career within this growing field: a medical assistant, registered nurse, health educator, dental hygienist – which career most interests you?