Working in the healthcare sector is a significant responsibility as you are in charge of improving people’s lives, health, and well-being. Therefore, having a proper educational background is the first crucial step towards becoming a medical professional. But what are the steps you need to take to gain the right set of skills that can quickly get you employed in this sector? Or what are some occupations that would suit you? That is what our ultimate guide on healthcare degrees is here to tell you. So scroll down for more information.
Types of Healthcare Degrees
Career paths in healthcare management are widely varied. Some jobs may require that you only have a bachelor’s degree; however, others may require higher-level educational qualifications for jobs with more complex roles. So it’s upon each student to do some research upon the aimed career, and see which level of healthcare degree do you need. Types of healthcare degrees include:
- Healthcare Certificate Programs
- Healthcare Bachelor Degrees
- Healthcare Masters Degrees
- Healthcare Doctorate Degrees
Healthcare Certificate Programs
A certification program demonstrates your commitment to superior professionalism, consistency in fulfilling the quality standards, and continued learning. This type of certification is usually earned by programs or services that may be based within or associated with a healthcare organization. There are many certificate programs with diverse specialization from which you can benefit from; however, we’ve listed eight most sought healthcare certificate programs:
1. Adolescent Development Certificate
You can learn about the stages of child and adolescent development, the principles of growth, learning, and parenting through the Adolescent Development Certificate. This program teaches theories of development as well as practical legal issues surrounding child and adolescent development, including privacy, abuse, neglect, and special needs.
2. Basic Computer Literacy for Allied Health Certificate
Computer Literacy for Allied Health Certificate helps build your technology skills by learning computer basics relevant to healthcare settings. You will learn how to manage patient information, use word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, and database software management to understand the daily operations of a professional healthcare office better.
3. Mental Health Technician Certificate
This certification program will teach you about how external factors such as substance abuse, poverty, and culture impact the patient’s willingness to seek and participate in mental health treatment. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of mental health care and the needs of mental health patients through topics that include the full spectrum of disorders, mental health assessment skills, and therapeutic interventions.
4. Phlebotomy Technician
Phlebotomy technicians are people who draw blood from their patients and send it to labs for further processing. Also known as phlebotomists, these professionals are in charge of analyzing blood-related facts that can impact our whole organism. These types of certification programs can take a few weeks until you obtain your certificate.
5. Pharmacy Technician
The people we see in pharmacies who advise us and provide us with medicine surely have undergone these sorts of certificate programs. Pharmacy technicians work under a licensed pharmacist’s supervision, and they are responsible for filling prescriptions, performing inventory, or working with patients. The training to become a certified pharmacy technician takes around three months.
6. Certified Cardiac Monitor Technician
Also known as Electrocardiogram (EKG) monitor technicians, these individuals have a job which is more mental than physical. They are primarily responsible for monitoring patients’ heart statuses in a hospital environment and immediately inform doctors or physicians when irregularities arise in a patient’s stats. The training in this field will last from 3-6 months.
7. Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
The main responsibility of Medical Billing and Coding Specialists is to avoid incorrect and high-cost charges that can derive from mistakes in billing and insurance. Medical billers and coders ensure that healthcare bills and insurance are correctly processed by using specific industry codes to communicate procedures. The certification process may last from 4-9 months.
8. Surgical Technologist
Surgical technologists work in tense situations such as hospital operating rooms, emergency rooms, and even ambulatory care centers. You can become a certified surgical tech with just over one-year time in a training program. Through it, students usually learn everything related to surgical tools, sanitary environments, and pre/post-operative patient care.
9. Medical Assistant
Medical Assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities, and their duties often depend on their specialty. The Medical Assistant certification program aims to prepare individuals for high demand careers in the healthcare industry. It is designed to provide students with the skills and competencies needed to work in various healthcare positions. With detailed training in both administrative and clinical skills, you’ll fulfill those needs with a blink of an eye.
10. Neurodiagnostic Technologist (NDT)
NDT Training is one of the most exciting and intriguing training in healthcare. During this program, students learn about electrical activity in the brain and nervous system. They get trained to record and go over the results with the acting physician. Later on, future NDTs might even practice nerve condition studies and/or polysomnography (otherwise known as sleep studies). This training takes 12-16 months to complete.
