In general, healthcare refers to the different aspects of hospital care, patient care, facility management and information in hospitals, and most of all, the critical components of an individual’s health and wellness. There is a need for more competent professionals for the general improvement of the healthcare sector, specifically in hospitals, clinics, and local health facilities.
Students with a healthcare degree want to contribute to the public through the promotion of good health and well-being to individuals and communities, and a career in this sector can be rewarding and highly beneficial. A healthcare degree is meant for students who desire to pursue careers in hospital care, hospital management, or patient care. Depending on your chosen specialization, your degree equips you to become efficient in the management of healthcare finances, human resources work, and routine operations of hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other related health agencies. Students acquire direct instruction on the fundamentals of management, informatics, finances, and the theories which may be applied to the healthcare sector. Students also receive specialized skills to aid them in the organization of employees and resources in healthcare facilities for those interested in pursuing career in healthcare administration or hospital management.
Hospitals, clinics, and community health agencies are distinctly different from other work environments. Given the complexity of healthcare systems, it is crucial for students seeking a career in the industry to understand how hospital systems, patient care, insurance, healthcare providers, and related legal concerns work cohesively together. Generally, it’s essential that every student has a good grasp of the healthcare system to become a highly competent professional in the field.
It is crucial that potential healthcare students obtain the appropriate answers to their questions with regards to enrolling in a healthcare program. It helps students make the best decisions based on tuition, degree specializations, diverse careers choices, potential wages, and career outlooks, standard certifications, and other aspects of healthcare work.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the healthcare industry typically needs bachelor’s degree holders from a well-recognized healthcare program. However, due to the high standards that such positions demand from workers, employers search for eligible applicants possessing advanced degrees, specifically for senior or managerial positions. A master’s degree or a doctorate in healthcare administration or any healthcare-related field fully equips students for complex careers and allows for compentence in the workforce.
In this navigational guide, we deliver an overview of the healthcare sector, its various types of degrees and specializations, the financial approach toward earning the best education, comparisons between online and traditional healthcare programs, career outlook, and job salaries.
Healthcare as a Degree
In 2004, there were at most 17 million jobs existing in the healthcare sector or health-related occupations outside the healthcare sector. This accounts for about 12% of the total U.S. workforce. These include an estimate of 2.4 million registered nurses, 1.45 million nursing aides, 1.3 million personal care or home health aides, 567,000 physicians, 230,000 pharmacists, and 150,000 dentists.
In 2005, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had spent more than 30 billion US dollars on research, assessment, and demonstrations, such as medical research investments, public health, and food and drug safety. The National Institute of Health has invested more than 27 billion US dollars yearly on medical research, 80% of which has been given through almost 50,000 grants to more than 212,000 researchers at about 2,800 universities, medical schools, and other research and academic institutions in every state and worldwide. Another 10% of the Institute’s budget has been allotted for projects conducted in its laboratories by nearly 6,000 scientists.
With regards to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has spent continuously approximately 650 million US dollars specifically on research to deal with health and safety demands and challenges, such as public health research on emerging infectious diseases, environmental threats, the aging population, and lifestyle preferences. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handles research and deals with routine activities to guarantee the safety of food, drugs, instruments, and cosmetics used. FDA spends about 140 million US dollars mainly on research and development. Other research disciplines within the Department of Health and Human Services are healthcare quality, aging, and mental health services.
Because healthcare is considered the fastest growing employment sector in the country, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that between the years 2016 and 2026, the healthcare sector will progress by more than 18%, as compared to an increase of under 12% for all other employment sectors. Within healthcare, jobs in home healthcare and offices of health practitioners, specifically physician offices, are projected to increase at a rapid rate. The healthcare careers expected to supply the noblest jobs over the ten years are registered nurses (703,000 new occupations), home health aides (350,000 new occupations), and nursing aides (325,000 new jobs). More than 200,000 physicians and 100,000 new pharmacists are required to replace those who are resigning from existing positions. Specific sources recognize the shortage of nurses, which appear to worsen as the population steadily ages. Reimbursement concerns, working conditions, and regulatory needs can be considered as contributing factors.
Types of Healthcare Degrees
There are four types of healthcare degrees, namely, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral healthcare degrees.
Associate degrees in healthcare take two years or four semesters to be completed. Approximately 60 credits are also needed for completion. During this particular time, a specific degree program shall concentrate on courses in your field of study, with some additional general education courses for the strengthening of your communication and critical thinking skills.
An associate degree in healthcare will aid you in becoming eligible for an entry-level position in a broad range of medical offices, management associations, and others. There are numerous careers that you can pursue with an associate degree. These include the following:
- Healthcare Administration
- Clinical Medical Assisting
- Healthcare Management
- Health Services Administration
- Dental Assistant
- Massage Therapy
- Medical Administration
- Medical Billing and Coding
- Medical Office Administration
- Medical Office Transcribing
A bachelor’s degree takes about four years or 120 credit hours to be completed. You will typically be able to obtain more advanced education in your major while establishing a strong foundation of general education coursework.
You may obtain a healthcare career with a bachelor’s degree. Even if you prefer a job that has an associate degree as the minimum education requirement, you will be able to generate more money and improve more if you continue to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field.
There are numerous online bachelor’s degree healthcare programs. These include the following:
- Healthcare Administration
- Registered Nursing
- Health Information Systems
- Health Services Management
- Long Term Care
- Healthcare Management
- Health Information Systems
- Systems Health Administration
If you are employed in a high-paid and advanced healthcare career, then earning a master’s degree is most appropriate. An MBA in healthcare usually is management-oriented and allows you to secure an executive position. MBA programs, within the fields of healthcare administration and management, are regarded as a practical approach to pursue if you’re interested in cost-management, regulatory compliance, provider liability, patient privacy and disaster preparedness of healthcare organizations and centers.
