A career in healthcare isn’t only for nurses or doctors, even if they are among the most well-known healthcare professionals. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics (BLS) expecting the creation of 1.9 million healthcare jobs between 2018 and 2028, you potentially have many options for pursuing a career in healthcare. If you’re drawn to helping others and bettering your community, here are seven types of additional healthcare degrees and career paths for you to consider.
Public Health Degrees
With a public health degree, you can work to improve health across local, national and global communities. Public health career options are wide-ranging, with opportunities to conduct disease research, influence legislative and social policy, solve health-related problems across groups, and develop and lead programs that promote healthy lifestyles. Job growth in the field likewise varies. For example, job growth for epidemiologists (who research diseases) is projected at a solid 5%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, whereas health educators and community health workers has an expected higher job growth rate of 11%. A Bachelor of Science in Public Health can prepare you to get started in this field, although some public health occupations do require a Master of Public Health.
Healthcare Management & Administration Degrees
Healthcare managers plan, direct and coordinate healthcare services, with leadership and administrative duties that are critical to the health of institutions and individuals. To prepare you for this responsibility, healthcare administration and management programs teach both industry-specific knowledge and management competencies like critical thinking, analysis and decision-making. Now and in the years ahead, medical and health services managers are likely to be in-demand, with an anticipated 18% increase in employment. While a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management potentially can equip you for many positions, the BLS notes that some employers prefer individuals with master’s degrees, such as a Master of Healthcare Administration or an MBA in Healthcare Administration.
Psychology & Counseling Degrees
Fascinated by what makes people tick? Earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology is the first step toward pursuing a career in psychology, the scientific study of what drives human behavior. A bachelor’s degree can prepare for you for pursuing entry-level positions in psychology – like counselor aide, therapeutic assistant, career advisor or caseworker – or for continuing on to graduate school. Other jobs, including clinical mental health counseling, require advanced studies and training. Because the field encompasses many careers, your job prospects will vary based on what career you pursue. However, a 22% job growth is expected for both marriage and family therapists and substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors.
Physical Therapist Assistant Degree
Under a physical therapist’s supervision, a physical therapist assistant (PTA) works one-on-one to help injured patients find their way back to health and wellness. PTAs assist and educate patients doing therapy exercises and activities, treat patients using special equipment and procedures, and report on patient progress. Beyond enjoying a fulfilling career, people entering a physical therapist assistant career may see an impressive 26% projected employment growth for the field. To pursue this career, you’ll need to first complete a Physical Therapist Assistant associate degree program.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree
Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) specialize in helping patients build and recover the skills required for daily living and working. Under the guidance of an occupational therapist, OTAs may:
- Help children with developmental disabilities become more independent
- Assist older adults with physical and cognitive changes
- Teach patients how to use special equipment
- Perform patient evaluations and support ongoing patient care
Occupational therapy assistant is another growing career, with an anticipated 31% rise in employment. For this career, earning an Occupational Therapy Assistant associate degree would be your first step.
Physician Assistant Degree
Working on teams with physicians, surgeons and other healthcare workers, physician assistants perform direct medical care for patients, with services that include evaluation, monitoring, diagnostics, therapeutics, counseling and referral. They are trained to practice across general and specialty areas, from primary care and family medicine to surgery, intensive care and more. Like many other healthcare careers, physician assistant employment is expanding faster than average, with a 31% growth expected by 2028. Typically, to become a physician assistant, you’ll need to complete 2 to 4 years of undergraduate coursework (focused primarily on science) followed by a physician assistant master’s degree program.
Anesthesia Science (or Anesthesiologist Assistant) Degree
Anesthesiologist assistants are skilled members of the anesthesia care team who work under the direction of qualified physician anesthesiologists. They administer anesthesia care for patients of all ages and degrees of illness and for the entire spectrum of surgical procedures. Because their services are in high demand, the anesthesiologist assistant career is expected to grow much faster than average. To pursue this career, you’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree with a science-based or pre-med curriculum followed by a master’s degree in anesthesia science.
Explore Your Options for Healthcare Programs at South University
With an over 120-year academic tradition of excellence, South University has helped to prepare thousands of students for success in the healthcare field. To learn about the wide variety of healthcare programs offered through our South University campuses and online, call us at 888-444-3404 or request information today.