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What Can I Do with an Information Systems Degree?

by South University
October 19, 2018
A photo of an information systems technology professional working in an IT server room.

Businesses rely on information systems for everything from managing daily transactions to gaining strategic advantages over competitors. So, what exactly are information systems?

Information systems encompass all of the technology, data, processes, and people that collect, process, and distribute data and information within an organization. To succeed, businesses need experts who can guide them in selecting, designing, implementing, and managing these information systems.

Because it's an important field, by earning an Information Systems degree, you can develop the skills and knowledge to enter or advance within a wide variety of technology positions and organizations. Below are just a few of the career paths for which the Master of Science in Information Systems program (MSIS) at South University can prepare you.

1. Systems Analysis, Design, and Development

Businesses turn to those who work in system design and development to create new technology and processes customized to their unique needs. Such professionals may research, evaluate, design, develop, and test software to support business operations and enterprise strategy, including determining software specifications and requirements. You may also set quality assurance standards and help with automating, maintaining, and improving existing systems. This work can involve a variety of platforms and development environments.

Sample Job Titles: Software Architect, Systems Software Developer, Systems Engineer, Network Engineer, Infrastructure Engineer, Systems Analyst, Quality Assurance Engineer

2. Database or Data Warehouse Management

Enterprise organizations can store incredible volumes of data, and someone needs to be in charge of how it's managed and disseminated. An Information Systems degree program can prepare you to oversee this data and take on roles where you design, model, and build large databases or data warehousing structures and activities. This includes creating tools that allows users to access data for things like billing, shipping, or other recurring tasks. Often, data management professionals must integrate new data systems into existing structures. They also regularly assess aspects like system scalability, security, reliability, and performance.

Sample Job Titles: Database Administrator, Data Architect, Database Architect, Data Warehouse Analyst, Data Warehouse Solution Architect, Data Warehouse Manager

3. Business Intelligence

An overwhelming amount of data exists in the world. Within it hides complex but valuable insights that can drive business success. The job of business intelligence professionals is to unlock the information that data holds and present it in meaningful ways to business leadership.

Business intelligence involves monitoring and analyzing information from your company or from around the world to forecast performance and inform business decisions. This can include designing, implementing, or improving data-based dashboards, models, reports, and other decision support systems used by corporate management to understand trends and inform decision-making. To work in business intelligence, you’ll need the strong technical skills and expertise you can learn in an MS in Information Systems degree program.

Sample Job Titles: Business Intelligence Analyst, Commercial Intelligence Management, Manager of Market Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence Analyst

4. Information Governance

Government regulations change constantly, and almost all organizations control personally identifiable or confidential data that must be secured and protected. Some industries, like banking, education, and healthcare, collect and manage data that is particularly heavily regulated. Information governance professionals manage this data to ensure that businesses comply with regulations such as SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), follow accepted IT governance frameworks, and minimize security risks.

To check that data is being managed in a compliant, secure, and effective manner, these professionals often conduct audits of enterprise information systems and data. They may also be involved in fixing identified issues and finding ways to prevent future problems from arising.

Sample Job Titles: Manager of IT Governance, Risk and Compliance, IT Program Manager, IT Security Analyst, IT Governance Consultant, Systems Analyst, Information Security Manager

5. IT Team and Project Management

Beyond preparing you to design, develop, and manage information systems, earning a master’s in Information Systems can also equip you to plan and oversee these processes within your company. In our Information Systems degree program, our curriculum includes a business course in which you can study leadership, managerial economics, organizational behavior, law and ethics, or quantitative analysis. You’ll also take a course on emerging technology so that you can help your organization in evaluating and adopting new trends and technologies.

On the whole, our Information System program can teach you how to identify and communicate business IS needs as well as apply project management best practices—from estimation, scheduling, and budgeting to project organization, control, and assessment. Together, these skills can equip you to lead your colleagues on information systems projects that improve business performance.

Sample Job Titles: Computing Services Director, Data Processing Manager, Information Systems Manager, Information Technology Director, Management Information Systems Director, Technical Services Manager, IT Project Manager

Learn more about South University's Master of Science in Information Systems today and find a campus near you!

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Want to Become a Nurse? This is What You Need to Know Before Earning Your Nursing Degree.

by South University
October 15, 2018
A photo of a South University nursing student.