Master’s degrees in healthcare take two to three years to complete, and admissions are very competitive. There is a better opportunity of being accepted if there is a bachelor’s degree in a life science or healthcare-related major.
Some online master’s degree programs include the following:
- Health Administration
- Health Administration Gerontology
- Health Administration Informatics
- healthcare Management (MBA)
The most advanced healthcare degree that one can earn is a doctoral degree, which may be available online. Before proceeding with a doctoral degree, a bachelor’s or master’s degree is needed. Here are some options available for a doctoral degree:
- Community Health Promotion and Education (Ph.D.)
- Counseling Studies (Doctoral)
- Health Management and Policy (Ph.D.)
- Health Services (Ph.D.)
- Public Health (Ph.D.)
- Doctor of Health Education
- Doctor of Health Science
- Doctor of Occupational Therapy
- Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
- Healthcare Administration (Doctoral)
- Management of Nonprofit Agencies (Doctoral)
Doctoral degrees in healthcare may take four years to be completed, and you may pursue a program with a bachelor’s degree. You are not required to possess a major in a healthcare-related course; good grades in science courses may provide an admissions advantage.
Healthcare Degree Specializations
Healthcare Informatics involves courses such as healthcare information systems, business intelligence, and data analysis. Other courses are ethics in information management, healthcare strategic planning, electronic patient records, healthcare systems and applications, and security and privacy. Graduates may work in insurance, residential care, public health, or research aside from hospitals, medical care offices, and long term care facilities.
Healthcare Management courses include health insurance, healthcare policy, and managed care, as well as business-inclined classes in marketing, principles of management, and human resources management. Other courses are quality assurance, mergers and acquisitions, decision making in managed care, and organization communications.
Healthcare Financial Management
Healthcare financial management involves advanced courses in budgeting, health services finances, and forecasting. Other courses are accounting, venture development, and economics, particularly for healthcare. Professional certifications are also considered helpful for financial management specialists in healthcare administration.
Healthcare Law and Policy
The healthcare law and policy specialization involves courses in health systems, ethics in healthcare, applied healthcare law, and health policy. Other courses are public health, public healthcare regulation, policy analysis in healthcare, and health service delivery theory.
Healthcare administration needs a unique package of knowledge for the practical analysis and formulation of regulations that facilitate the delivery of care in specific healthcare environments. Healthcare administrators need to have substantial expertise in both healthcare and business aspects. Healthcare administration focuses on efficiently working within the industry to be able to lead, generate sound decisions, and deal with the additional administrative tasks of different healthcare settings, like hospitals and managed care facilities to insurance companies and public policy organizations.
This specialization needs a thorough understanding of the health care system, health insurance, and other areas of study. Hospital Management is also a very demanding specialization, and it requires considerable patience and diligence. Since it is a healthcare specialization, business is one of its essential aspects.
Financial Management deals with the financial aspects of running a medical facility. The healthcare industry requires an adequate understanding of economics. Forecasting is also considered as a significant field since financial managers need to understand the various economic situations which may have an impact on healthcare costs.
Administrative Management is more on the practical aspect of healthcare. Administrative managers interact directly with employees, manage their respective schedules, aid in staff training, and monitors the daily operations of the hospital. Administrative management requires a broad knowledge of the various components of healthcare as it may educate students about ethical care, finances, and more.
Healthcare Policy Management
Due to the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare industry has experienced a substantial change for several years. Healthcare policy managers are responsible for the implementation and maintenance of any changes made in the healthcare system. It also covers topics on how changes can be done in the system.
Online versus Traditional Healthcare Degrees
In considering your options between an online or a brick-and-mortar healthcare degree, there is a unique set of benefits and drawbacks in every direction.
Traditional healthcare degree programs are ideal since you get to interact with healthcare leaders in the field. Online degree alternatives are becoming popular, but if you want to study under an influential individual in the area, the on-campus healthcare degree alternative is still the best. Ivy League universities are considered the slowest in offering online healthcare degree alternatives, and an Ivy League school is well-acclaimed in the United States. Aside from this, there are cultural opportunities in the brick-and-mortar format that a student in an online learning format will not experience.
Online healthcare degree alternatives exist preferably to cater to the increasing quantity of non-traditional students, especially among working individuals, those who are settled in a precise geographic location, and those with family obligations. Motivated students typically attend and participate in online classrooms, which entail diversified discussions, in either synchronous or asynchronous formats. Online degree programs in all healthcare fields are rapidly increasing as well.
An online healthcare degree also permits continuity of work in the field, coupled with experience and career-advancing learning. Aside from this, distance learning students can quickly apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings, enjoy employer tuition reimbursement programs and create vital networking connections in their day jobs and through their increasing online connections. However, distance learning students typically have a hectic schedule. Most students looking for a career in healthcare management may not have any work experience in this field because of educational prerequisites. If your day job becomes too complicated, you may put the quality of your education at risk to meet your work demands.
Because of increasing interest, several colleges and universities have offered online degree alternatives, like degrees in healthcare management. When you may not be able to decide between online or traditional, you may want to check on the schools in your area. Several online degree programs in healthcare are also hybrid, enabling a large number of credits to be delivered in an online format along with a few residency requirements.
Currently, there are numerous preferences in terms of healthcare training programs. For allied health careers, there are both online and traditional program alternatives. Online healthcare programs generally exhibit flexibility compared to brick-and-mortar programs, but students need enough self-discipline and motivation in the long run. You will typically not receive reminders regarding assignments or tests. You will also not acquire in-class study time or reviews. This is the reason why online healthcare classes need a self-motivated student with many initiatives.
Classroom education gives sufficient encouragement and moral support from other students or teachers. On the other hand, online healthcare programs still allow students to attend classes at their most convenient time and place, yet, online students are not exempted from deadlines. They are still required to allow the proper amount of time for their coursework and classes.