11. Dental Assistant
We’ve seen for ourselves that dental assistants work under the supervision of a qualified dentist to perform administrative tasks like scheduling appointments and managing billing. Whenever dentists perform a procedure, dental assistants are on hand to pass equipment, assist dental them with extractions, or take x-rays. You can become a certified dental assistant within one year of training.
Healthcare Bachelor Degrees
Healthcare Bachelor Degrees are considered the basic degrees required to have your entry into the field of public health. At this level, you can choose from multiple specializations, and we have listed some of the best bachelor degrees to follow below.
Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
A bachelor’s in health information management provides individuals with a solid foundation in computer information systems and technology for healthcare organizations, including healthcare regulation, project management, and cost-effective information processes. The program covers the tools and techniques needed to record, store, and evaluate healthcare information.
|4 years||Medical Perfusionist
Medical and Health Services Manager
Clinical Trials Manager
Information Technology Specialist
Geriatric Care Nurse Manager
Human Resource Specialist
|$60,000 – $90,000|
Other Bachelor degrees that you can pursue, and which have just as much perspective are:
2. Bachelor of Health Services Management
A career in health services management has a lot in common with healthcare administration. They both deal with the non-medical operations of a healthcare facility, and a BA or BS in this field provides students with a solid foundation of both business and healthcare knowledge. Typical classes include healthcare financing, human resources, healthcare policy, communications, healthcare informatics, long-term care, and introductory pharmacology.
3. Bachelor in Clinical Research Management
A bachelor’s program in clinical research administration prepares clinical research professionals by equipping them with the knowledge and skills in clinical trial conduct and medicine development. A BS of this specialty prepares undergraduates for rewarding careers, as Clinical Research is becoming a vast and expanding field that ensures the safe use and effectiveness of medications, devices, diagnostic products, and treatment regimens.
4. Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering
Progress in biomedical engineering is vital for the future of our health care. The importance of this career keeps increasing, and health care professionals who can apply advanced technology to the complex problems of medical care are always on demand. To pursue a degree in this field, you need to have analytical, math, and communication skills along with problem-solving techniques.
5. Bachelor of Information Technology
Gone are the days when patient’s records were kept in notebooks and diaries. Computer technology has shifted the way the healthcare sector delivers its services, maintains its healthcare records or implements medical reimbursement. Hospitals are relying on electronic patient medical records, savoring their data privacy. That’s why a bachelor’s degree in Information technology makes one of the best degrees to accompany a career in healthcare.
6. Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety
Occupational Health and Safety specialists are responsible for ensuring the safety of employees within their working places, such as offices, laboratories, hospitals, and industry. The way they do this is by inspecting workplaces for chemical, physical, radiological, and biological hazards. Courses related to this degree include radiation science, hazardous material management and control, risk communications, and respiratory protection.
7. Bachelor in Microbiology
Through a bachelor’s program in Microbiologists, you get to study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites. You will gain an understanding of how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments and then practice this knowledge to protect people from getting these parasites. The main courses include Microbial Genetics, Molecular Biology, Genetic Engineering, and Biotechnology.
8. Bachelor in Nursing
The demand for nurses is extremely high, and that is also shown from the BLS data, through which there will be a staggering need for over 2.751 million nurses over the next ten years. This demand is a result of the increased number of insured patients, the aging Baby Boomer generation, and medical research and technology. That’s why pursuing a BSN is strongly recommended for undergraduates.
9. Bachelor of Healthcare Compliance
Healthcare compliance is the process of following rules, regulations, and laws that relate to healthcare practices – and that is exactly what students studying this field must make sure to monitor. They will be responsible for maintaining and ensuring that hospitals, physician offices, long term care facilities, etc., meet all state and federal regulations for patient care. Considering the fees that may follow if the standards aren’t met, these care facilities highly appreciate healthcare compliance officers.
10. Bachelor in Public Relations
The way hospitals transmit information to the public is very crucial. This information may be sensitive, must be delivered timely and accurately, so the need for Public Relations Specialists is very evident to make sure that this process goes well. However, it is expected that PR Specialists understand specific HIPAA regulations regarding patient privacy and release of patient records, beyond the normal job requirements of the field.
Healthcare Master Degrees
The purpose of master’s degrees in the healthcare sector is to make influential leaders out of corresponding graduates in this field. Master programs are graduate degree programs that provide you with knowledge of the values and skills that you need to reach the highest quality of healthcare delivery. There are various choices in which you can specialize. You can get inspired by some of our choices listed below.
