Is a Health Care Degree Right for You?
A career in the health care industry requires you to be knowledgeable in a variety of seemingly unrelated fields. You will need technology, business, management, and administrative skills along with extensive knowledge in health and medical sciences. An online bachelor’s degree in health care is a great to develop the breadth and depth of knowledge you need to quality for a health care career. If you are considering professional career — such as a physician’s assistant or nursing position — or an administrative path — like hospital management or information technology — a bachelor’s degree in health care is a good way to get started.
Advice for Earning Your Health Care Degree Online
Degrees in healthcare are popular with online colleges and universities, so you should have no problem finding a distance education option in this field. However, you should confirm the school’s accreditation status before enrolling, as not all online colleges are universities are equal in quality to traditional colleges. Also, the scope of online health care bachelor’s degree programs can vary. Some focus on healthcare management, administration, or technology. Study the program curriculum to determine if the courses included are in line with your career objectives.
Online Health Care degree programs typically include a combination of health and science related courses and management and business courses. You may also take courses that discuss information systems and technologies often found in healthcare facilities. Required courses might include:
- Medical Terminology
- Coding and Classification Systems
- Ethical Considerations of Healthcare
- Intro to Epidemiology
- Reimbursement Systems
Common Career Paths
Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Health Care include:
- Expected Growth: 26%
- Average Annual Salary: $69,660
Registered nurses make up the largest profession within the health care industry. They are responsible for treating patients, educating them on their illnesses and injuries, taking medical histories and providing preventive care. RNs implement a plan of care suitable for each patient’s needs, which may require administering medications, checking vitals, starting and removing IVs, rehabilitation and drawing blood for necessary tests.
Nurses can specialize in working with certain age and population groups, such as children, the elderly, diabetics or hospice patients. They can also work in varied settings, including hospitals and patients’ homes. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS, and represent median incomes.
Medical and Health Services Managers
- Expected Growth: 22%
- Average Annual Salary: $98,080
Medical and health services managers are responsible for directing and coordinating the delivery of health services, as well as handling the day-to-day operations of health care organizations. Clinical managers usually have a lengthy background in the area they oversee and use their experience to work their way up to an executive position. Many medical and health services managers coordinate the billing and collection of payment from patients. At the top of the chain are executives who oversee multiple health care facilities. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 30%
- Average Annual Salary: $87,585
Physician assistants are experience significant job growth. PAs work alongside and under the authority of a doctor and perform various health care responsibilities, such as taking medical histories, treating patients, administering diagnostic tests and ordering X-rays. PAs provide basic medical, diagnostic and preventive care. They can address minor injuries with sutures, splints and casts, and offer an array of other treatments typically associated with doctors.
A professional degree is required to become a licensed PA, but a bachelor’s degree in health care is a strong foundation for this field. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
Health Insurance Underwriters
- Expected Growth: 6%
- Average Annual Salary: $69,620
Insurance underwriters review insurance claims to evaluate premiums and coverage amounts. They also review insurance applications to determine if applicants should be approved for coverage. A degree in health care would be extremely useful to underwriters working in the health insurance industry. A bachelor’s degree is required to work as an underwriter in most industries. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
Assistant Hospital Administrator
- Expected Growth: 22%
- Average Annual Salary: $90,080
Assistant administrators help the primary administrators at the hospital or clinic oversee the facility’s operations. They address staff concerns, coordinate delivery schedules, and supervise personnel. Assistant administrators may take a more hands-on administrative role while primary administrators handle decision-making tasks.
A bachelor’s degree is often required to work as an assistant administrator and salary can vary based on your location, employer, and years of experience. Figures above were provided by the BLS.