An online healthcare class is ideal for those who can sit down for a few hours, watch video lectures, and absorb the needed knowledge. If hands-on learning and the ability to receive immediate comments from instructors is beneficial for you, then a traditional healthcare program is most appropriate. Before deciding on a healthcare training center or a university or college, assess all of your needs. Consider your available time and your priorities.
For those working full-time, acquiring a class in healthcare may seem challenging. This is because traditional class schedules may conflict with work schedules. Students who are also parents may not be able to go to on-campus classes due to family obligations. There are others whose dilemma is the proximity of the school to their home or workplace. These are some of the reasons why a traditional school may not work for students who wish to pursue an on-campus healthcare degree.
One of the drawbacks of online healthcare programs, however, is when technical errors occur such as laptop viruses and poor Internet connection. If your electronic device does not meet the requirements of specific web applications, such as Blackboard and other software required for completion of coursework, you may need to upgrade your equipment before you begin a program.
Financing Your Healthcare Education
Since the cost of higher education continually increases annually, a growing number of students should utilize financial aid opportunities to finance their healthcare education. Various financial aid opportunities are available for healthcare degree holders like grants, scholarships, and loans. If you pursue public health service after graduation, you may also be eligible for loan forgiveness programs.
When you choose to earn a healthcare degree, it is crucial for you to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) immediately. The FAFSA is a form that all college students need to complete to know their level of qualification for federal financial aid, such as grants, low-interest loans, and work-study funding. Aside from this, several universities, states, and private organizations also rely on the FAFSA to determine student qualifications for state, academic, and private financial aid. Failure to fill out the FAFSA results in missing out on most financial aid opportunities, like that of numerous healthcare scholarships.
An essential criterion for federal financial assistance is for U.S. citizens, or eligible non-citizens, must have a social security number and show financial need. You must also be accepted in a legitimate healthcare degree or certificate program and have good academic standing.
Determining Your Financial Need
The financial aid office at your school decides on the amount of financial aid you are eligible for based on various factors. First, the Financial Aid office is responsible for determining your estimated cost of attendance (COA) for earning a healthcare degree in your school. COA covers tuition and fees, room and board, books, transportation, a few study-abroad costs, and some child care costs.
The financial aid office shall determine your expected family contribution (EFC). Your EFC refers to an index number which colleges and universities utilize to determine the cost of financial aid you are eligible for in their academic institution. They calculate EFC according to your family’s income, assets, and advantages. Other considerations influencing the EFC involve family size and the number of family members who will be in college for the same year.
Federal student aid programs consist of both need-based aid and non-need-based aid. You are to know your need-based assistance through the subtraction of your EFC from your COA. Need-based federal student aid programs include:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Direct Subsidized Loan
- Federal Work-Study
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
You may determine your non-need-based aid through the subtraction of your financial assistance granted from your COA. Non-need-based aid programs include:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Teacher Education Access for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
- Federal PLUS Loan
- School Aid
It is unusual for students to pay the full cost for their college tuition, specifically at private colleges. Several schools have their scholarships and grants for students, such as full-tuition, and merit-based academic scholarships. There are some programs, specifically at the master’s level, that provide tuition remission to students who are employed in research and teaching assistantships in academic institutions.
Federal grants do not require repayment. In terms of a federal student loan, you are borrowing money that you are required to pay after graduation. Work-study, though, is a form of a financial aid program that aids students in earning money while they are in school through work usually within the school premises. Other federal aid programs are tax benefits for education, education vouchers for present and former youth in foster care, and aid for service in the military.
State Financial Aid
Most of the states provide a variety of student financial aid programs, including state education department-sponsored scholarships or grants. Most state financial aid programs limit qualifications to legal in-state residents. Some states also participate in state and regional tuition reciprocity exchanges, which permit residents from one state to go to another school while still paying in-state tuition.
Types of Financial Aid
Normally merit-based scholarships do not require immediate repayment. Students may discover master’s in public health scholarships, and scholarships for public health undergraduates, from nonprofit groups, corporations, and through their university or college.
Grants do not require repayment, and while scholarships tend to be merit-based, most grants are awarded based primarily on financial need. Grants can come from the federal and state governments, colleges, and private organizations, with the majority of grants coming from the federal government.
The federal government provides low-interest student loans that do not require immediate repayment until after graduation. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has two student loan programs, namely, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program. The Direct Loan Program has four types of loans, namely, direct subsidized, direct unsubsidized, Direct PLUS, and direct consolidation. Perkins loans are present to help support students with financial needs.
If you are not eligible for federal loans, or if you need additional money for school tuition than what you can obtain in federal loans, you may also apply for private loans for educational finance. In general, private loans have higher interest rates compared to government-backed student loans. You will also not obtain other benefits with student loans, such as special regulations on loan deferment, forbearance, and loan forgiveness programs.
The work-study program of the federal government aids college students to earn money for college through part-time, government-subsidized jobs. The program is considered as need-based and offered to undergraduate, and graduate students enrolled either part-time or full- time. Aside from this, work-study positions may relate to the student’s course of study and may not be regarded as a practical alternative for nontraditional students, many of whom may be working full-time. Your academic institution’s financial aid office administers the work-study program for healthcare students.
Reports indicate that the healthcare industry has produced at least three million new jobs until the year 2016. This quantity was more significant compared to other job sectors in the United States. Graduates of the online healthcare program may look for employment in various work environments.
Healthcare Salary and Job Outlook
A recent projection from the BLS reported that the employment of medical and health services managers is expected to increase by 20% from 2016 to 2026, and this is greater than the average for all jobs. Since the large baby-boom population grows old and people remain active later in life, there should be greater demand for healthcare services.