You're considering becoming a nurse. Maybe you have family members in the healthcare field, or you’ve been inspired by nurses who cared for you or your loved ones. Whatever your motivation, your nursing career will need to start with a nursing education. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is the degree recommended by industry leaders and strongly preferred by 86% of recently surveyed employers. This nursing bachelor’s degree can prepare you with a solid foundation on which to build your career.

Of course, before you commit to a degree or a career, you’re likely to have a few questions—and we have answers!

What are the benefits of a nursing career?

Employment Growth: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 15% between 2016 and 2026, resulting in 438,100 new nursing positions!

Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 15% between 2016 and 2026, resulting in 438,100 new nursing positions!

That faster than average employment growth is driven in part by the aging of the large Baby Boomer generation and their increasing health care needs. On top of this, large numbers of nurses are expected to retire in the coming decade. Together, this means that nurses are in-demand. In some regions—particularly in the South and West—nurses are increasingly in short supply. By entering this profession, you can help fill that demand and care for those who need it.

Personal Fulfillment: Nursing can be a rewarding career. As a nurse, you can have a huge impact on your patients (emotionally and physically) as you care for and support them through their most difficult moments. And the more educated you are, the better you’ll know how to help. US News even ranks nursing #18 on their 100 Best Jobs list, based on factors like job market, future growth, salary, and work-life balance. Nurses can also expect to earn the respect of others; for 16 years straight, nurses have been voted the most honest and ethical professionals in an annual national Gallup Poll.

US News even ranks nursing #18 on their 100 Best Jobs list

What kind of person makes a good nurse?

Compassionate: Nurses need to demonstrate caring and empathy for patients through their bedside manner. Nurses must also stay emotionally strong and help patients and family members to manage their emotions in emergencies, stressful situations, and other trying times.

Good Communicators: Listening to patients is essential as a nurse. You must know how to ask the right questions and gain your patients trust so that you can understand their health and concerns. Likewise, a large part of nursing is educating patients, including explaining complicated medical information and instructions. Nurses also must communicate and collaborate with many fellow healthcare providers.

Organized: Nurses constantly balance multiple tasks and patients, so keeping everything in order is key to providing quality care. Close attention to detail is another professional quality nurses need, to ensure that proper medicine and treatments are given on schedule.

Problem-Solver: In many situations, nurses are called upon to think and act quickly. You’ll often be asked to assess changes in patients and decide when action or assistance is needed.

Hard Worker: Last but not least, hard work is another distinguishing characteristic of a great nurse. Nursing is rewarding but caring for others isn't easy. Nurses are on their feet most of the day, and, depending on where you work, nursing shifts can be long.

What are some major jobs that nurses do?

As we've mentioned, registered nurses (RNs) deliver and coordinate patient care as well as educate and support patients and their families. Most RNs work with a team of physicians and healthcare specialists and may also manage nursing assistants, aids, and licensed* practical nurses.

The jobs nurses do include:

  • Assessing and recording patient conditions and symptoms
  • Administering medicine and treatment
  • Operating and monitoring medical equipment
  • Assisting with diagnostic tests and analysis
  • Teaching patients how to manage injuries and illnesses

RNs can choose to focus on particular groups of patients, such as children or the elderly. Different types of nurses also specialize in certain health issues, such as cardiovascular nurses, who care patients who have heart surgery or heart disease.

What is a typical career path for a nurse?

After earning your nursing degree, the next step will be to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and meet your state requirements for licensing*. From there, how your nursing career progresses is up to you. You’ll have the chance to work in a variety of in-demand specialties, and over time you can advance into more senior nursing positions.

Some nurses earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) so that they can provide higher quality care and work more independently. MSN programs can offer specializations such as family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, or nursing informatics, to name just a few. After you have an MSN, you can also gain skills in new specializations with post graduate certificate programs. You can even pursue a doctorate in nursing (a Doctor of Nursing Practice or a PhD in Nursing) to increase your leadership, teaching, clinical, and/or research skills. The trajectory of your nursing career all depends on your interests and goals!

Ready to discuss BSN programs and applying to nursing school?

At South University, our nursing programs are led by experienced** nurses and are built to make you a confident, caring health care professional. Contact our admissions team at 1.800.688.0932 or request information online today.

*South University does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.

**Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

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3 Reasons to Choose a Career in Pharmacy

by South University
October 5, 2018
A photo of South University pharmacy students at their commencement ceremony.