1. Master of Healthcare Administration
The prospects of an MHA degree are enormous. For instance, we at the University of Potomac offer this degree program to help prepare managers for leadership positions. We provide them with in-depth knowledge of the ‘how to-s’ that address different problems and changes in the healthcare industry. Graduates of this program are well-suited to be leaders in the management of Healthcare systems, Healthcare Policy, Law and Ethics and Global Health Systems.
|2 Years||Chief executive officer
Chief operations officer
Department or division director
Department or division manager/supervisor
Health services manager
|$82,000 – $117,000|
2. Master of Healthcare Informatics
Programs in a Master of Healthcare Informatics Degree tend to equip individuals with the necessary expertise to oversee the coordination of a complex organization’s healthcare informatics and information management needs. The degree concepts cover: information technology foundations, research methods for healthcare managers, information management for project managers, and foundations of information security.
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|2 years||Health Services Manager
Health Informatics Consultant
Healthcare IT Project Manager
Nursing Informatics Specialists
Chief Medical Information Officer
Other Master degrees you may pursue in healthcare are:
3. Master of Business Administration
An MBA in Healthcare Management is a degree that provides graduates plenty of skills, employment opportunities, and major financial benefits. Through this degree program, students earn the required expertise to work in the field of healthcare in many areas of executive and professional service. This is a unique degree combination because students can integrate the best of business and health care academics in order to excel in health care administration.
4. Master of Public Health
The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is a multi-disciplinary professional degree and is awarded to students in areas related to public health. MPH programs are available in Programs of Public Health, Schools of Public Health, and Schools of Public Affairs with a focus on public health as a practice as opposed to research or teaching. The field of public health is constantly evolving in response to the needs of communities and populations around the world, so get ready to be part of a dynamic area.
5. Master of Science Healthcare Management
The purpose of a Master of Science degree program is to get you focused on courses that involve lots of data and to get you thinking analytically as a manager within the healthcare arena. By the end of their studies, students can be able to apply relevant business skills into decision-making processes that affect the aspects of healthcare management, such as technology, staffing, policy, regulation, finance and many other areas of expertise.
Healthcare Doctorate Degrees
To become a leader that influences change in the field of healthcare, you should certainly go for a doctoral program in health care administration. Among the available choices you will find:
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- Doctor of Health Care Administration (DHA).
What are the differences between one and the other, you may ask?
Both of these degrees are terminal doctoral degrees that focus on research. However, they differ on the type and purpose of the research. A PhD focuses on developing original research and into creating new knowledge, whereas a DHA focuses on applying the best available evidence to solve problems in the field. Either way, graduates of both PhD and DHA seek for the best possible positions in the world of academia and research, and with their qualifications, they surely get them.
Healthcare Online Degrees
The road to a career in healthcare takes a lot of effort, passion, patience, and of course – money. Sometimes we just can’t afford to have all of the components together to escort us through the path of success. That’s why relying on healthcare online degree programs can be our ultimate alternative.
Considering the above, it is no surprise that the number of online bachelor programs has significantly increased. Students can continue working in whatever profession they’re involved in, and still manage to pursue their degree. While some programs may require internships or practical experiences, online programs will typically provide those opportunities in the student’s home communities, working with qualified preceptors or trainers.
What you need to do prior to enrolling in any online program is that you should check for its accreditation status. Universities and schools with a solid reputation usually show this information somewhere on their landing page, or you can go check the list of accredited schools from the Department of Education in your country. Proper online education will make a difference to your employers, allowing them to distinct your qualifications and level of knowledge even better by having in mind that you got a high-quality background. For a list of the best online bachelor degrees in healthcare, go here.
Highest Paying Jobs in Healthcare (the Medical Field)
So we got to the practical point. What after earning our degrees? What are some of the best medical careers in demand from the healthcare sector? Read our list of 10, and see if you can imagine yourself in one of these professions listed below.
The professionals that we encounter so often tend to be some of the best-paid people in the medical world. The job of a pharmacist consists of high leveled medication knowledge and abilities to communicate with patients, to transmit good advice and instructions to them. They should know about all side-effects, composition, and effects of medications and treatments that they prescribe to their patients. Their approximate annual salary is $106,630.