The offices of physicians in private practice account for about 36.7% of total healthcare positions. Dental offices are regarded as the second-most legitimate employer, with at least 20.7% of healthcare positions in this particular area. Nursing and residential care facilities typically account for 11.5% of total industry employment, while hospitals employ 1.3% of the field.
Though salaries differ depending on the healthcare position, individuals carrying an associate degree in a related healthcare field may potentially earn between $12 and $17 per hour for an entry-level position. On the other hand, bachelor’s degree holders may earn higher wages. Some healthcare positions, like healthcare administration, enable graduates to possibly make between $60,000 and $100,000 annually. The average yearly pay for medical and health services managers, however, was $99,730 in May 2018. Several medical and health services managers work in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and group medical practices.
Below are the most popular careers related to the healthcare industry:
- Family Physician
- Internal Medicine Physician
- Infectious Disease Physician
- Physician Executive
- Radiologist/Radiation Therapist-
- Exercise Physiologist
- Dental Hygienist
- Speech-Language Pathologist
- Occupational Therapist
- Dental Assistant
- Medical Assistant
- Nursing Aide
- Office Manager
- Home Health Aide
- Veterinary Technician
- Nursing Home Director
- Medical Office Manager
- Health Services Administrator
- Public Health Administrator
- Hospital Administrator
- Clinical Services Representative
What are the advantages of earning a healthcare degree?
A degree in healthcare has numerous advantages. Graduates who are healthcare degree holders may pursue jobs in the insurance, medical, or research fields. They also need to acquire the education and training to be able to complete a masters or doctorate, which results in recognition and higher wages.
Here are some of the advantages of earning a healthcare degree:
Those who prefer to earn a degree in healthcare enjoy a substantial income. Despite different positions, there are only a few jobs that stand out including that of a health educator, a community health organizer, and a laboratory manager. Healthcare workers have a salary range of $35,000 to $93,000 yearly, depending upon the position.
Excellent Job Prospects
A healthcare degree can also provide you with excellent job prospects. Careers in patient education may increase by 26%. Medical laboratory careers may even rise by as much as 23%. The demand for coordination jobs in healthcare facilities may go up by 12%.
People with a healthcare degree may work in hospitals, management or research. Degrees in this particular course of study may also prepare graduates for careers in science writing, medical photography, health care interpretation, and biomedical illustration.
Strong Foundation in Healthcare
If you are fascinated with the functions and general overview of the human body, then this degree is most appropriate for you. A healthcare degree takes into account coursework in physics, chemistry, and biology. They can obtain additional training and knowledge in medical terminology and ethics. These courses provide a strong foundation for those who are interested in healthcare.
Graduate Study Opportunities
Several people with a healthcare degree will discover that they are more than prepared to pursue graduate study. A healthcare degree serves as ideal preparation for advanced coursework particularly in health administration, pathology, and public health. A doctorate in healthcare may also aid you as you pursue research or instruction careers in academic institutions.
10 Most Common Healthcare Jobs
Several healthcare career opportunities await Healthcare degree graduates as the demand for their professional service continues to rise. Degree holders are either employed in clinical jobs as doctors and nurses or as medical technology experts such as radiologists and phlebotomists.
Some healthcare professionals, such as occupational therapy assistants and home aides, work as assistants to others. Administrative healthcare careers also dominate the job market. Hospital administrative assistants are growing in number.
Indeed, healthcare is a vast field. Here, we explore the ten most common healthcare occupations, together with a longer list of other healthcare job titles.
Registered Nurses are responsible for the majority of nursing roles in clinics and hospitals, including providing patient care and support in assisting emotional support for the families of their patients. Most registered nurses are bachelor’s degree holder; however, some can find work with an associate’s degree.
Starting Salary: $53,020/year
Physical therapists help patients with injury and illness related to physical mobility. They help them manage their pain or discomfort and help them move around. They provide a diagnosis for physical problems, teach a set of an exercise, and provide therapy. The majority of physical therapists earn a doctoral degree; however, most of them land jobs even with a bachelor’s degree.
Starting Salary: $63,011/year
Occupational therapists aid disabled and injured people in performing routine activities such as getting around the kitchen or getting dressed. They are employed in nursing homes, hospitals, and schools, among others. OTs have state licenses as well as a master’s degree or a doctoral degree.
Starting Salary: $64,937/year
Physicians provide diagnosis and treatment to their patients. The majority of them work in hospitals; however, some of them establish their clinics. They work in different areas of specialization such as intensive care, pediatrics, gynecology, family care, and oncology, among many others. Physicians spend ten years of study or more before completing a residency program at a local hospital.
Starting Salary: $225,461/year
Home Health Aide
Home health aides help the disabled, the elderly, or ill to perform routine daily activities. They aid such as checking their patient’s vital signs, giving them medicines and support them in walking or standing up. The majority of them are in retirement facilities or their clients’ homes. Educational background is not mandatory; however, some people earn certificate programs or associate’s degree.
Starting Salary: $24,759/year
Physician Assistants work with licensed physicians. They also practice the medical profession and perform roles such as giving treatments, providing diagnosis, prescribing medication, and checking vital signs. Physician assistants should be licensed since they attend physician assistant programs. A suggested degree for PAs includes a master’s degree in medicine or an equivalent field.
Starting Salary: $93,719/year
Nurse practitioners can perform physician’s roles and responsibilities such as prescribing medicines and providing treatment programs. Nurse practitioners differ from Registered Nurses in the sense that the former are allowed to establish their medical practice without a doctor’s supervision in many states. They are required to obtain a master’s degree. On the other hand, they can work in research, diagnostics, or education.
Starting Salary: $113,900/year
Medical assistants perform administrative roles in a hospital or doctor’s clinic. The majority of them find career opportunities with minimal training; however, individuals who passed the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant exam and enrolled courses in medical assistant schools have the highest paying jobs in this field.
