Want a challenging and stable career that makes a difference in people’s lives? If so, pursuing a healthcare degree may be the right choice for you. From medical assisting to nursing and surgical technology, there is a broad range of career opportunities in the healthcare field, especially as the demand for healthcare grows. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is on track to create five million new jobs by 2022. If you want to prepare for an in-demand career that provides you with a steady return-on-investment, consider pursing healthcare training today.
Healthcare Training Degree Requirements
Depending on your desired occupation, the postsecondary education requirements for healthcare careers vary from the certificate to the graduate level. The good news is that you do not necessarily have to go down the four-year university path. For many specialties, you can complete your education quickly, allowing you to get a jumpstart on your career.
Entry-level healthcare careers that require only a certificate or diploma that can be earned in one year or less include:
- Certified nursing assistant (CNA)
- Licensed practical nurse (LPN)
- Dental assistant
- Medical assistant
- Medical secretary
- Medical biller and coder
An associate’s degree, which takes two years to earn, could qualify you for jobs like:
- Registered nurse (RN)
- Diagnostic medical sonographer
- Dental hygienist
- Physical therapy assistant
- Respiratory therapist
- Surgical technologist
- Veterinary technician
If you study for four years and earn a bachelor’s degree, you could become a:
- Athletic trainer
- Health services manager
Healthcare careers which require you to earn a master’s degree or higher can take an additional one or more years after you earn a bachelor’s degree. These positions include:
- Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)
- Physician assistant
- Physical therapist
Curriculum for Healthcare Programs
Many healthcare programs are offered online, enabling busy adults to continue working while they pursue their degrees. Depending on their field of study, courses that students in healthcare schools may be required to take include the following:
- Anatomy & physiology
- Medical terminology
- Hospital management
- Legal aspects of healthcare
In most healthcare fields, students are also required to complete a practicum that allows them to apply their skills and classroom knowledge in a real-world healthcare setting. Voluntary and/ or mandatory certification is also available for most healthcare career paths. Some specialties will also require a state licensing exam.
Job Opportunities for Graduates of Healthcare Schools
Healthcare careers are often stressful and demanding because you have to cope with emergencies, human suffering, and other difficult situations. Skills and qualities that are beneficial to have in healthcare include compassion, critical thinking skills, organizational skills, attention to detail, and emotional stability.
Due to the aging baby boomer population, the healthcare and social assistant industry is projected to grow at a rate of 2.6% each year from 2012 to 2022, which will amount to almost 1/3 of the projected new jobs across all industries, according to the BLS. Furthermore, of the 30 fastest growing occupations, 14 occupations are healthcare related.
Due to the high demand for healthcare workers, there are many lucrative job opportunities available in the healthcare field. Generally speaking, the more skills and education you have, the higher your pay will be. For example, in 2012, the median annual salaries for the following healthcare positions were:
- Medical assistants– $29,370
- Surgical technologists– $41,790
- Registered nurses– $65,470
- Health services managers– $88,580
- Physicians and surgeons– $187,199
Deciding on a Healthcare School
A key determining factor when it comes to deciding on your specific healthcare career path is the level of education you choose to pursue. Going back to school can be a large time and financial commitment, but their is a potential for significant rewards. When you work in healthcare, you have the opportunity to make an impact. You may save lives, bring lives into this world, and help people heal from illness. Not only do you impact the lives of individuals, you also impact the lives of entire communities. There is never a dull moment when you work in healthcare – no day is ever the same. Read more about the different healthcare degree programs on our site today, and find a school that meets your needs.