Have you ever thought about working in the medical field? There are lots of options out there for you to consider. Once you figure out which path is for you and the education you may need, you can begin working toward a rewarding career helping people.
A good starting place may be looking at majors in the medical field and the various types of healthcare degrees and concentrations available to you. Then, you can begin to look at what careers may be an option based on your desired education level and major. This may help you get a general idea of what to expect from your journey into healthcare.
For example, you may be wondering what degree you need to be a nurse. While the answer varies based on the type of nurse, the same holds for other healthcare career paths. While some degrees steer you toward a specific career, many career paths likely remain an option for you as you continue your healthcare education.
What Are Some Types of Healthcare Degrees?
If you're interested in working in the healthcare industry, there are a variety of educational paths for you to consider. Whether you're looking to get your bachelor's degree or you want to continue your education through a graduate program, there are tons of opportunities for you. And if you wish to add some extra credentials to your resume, there are also certificates available.
Types of Bachelor's Degrees
You have several bachelor's degree options available to you. Some degrees focus more exclusively on healthcare while others offer a blend of topics such as technology and healthcare, or business and healthcare, for example.
There are other bachelor's degrees that you could consider, such as health sciences or biology.
If medical school interests you, another route you could consider is pre-med. If you want to be pre-med and get into a medical school, then there are a ton of ways to prepare. For example, you could research the courses you'll need to take, required exam scores, extracurriculars and letters of recommendation, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).
Types of Master's Degrees
If you are interested in how to get a master's degree, there is no shortage of healthcare graduate programs for you to consider.
These nursing programs can lead to some of the best jobs in healthcare. For example, nurse practitioners are one of the top growing healthcare jobs, with a 52% growth expected between 2020 and 2030, according to BLS. Another nursing career on the rise is nursing instructors and teachers, which is expected to grow 22% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS. These outlooks could be a result of a nationwide nursing shortage.
You may also be interested in getting a certificate to help boost your resume or develop your skill set further. Certificates are different than degrees. Certificates can be earned before your bachelor's or after your master's – or in-between; it all depends on the certificate's requirements and your own goals. One example would be a certificate in healthcare quality & safety, a post-master's program. This certificate is one that you could take following your master's degree and can help you further refine your skills in enhancing patient care.
If you desire to earn the highest credential for your healthcare education, you could consider pursuing a terminal degree. A terminal degree is the highest level of education that you can achieve for a specific field. Sometimes it can be a master's, and sometimes a doctoral or professional degree; it depends on your desired area of study.
Which Medical Fields are Most in Demand?
The healthcare field, in general, is on the rise. According to BLS, from 2020 to 2030, jobs in healthcare are expected to grow by 16%, much higher than the national average for all jobs. It is expected that nearly 2.6 million new jobs will be created in this time.
Here are the top 10 growing jobs in the healthcare field, according to BLS:
1. Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners
2. Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides
3. Home Health and Personal Care Aides
4. Massage Therapists
5. Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides
6. Physician Assistants
7. Speech-Language Pathologists
8. Genetic Counselors
9. Athletic Trainers
10. Respiratory Therapists
What are the Highest Paying Medical Jobs?
While money may not be the reason you choose to pursue a career in healthcare, understanding the compensation for the top-paying jobs, broken out by required degree level, could be valuable.
Here are the top five paying jobs that typically require you to have a bachelor's degree, according to BLS:
1. Registered Nurse
2. Dietitians and Nutritionists
3. Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians
4. Athletic Trainers
5. Exercise Physiologists
Here are the top five paying jobs that typically require you to have a master's degree, according to BLS:
1. Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners
2. Physician Assistant
3. Occupational Therapist
4. Genetic Counselors
5. Speech-Language Pathologists
Here are the top five paying jobs that typically require you to have a doctoral or professional degree, according to BLS:
1. Physicians and Surgeons
These are just some of the countless jobs available within the healthcare industry. There are tons of paths that branch off these, such as the various types of nursing jobs available.
It may also help to stay on top of current trends within the industry, such as the nursing shortage. The nursing shortage is caused by several factors, including nurses retiring or leaving the profession and the aging population requiring a higher level of care. Another reason is the shortage of nurse educators, as more than 80,000 qualified nursing applicants were turned away in 2019 due to the lack of educators available to teach them, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) (AACN PDF Source).
Health education is important whether you are pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree, or even a certificate, and there are countless careers that you can consider pursuing within the healthcare industry.
A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU health program that can best help you meet your goals.
Nicholas Patterson is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.