Starting Salary: $33,610/year
Physical Therapy Assistant
Physical therapy assistants work together with physical therapists to provide recovery and treatment programs for their disabled or ill patients. They prepare patients for an exercise program or provide consultation; in most cases, they do not directly work with patients. An associate degree in Physical Therapy Assisting or an equivalent degree is required for this profession.
Starting Salary: $60,363/year
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational therapy assistants work with physical therapists to assist patients in their treatment and recovery. They help them with rehabilitation therapies that improve muscle function, enhance the immune system, build core strength, and many more activities. An associate degree or technical college training is suggested for this type of profession.
Starting Salary: $66,455/year
Other Healthcare Job Titles
Support Healthcare Occupational Titles
The healthcare industry wouldn’t be as organized and thorough as it should be without the help of people who perform roles such as sonograms, taking blood samples, and other medical tasks in hospitals and clinic. They are essential to providing medical services in hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation facilities..
Clinical Healthcare Occupational Titles
Clinical occupational roles include individuals who earn degrees or attend training in nursing or medical schools
Administrative Healthcare Occupational Titles
Some individuals assume administrative
roles and responsibilities in the healthcare industry, including tasks in
scheduling doctor’s appointments, organizing physician’s calendar, managing or
supervising a clinic, hospital, or nursing home. Without them, it would be
challenging for doctors and physicians to deliver their services to their
Top 30 Highest Paying Healthcare Careers
Healthcare professions are widespread across the job market. Whether you earn your degree in ten years or less than a year, there is always an option for you in the medical field. Aside from the degree you make, a passion and heart for helping others are essential to start a rewarding and perhaps lucrative career.
The list below highlights the top 30 highest paying careers in the healthcare industry. Employment rates are courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics National Occupational Employment Wage Estimates.
Anesthesiologists are people who prescribe and administer anesthesia to patients before or during a medical operation/surgery or invasive treatment. They have a critical role in dealing with anesthesia on patients, inputting the right amount, or it may cause significant damages to patients or worst, can cause death. Thus, making them the highest paid healthcare professionals, among others.
Anesthesiologist Salary: $267,020/year
Surgeons perform invasive medical practices in patients to treat medical conditions. Plastic surgery, oral surgery, and cosmetic surgery are one of the most common surgical fields today. Surgeons work in hospitals, clinics, or some of them establish their clinic.
Surgeon Salary: $255,110/year
Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Obstetricians and Gynecologists or OB-GYN help pregnant women before and after babies’ birth, providing them the necessary care and support for the successful delivery of babies. They identify the gender of the baby, monitor the progress of the pregnancy, assist in birthing and prescribe pre-natal care and medications.
Obstetrician Salary: $238,320/year
Psychiatrists are professionals who work with other healthcare providers to diagnose and provide treatment to a patient’s mental state and stability. They diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental disorders or illnesses. Psychiatrists can work in a variety of work environments, including law enforcement agencies, clinical facilities, or hospitals.
Psychiatrist Salary: $220,380/year
Physicians provide diagnosis and treatment to patients. They work in hospitals, clinics, or establishments. They can work in a variety of medical specializations such as intensive care, pediatrics, pathology, and family care.
Physician Salary: $203,880/year
Pediatricians specialize in children. They go through extensive learning and training to learn and discover different illnesses and medical conditions that are common in children and young adults.
Pediatrician Salary: $183,240/year
Dentists provide diagnosis, treatment, and preventive care related to mouth problems of their patients, focusing on teeth and gums. They undergo training and education to identify prevalent oral problems of patients so they can provide treatment and post-treatment care. Dentists fill cavities, extract teeth, and perform dental surgeries.
Dentist Salary: $175,840/year
Nurse Anesthetists assist anesthesiologists in managing pain and numbing medications to patients undergoing surgical operations. They must be a certified registered nurse anesthetist to be able to understand the possible risks and uses of anesthesia in the medical industry. They work with other healthcare professionals to keep patients safe as they go anesthesia.
Nurse Anesthetist Salary: $174,790/year
Tasked to give out prescription medications, pharmacists must have a strong background and knowledge of chemistry and physiology to identify if prescriptions will work effectively for a patient’s medical conditions.
Pharmacist Salary: $123,670/year
Optometrists are doctors in charge of assessing and providing treatment to a person’s vision and eye health. They prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses for patients who need corrective lenses and offer treatment procedures for people who have eye conditions. Some of them perform laser eye surgeries to patients who need it the most.
Optometrist Salary: $119,980/year
Nurse practitioners can take some of the roles and responsibilities of physicians, such as diagnosing, and providing prescriptions to patients. Some of them are allowed to perform minor surgeries. Furthermore, they can work in research, nurse leadership, diagnostics, or education.
Nurse Practitioner Salary: $110,030/year
Physician Assistants practice their profession under the supervision of a physician or surgeon. They are trained to provide diagnosis, assess patients, and provide treatment or preventive care. They are found in hospitals, doctor’s clinics, and many other healthcare facilities.
Physician Assistant Salary: $108,430/year
Veterinarians provide diagnosis and treatment for animals similar to physicians that do to humans. They undergo extensive training and education to be able to determine and treat medical conditions in animals. They either work on their profession or they find career opportunities in zoos, educational institutions, or research facilities.
Veterinarians Salary: $105,240/year
Physical Therapists provide care and support to help patients recover from injuries or illnesses, aligning with the suggestion of physicians. They use their hands along with specialized equipment to move different muscles in a patient’s body and build strength in weaker spots.
Physical Therapist Salary: $88,880/year
Chiropractors are individuals who help patients with spinal conditions, assisting them in realigning the bones on their backs. They work on their practice, or they can assist patients in the hospital. Their services are often needed after a patient has been injured and needs recovery and treatment.