If you’ve ever gotten a prescription filled before, you’ve interacted with a pharmacist. You also could have met with them in a hospital or long-term care setting. Maybe they’ve even given you a flu shot or checked your blood pressure. Pharmacists can do many tasks and work in many places! The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are growing fields and being a pharmacist is a great career option for anyone who is a strong communicator and who enjoys science and math. If you’re looking for a healthcare career that can allow you to assist and educate people in achieving wellness, pharmacy could be an excellent fit for you. Here are three reasons why this field is worth considering.

1. You could help others get and stay healthy.

Pharmacists work directly with patients to help them get healthy as fast as possible. They work with patients to identify and address anything, such as lifestyle or diet, that might impact their ability to take medications as prescribed. (This is why communication skills are so important for pharmacists!) As medication specialists who collaborate with patients and health care professionals, pharmacists can improve medication adherence and health outcomes, while decreasing medication mistakes, harmful effects, and costs.

A photo of South University pharmacy students.Pharmacists can provide immunizations and be particularly valuable during natural disasters and epidemics. They can also help patients better manage medication for chronic diseases and provide important health services such as:

  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Asthma care
  • Smoking cessation consulting
  • Bone density scans for osteoporosis screening
  • Diabetes disease management
  • Anticoagulation management

2. You could pursue a variety of jobs and career options.

Pharmacists can work in a wide range of settings, including community or independent pharmacies, long-term care facilities, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, mail-order pharmacies, government agencies, academia, and even in patients’ homes.

Depending on your career path, your roles could include tasks such as

  • Dispensing medication, instructing patients on how to take medicines, educating them on side effects, and checking for potential negative interactions between medications
  • Working in a medical care team to determine effective medications and doses for hospital patients
  • Managing medications and providing advice to care providers for nursing home patients
  • Measuring and delivering the radioactive materials used in digital imaging
  • Preparing intravenous medications for homebound patients
  • Teaching clinical pharmacy courses and acting as a preceptor for student rotations
  • Helping pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs
  • Informing healthcare providers about new medications and facilitating clinical trials
  • Supervising pharmacy managers, staff pharmacists, or pharmacy technicians within a retail chain

After earning your Doctor of Pharmacy, you may pursue a residency or advanced training that prepares you to more easily move between these different areas and take on many diverse, exciting, and rewarding jobs over the course of your career.

3. You could have high earnings potential and job security.

In South Carolina and Georgia, where South University’s PharmD programs are located, pharmacists had average annual wages of $123,720 and $117,690, respectively by state.

In May 2018, the median annual wage for pharmacists in the US was $124,170, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10% earned less than $87,420, and the highest 10% earned more than $159,410. In South Carolina and Georgia, where South University’s PharmD programs are located, pharmacists had average annual wages of $123,720 and $117,690, respectively by state. Of course, pharmacists are employed all over the country, with most Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy.

As for job growth, the BLS predicts that demand for pharmacists will grow about 6% between 2016 and 2026. This demand will be driven by several factors. First is the increasing number of prescriptions filled, due in part to the needs of our aging population. According to Statista.com, 4.13 billion prescriptions were filled in 2017 and that number may grow to 4.57 billion prescriptions filled annually by 2024. In addition to filling these prescriptions, pharmacists will be needed to assist elderly patients in navigating complex medication requirements and regimens, and assist them in finding ways to lower their prescription spending.

Additionally, as researchers continue developing new medicines, pharmacists will need to aid care providers and patients in understanding the differences between the medicines and determining which medicine is the best fit.

Take the Next Step Today

South University offers a 3-year accelerated Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) program at our campuses in Savannah, GA, and Columbia, SC. Including 1600+ hours of clinical experience and taught by experts in the pharmacy field*, our PharmD program can prepare for you to enter professional practice or a pharmacy residency program. Learn more now!

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

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4 Life Hacks You’ll Get Along With Your BBA Degree

by David Nesmith
October 2, 2018
A photo of South University students at their commencement ceremony.

So, you’re thinking about pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. You probably already know this can be a firm foundation for a career in the Marketing, Finance, Manufacturing, Advertising, IT, and Banking industries. When you think about it, a BBA degree can help to set you up for success in pretty much any industry.