2. Physician Assistants
Physician assistants examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the supervision of a licensed physician. They may also delegate work, such as conducting complete physicals, providing treatment, counseling patients, or prescribing routine medication to an assistant while attending to more specialized matters. This career is characterized by continuing education, as you must complete 100 hours every two years, learning the latest practical techniques and recertification is expected every six years. Salary? An annual $84,830.
3. Radiation Therapists
Radiation therapists are medical professionals who work under an oncologist as part of a medical team to prepare patients and administer radiation treatments for cancer and some other conditions. They review patient’s diagnoses and prescriptions provided by their radiologists, maintain accurate records, etc. This career does involve some level of stress, as you are dealing with delicate patients whose medications should be taken at the right time and at the right amount, and any sort of mistaken instruction may cost them their health. Their salary reaches an annual of $77,340.
4. Physical Therapists
Physical therapy is a growing part of the medical industry. Hence, physical therapists are the first people we go to, to avoid serious illness or injuries. They recommend rehabilitation programs that help us heal, assess our needs, and organize a plan to help us fulfill those needs in order to recover. You can start this career with a bachelor’s degree (science is best), and then you need a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. You’ll reach an annual salary of $76,220.
5. Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Nuclear Medicine Technologists are people who keep track of dangerous radioactive elements that can provide life-saving information or save lives. They are expected to know all aspects and relevant equipment, and how they interact to prepare the solutions and calculate the doses. This is an outstanding career for someone who has high expectations and ambitions, but students should be prepared for strong physics as part of their studies, and a high level of focus on the technical issues. Your potential annual salary would be $68,450.
6. Speech-Language Pathologists
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. You will find them working in different research, education, and health care settings with varying roles, levels of responsibility, and client populations. Because of the high demand for speech-language pathology services, part-time, full-time, and PRN (meaning, as needed), work opportunities are always available. Salary? An annual of $68,350.
7. Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists help to prevent dental decay by cleaning patients’ teeth and providing them with proper advice on how to care adequately for their teeth and gums, and the effects of diet on oral health. In addition to treating patients directly, dental hygienists may also work as educators, researchers, and administrators. They’re currently being considered as a must in a dentist’s office, and they can reach an annual of $67,860.
An audiologist usually works with a physician, evaluating hearing, identifying problems, and prescribing and administering increasingly sophisticated hearing devices, mostly aimed at a growing aged population. They also assess noise levels in workplaces and conduct hearing protection programs. This means that you have an important task through which you help people adjust and compensate for hearing loss in constructive ways. And for that, you get paid $66,850 per year.
9. Orthotists and Prosthetists
If you want to get involved in this career, you have to be prepared to serve people who have serious spinal or limb injuries, or that have lost all or parts of limbs due to an accident, battle, or disease, by preparing and fitting orthopedic braces or prostheses. Therefore, you need to have a strong mindset and treat patients decently. You’ll also need to have completed available degree programs in prosthetics and orthotics, bachelor or master. Your salary will then reach a number of $66,600, annually.
10. Registered Nurses
The registered nurse is a highly skilled practitioner who is often the first person to assess patients in an emergency room, supervise physician-directed treatments, or respond first to hospital emergencies. Most nurses specialize, and a few examples of the specialties are patient education specialists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. They can reach a salary of $66,530 annually, and their work is very rewarding in both the financial aspect and the emotional one.
Is a Healthcare Administration Degree Worth It?
We are very much aware of the costs of degrees in healthcare, and the effort you need to put in to earn one. However, there are many benefits to having a healthcare administration degree, most specifically. The outlook is great for health administrators, with the BLS predicting a 17% career growth opportunity in this field for the next ten years, which is much higher than the percentage of the national average. Besides, this degree can open you up to many diverse employment opportunities, as it matches well with other degrees such as communication, management, or nursing. And of course, with the passing of years, you can reach high figured salaries that will eventually pay off for the costs it took you to build a career in the healthcare sector.
Is a Healthcare Management Degree Worth It?
We can surely say that this is the best time to study healthcare management. There are approximately 10,000 baby boomers entering the healthcare system per day, which translated directly into millions of people demanding for quality healthcare. All care facilities are in a desperate need for expert managers to deliver quality patient care, conduct proper reporting, and planning.
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Despite all, a Healthcare Management Degree, along with other degrees in the healthcare system provides you with the chance to contribute to an emerging field, while impacting and improving the well-being of a wide range of individuals. And if you’re seeking to contribute to this purpose, we at the University of the Potomac strongly recommend pursuing a degree in healthcare.