Chiropractor Salary: $85,870/year
Occupational Therapists help their patients recover from disabilities and injuries through the use of normal daily activities. They show patients how they can use the movements they do daily to get better, stronger, and quicker in a period. They work in physical therapy offices, rehabilitation facilities, or some work in nursing homes, schools, and patients’ homes.
Occupational Therapist Salary: $85,350/year
Speech-Language Pathologists provide diagnosis and treatment to patients with communication disorders. They work with patients with swallowing conditions by teaching them how to use the muscles in their mouths. The majority of them either work in private daycare facilities, clinics with speech therapy sessions or hospitals.
Speech-Language Pathologist Salary: $80,700/year
Registered Nurses perform the majority of the nursing requirements in hospital facilities and clinics, providing emotional support for patients’ families to coordinating patient care and recovery. The majority of nurses are bachelor’s degree holders; many of them also earned associate degrees.
Registered Nurse Salary: $75,510/year
Dental Hygienists are individuals who work in a dentist’s clinic, providing sanitary or cleaning procedures before, during, and after a patient undergoes dental procedures. They work together with the dentist, orthodontist, and other dental care professionals.
Dental Hygienist Salary: $75,500/year
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers operate sonogram, ultrasound, ECG, and other similar equipment that produces waves in a patient’s body to create images. They are not licensed to make assessment and diagnosis of the images.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Salary: $73, 860/year
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (MRI Tech) operate medical equipment and present test results to physicians. They monitor patients as they go through machines and identify that the results are visible for diagnosis and assessment.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist Salary: $72,230/year
Respiratory Therapists help patients who find it hard to breathe normally, usually caused by emphysema or asthma. They either work with patients daily or respond to immediate emergencies. A patient who suffers from a stroke requires the expertise of these professionals to regain normal breathing after the incident.
Respiratory Therapist Salary: $62,500/year
Radiologic Technologists operate diagnostic imaging exams such as CT scans and X-Ray. They work together with radiologists, but they are not trained nor licensed to provide a diagnosis on the results of the imaging tests they conduct. These results are given to physicians and surgeons to assess.
Radiologic Technologist Salary: $61,540/year
Dietitians provide patients with specialized dietary programs. This may address to an effort to lose weight or treat/recovery for a medical condition such as diabetes. They spend hours of extensive training and education to learn about how foods affect the body and learn about the chemical processes in the body.
Dietician Salary: $61,210/year
Cardiovascular Technologists operate the imaging equipment that provides assessments of the heart and blood vessel conditions of patients. They are not allowed or licensed to perform diagnosis; however, they work with machines that offer helpful images for cardiologists’ assessment.
Cardiovascular Technologist Salary: $58,730/year
Clinical Laboratory Technician
Clinical Laboratory Technicians perform several examinations in a medical laboratory. They collect samples of fluids such as blood and urine, and tissues to use in the laboratory. They use these samples to perform tests to provide data for physicians’ assessments.
Clinical Laboratory Technician Salary: $53,880/year
Surgical Technologists aid other healthcare professionals during surgical procedures. They arrange equipment, prepare the operating room, and be present during surgeries for times when needed. Some of them are asked to perform mild patient care, with roles similar to that of a nursing assistant.
Surgical Technologist Salary: $49,040/year
Health Information Technician
Health Information Technicians are responsible for the records of healthcare facilities. They verify health information data to ensure the accuracy, accessibility, and ease of use. They must understand and learn several classification systems used to organize patient information.
Health Information Technician Salary: $44,010/year
Opticians are individuals who are responsible for fitting eyeglasses and contact lenses for patients in an eye clinic or optometrist office. They do not require extensive training; however, they must be familiar with eye care products and basic optometry knowledge.
Optician Salary: $39,930/year
Emergency Medical Technician
Emergency Medical Technicians provide care and support for sick and injured patients in ambulances, emergency departments, and other fast-paced medical settings. They must know a variety of medical conditions so they can assess and attend the patients properly they encounter. They are expected to be available on-call to respond at a moment’s notice.
Emergency Medical Technician Salary: $37,760/year
Part-Time Healthcare Career Opportunities
The healthcare industry is known for being one of the busiest industries in the job market, full days of long work hours that operate on adrenaline-rush pace. On the brighter side, several part-time healthcare jobs are available who prefer flexibility on their schedule or an additional source of income.
Here are some of the part-time healthcare jobs that provide a regular paycheck and fulfilling career.
Home Health Aide
Part-time home health aide can work overnight or vacation schedules in assisted-living institutions or home health support.
Mental Health Counselor
Part-time mental health counselor may work in public or private mental health institutions or residential homes. They are often needed to help cover weekend schedules.
Part-time radiologic technicians often work on clinics and laboratory facilities. They can work on weekend shifts as a part-time basis.
Part-time nurses can work during the weekends on ambulatory surgery and labor and delivery settings since they provide direct care in a variety of situations
Part-time occupational therapists may work in home health services, nursing homes, residential homes, rehabilitation facilities, and hospitals
Part-time physical therapists may work on the weekends in rehabilitation centers, clinics or home health services aside from their regular work during the weekend, if they are free, for additional income
Part-time physician assistants can work to cover vacation shifts or weekend shifts or on a per diem core.
Part-time telecommuting healthcare jobs include the following:
- Medical Transcriptionist
- Patient Advocate
- Healthcare Information Specialist
- Insurance Representative
- Medical Coder
- Healthcare Consulting Systems Engineer
- Medical Billing
- Pharmaceutical Representative
- Research Scientist
- Senior Biostatistician
- Lead Project Manager
- Senior Clinical Programmer
- Clinical Coordinator
- Nurse – Medical Case Manager
- Patient Registration Representative
- Content Development Analyst
- Health Services Administrator
- Billing Analyst
- CPR and First Aid Instructor
These part-time healthcare jobs allow interested candidates to work without leaving the comforts of their homes.