But did you know that the skills you’ll learn will also help to set you up for success in all aspects of your life? Even navigating disputes with your neighbors? Among all the other helpful things you’ll have the opportunity to learn when studying for a BBA, you'll pick up these skills you’ll rely on for the rest of your life:

Active listening

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, nodding and saying "uh-huh" while the other person is talking, and all along you're focused on what you’re going to say next? Or watching a lecture but mentally picking out the flyest outfit possible for tonight's date? You might think you are "multi-tasking," but what you're really doing is depriving yourself of important knowledge and perspectives, while depriving people around you of the gift of actively listening to them.

The experiences you get from BBA coursework can turn active listening from a chore to something you don’t even notice you're doing. In addition to the introductory coursework in communications that most BBA candidates get, some coursework at South University depends on active listening and understanding of directions in order to pass.

"Think of it like making a cake or putting together a bookcase," Laura Baker, DBA, South University’s department chair for the College of Business Online Programs. "If you don't follow an individual instruction correctly, you'll end up with a flat cake or lopsided bookcase. It's the same with some of our coursework, which relies heavily on steps that build upon each other over time. If you don't actively listen enough to understand the instruction, and execute it as directed, you’re in danger of going down a wrong and lonely path."

For two days, try forcing yourself to be present and actively listen to everyone you engage with. You’ll definitely see a difference. People will respond to you more positively and they will even listen to you more intently.

Don't you want to make that second nature?

Critical thinking and decision-making

We all have friends who seem to make the wrong choice as often as they make the right, right? They always pick the wrong love interest, or car, or job even. These people may have a firm grasp on their emotions, but they lack or aren't using their critical thinking skills. They aren't "playing the tape through," predicting what their decision is probably going to turn out like in a few weeks or months.

That ability is also important on the job. If your job is procurement, there are a lot of factors, beyond the cost, to consider when picking a supplier.

  • Are they dependable?
  • Can they fill an order on short notice?
  • Do they always have inventory?
  • Where are they located?

Your job is to find the supplier that fits your company's purchasing style. Trust us, fewer headaches are often worth the extra fees.

"Those same courses at South that require a number of steps also force a student to think critically," adds Baker. "You can’t take your eye off the bigger picture. You have to ask yourself if this action will advance me to my goal. And you have to anticipate the land mines and roadblocks each decision might present. The act of examining all possibilities, weeding out the ones with the obviously wrong outcomes, making compromises when needed, and weighing each choice against the others will help you make decisions with confidence and authority."

Confidence and authority? That sounds like a recipe for success!

Conflict resolution

Pretend you and your neighbor are in a feud over your adorable puppy, Petals. Petals is so sweet and cute there's no way anyone could not love her. But when there’s a full moon, Petals likes to howl. Maybe your neighbor cares more about a good night of sleep than a dog’s instincts. People are weird, you know?

How would you solve this situation without bad feelings and resentments?

To people without conflict resolution skills, burning his house down or moving to a new neighborhood seem like the only options. But a person who looks at the situation from BOTH perspectives can often come up with a mutually beneficial solution. Your path to a BBA can teach you how to do just that.

"It's all about empathy," said Baker. "You can't resolve conflicts without understanding all of the parties involved. But empathy means more than that. It means being able to put yourself in their shoes. Many of our courses teach that."

"Take our Global Business Management class, for example. That course teaches students about other cultures and the importance of respecting their ways of doing things. If your goal is to seal a deal, you better know if, in your counterpart’s culture, shaking hands is like a slap in the face."

So, what's the solution to the Petal problem? What if you took the time to understand that your neighbor suffers from insomnia and can’t get back to sleep once awake? And because of that, he's too tired to do his job well or take his kid to soccer practice? What if you offered to keep outrageously gorgeous Petals indoors when there is a full moon? Seems like that is a worthy compromise to keep the peace. Who knows? Maybe he'll offer to watch Petals when you travel? Stranger things have happened.

Either way, you won’t have to find out if your neighbor’s bark is worse than his bite.

Bonus life hack: Leadership

Guess what? All of the above skills are essential traits in a good leader.

  • Active listening? Check
  • Critical thinking? Check
  • Decision making? Check
  • Conflict resolution? Check

Throughout the entire BBA process, you will have the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate, negotiate and all the other qualities that make a good leader," Baker added. "You learn how to speak, understand and be empathetic towards others, and these are all of the key components to motivating and managing people. Leadership skills are involved in pretty much everything you learn in a BBA program."

So yes, a BBA can be the foundation for a good career. But better yet, it can be a strong foundation for a great life.

Want to know more? Talk to our admissions team about the BBA degree program at South University. Call us at 1.800.688.0932 or request information today.

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