Unique Healthcare Careers
When the majority of people think of healthcare jobs, careers like nurse, doctor, or pediatrician automatically comes to mind. While these jobs are one of the most lucrative professions in the healthcare industry, many other unique and exciting career opportunities within the healthcare profession are often unexpected.
Below is a list of the unique healthcare career opportunities that might catch your interest or attention.
Art Therapists assist patients in coping up challenges and issues through creative endeavors or activities. They are healthcare professionals who lead activities that are engaging and therapeutic. In some cases, it is a unique way for an art therapist to find out whether a patient is suffering from psychiatric issues or illness.
Nuclear Pharmacists are people who prepare and handle any form of treatment and medication that involve radionuclides. They make drugs and solutions that require radioactive materials for usage in nuclear medicine procedures.
Athletic trainers assess the athletic performance and athletic abilities of their patients. They create exercise programs and nutrition plans to meet their goals.
Perfusionists are highly trained healthcare professionals who are responsible for maintaining the patients’ circulatory and respiratory system during surgical operations. They spend most of their time in operating rooms and work with other healthcare professionals to measure blood metrics and physiological status.
Biomedical Engineers are individuals who are responsible for developing advanced technology that innovates the future of the healthcare industry. They establish new healthcare equipment and devices to treat common diseases ailments and disabilities.
Wound Care Specialist
Wound Care Specialists spend most of their time assessing and evaluating patient wounds. They specialize in treating and bandaging patients’ wounds such as bed sores, surgical incisions, and burns. They educate their patients regarding the healing process and preventive care procedures to avoid wound infection and complications.
Environmental Health Director
Environmental Health Directors focus on helping patients overcome issues from the health of the environment. They have one of the most unique workplaces in the healthcare industry because they do not practice within healthcare facilities and clinics. They focus on how patient wellness is impacted by individual environmental factors, including public facility issue, pollution factors, sanitation technology, and many more.
Medical Science Liaison
Medical Science Liaisons work with other healthcare professionals to provide essential insight into individual products, scientific advice, and knowledge expertise on prospective treatment strategies and initiatives. They often offer pieces of information on specific clinical data for the healthcare industry.
Phlebotomists are one of the most critical persons in the healthcare profession. They are responsible for collecting blood samples, which is vital for treatment plans and accuracy of diagnosis. They label different blood samples with patient names, collection date, and organize them for lab testing. You will interact with different people daily. There are instances where patients are afraid of blood or having their blood extracted; therefore, being a phlebotomist takes a lot of compassion and the ability to calm people down on some of the scary things associated with the healthcare field.
Medical Illustrators work on the creative side of the medical profession. They integrate the latest industry knowledge with art. They focus on drawing, graphic design, and illustrations of specific parts of the body, including ailments, disabilities, and many other health-related components.
Top Travel Nurse Careers
Regardless of what nursing concentration you studied or work in, nurses are always in demand. From operating rooms to intensive care units to pediatric or office nurse, you will find traveling nurse jobs in several locations around the country.
Here is a list of different nursing specialties with exciting career opportunities:
- Operating Room Nurse
- Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit Nurse
- Pediatrics Nurse
- Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Nurse
- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse
- Labor and Delivery Nurse
- Telemetry Nurse
- Progressive Care Unit Nurse
- Intensive Care Unit Nurse
- Emergency Room Nurse
- Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse
What specific skills do healthcare students need to enhance or develop?
Giving patient-centered care. This involves the identification, respect, and care of patient preferences, differences, values, and needs; relief of pain and suffering; coordination of continuous care; listening, information, education, and communication with patients; sharing of decision-making and management; constant promotion of disease prevention, wellness, and healthy lifestyles, and a strong emphasis on population health.
Coordination with interdisciplinary teams. This includes cooperation, collaboration, communication and integration of care in groups to guarantee continuous and reliable care.
Employment of evidence-based practice. This involves the integration of the best research with clinical specialization and patient values for optimal care, as well as the participation in knowledge-based and research activities
Quality enhancement. This refers to the identification of errors and risk factors in care, as well as an understanding and application of fundamental safety design principles such as standardization and simplification. The quality enhancement also applies to the structure, process, and outcomes in providing patient care and addressing community needs. There are also design and test interventions for the modification of processes and systems of care, to improve quality enhancement.
Informatics. This includes proper communication, management of knowledge, mitigation of error, and support of decision-making using information technology. It also entails the proper handling of work in hospital facilities, specific departments, or medical practices. Considering the variety of tasks involved, healthcare professionals must possess a diverse set of skills.
Analytical Skills. This encompasses comprehension and abiding with and adapting to current regulations and new laws concerning the field.
Strong Communication Skills. Efficient communication to relay regulations and health methods and processes to other health professionals and guaranteeing of compliance with current laws.
Detail-Oriented. You should be able to focus on the details of the job, particularly in scheduling and organization of billing information, and maintenance of equipment and facilities.
Interpersonal Skills. The proper discussion of staffing issues and patient information with other healthcare professionals, like physicians and health insurance representatives
Strong Leadership Skills. The recruitment, training, motivation, and leading of staff, and looking for ways to solve staffing and administrative concerns
Technical Skills. It makes a difference to keep yourself up-to-date with healthcare technology advancements and data analytics for the coding and classification software usage or electronic health record (EHR) system execution
Critical Thinking. Identification of strengths and weaknesses, and searching for alternative approaches or resolutions to healthcare conflicts through logic and reasoning
Active Listening. Having one’s complete attention on what others say, asking questions whenever appropriate, and not interrupting others during inappropriate circumstances
Proper Coordination. It helps to be flexible with your actions and decisions for effective work collaboration
Judgment and Decision Making. Learn to examine both advantages and consequences of possible actions to know those that are most applicable.
What Interests Would Lead One to Pursue a Degree in Healthcare?
When pondering whether or not the healthcare degree is the most appropriate to pursue, it is helpful to consider some of these interests:
Passion for Handling a Competitive Team
Healthcare degrees are considered a fast-paced type of career since it mainly deals with the delivery of care to ill patients and their response to the treatments, technologies, and equipment. Therefore, the healthcare manager or administrator must enjoy overseeing a team of competent professionals. They must enjoy taking over a specific situation, dealing with challenging concerns and going through the hurdles to provide excellent care for patients.
The critical component is the ability to transform a department into a cohesive organization of competent professionals. Those who are knowledgeable in persuasion, motivation, and encouragement, will be ideal for this role.
Drive for Excellence Healthcare Outcomes
Those who have spent an extended duration in a waiting room understands what it means to suffer from lousy healthcare management and poor patient care. Healthcare managers should be passionate about work effectiveness and deliver the best possible care to the patients. Their type of employment, whether in insurance, technology, regulatory, or other areas of study, may have a direct effect on who can be treated, how rapid is the treatment, and how successful the outcome is after treatment has been completed.
Interest in High-Quality Technology
Since healthcare deals with patient outcomes, today’s technology means that most of the results will entail the utilization of innovative tools such as from electronic records to electronic imaging services. Healthcare professionals should be comfortable with all types of medical technology, both hardware or software, and they should be prepared to implement and develop new technology for better patient outcomes.
Advancement in Healthcare
Healthcare is an area that promotes from within. Thus, professionals who want to pursue this kind of career should be comfortable in being promoted to newer positions, working with new departments, and management of staff members at a certain level in their careers. Frequently, healthcare managers remain in their entry-level position for a few months or a few years.
Interest in Ethics
Healthcare degree programs highly depend on how the ethics and principles of the field are upheld, specifically when it comes to business deals and insurance partnerships, as well as patient care and physician relations. A competent healthcare advocate is someone who values institutional ethics. They will be frequently charged with the enforcement of ethical codes and modification of the institution’s ethical regulations as patient care and technology changes quickly.
What are the admission requirements for a graduate degree program in healthcare?
Numerous factors must be taken into consideration when selecting a healthcare program for a graduate degree. One of the concerns is the application requirements of the schools that a student may be interested in. Each school has conditions for pursuing a degree. The ideal place to find admission requirements of healthcare degree is a school’s website. Therefore, here are some basic requirements that must be met for admission to a graduate-level healthcare program:
Earning a bachelor’s degree is a general requirement for being accepted into a graduate-level healthcare program. Some students may have a dilemma, however, that they do not have a bachelor’s degree with a major to get them into a healthcare graduate level program. There is only one requirement when in terms of the bachelor’s degree. It should have been earned from an accredited academic institution.
One thing to take into consideration when selecting a college or university for a healthcare degree is if they require work experience to be admitted into the program. Some schools require its applicants to have at least two years of healthcare experience and that they should submit a resume as proof of this work experience. Other universities enable their students to join in healthcare internships as a replacement for the healthcare work experience requirement. Some colleges, though, do not require any healthcare work experience for admission.
Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)
The GRE is a critical graduate-level college entrance exam that most schools require to be accepted into a healthcare program. There are academic institutions that require their applicants to pass the GRE with a specific minimum score for admission. Some schools do not require the GRE score or only ask for it under particular circumstances.
What are the types of patient care for those with healthcare careers?
There are six types of patient care. Primary care is considered to be the first area to go to when patients talk about medical care. Patients may obtain primary care in a doctor’s office or a community health center. The main purpose of primary care is to evade and prevent diseases through regular physical examinations and health screening. Another emphasis is to care for a patient’s overall health and well-being through the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of conditions. If a patient has a health complication that needs immediate knowledge or skill, a primary care doctor needs to refer the patient to a specialist. Primary care doctors go through a patient’s care as they consult a specialist. Primary care team members include primary care doctors or general practice, general internists or family doctors; pediatricians, nurses, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners
Specialty care, the second type of patient care, is for those who have health problems or acute illnesses that need specialized knowledge in a medical field. Specialty care may be continuous or preventative care in a specified system of the body. Specialists possess knowledge or skills about a specific disease or organ system of the body. They are required to complete specialized training and become licensed in their area of specialization. Specialists include cardiologists, gynecologists, physical therapists or social workers.
Emergency care, on the other hand, refers to the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses or injuries that require immediate attention. Emergency care may occur in the ambulance or any mode of transportation, hospital emergency rooms or intensive care units (ICUs). Examples of emergencies are chest pain, breathing difficulty, heart attack, serious injuries, profuse bleeding or mental crisis.
Urgent care is described as non life-threatening or chronic. Nevertheless, it is a form of care for an illness or injury that also requires immediate attention. Examples of urgent care are minor cuts or burns, stomach aches, headaches, sprains, and ear or throat infections.
When somebody is unable to do everyday activities because of an injury, disability, life-threatening condition or dementia, long-term care is most appropriate. Long-term care is a blend of medical, nursing and social responsibility. It may be given in a person’s residence, long-term care facility or assisted living facility.
Hospice care emphasizes palliative care to alleviate symptoms instead of curing a disease towards the end of life. The principle behind hospice care is to provide physical, emotional, spiritual or social responsibility to promote support to a patient and their respective family. Hospice care can be given in a person’s home or a hospice care facility.
Mental healthcare is most appropriate when patients need aid with regards to mental illness or emotional crisis. Mental health treatment may include medication, psychotherapy, talk therapy or both. Mental health professionals include psychiatrists, counselors or psychologists. Medical or health services managers and healthcare executives or healthcare administrators are responsible for the planning, control, and coordination of medical and health services. They manage hospital facilities, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice for a particular group of physicians. Medical and health services managers must ensure that all modifications in practice should comply with healthcare laws, regulations, and technology.