Health Care Degree
A health care degree can provide a professional with excellent prospects for a job. The entire field of health care is predicted to expand for roughly the next decade. The baby boomer generation’s increasing medical needs, new medical technology, and a renewed focus upon public health is creating a growing demand for health care professionals. Health care education requirements can range from a bachelor’s degree up to a doctorate. There are some highly skilled specializations that require several years of training after graduate school. However, a majority of health care jobs can be applied for by a professional who has had four years or less of college.
Statistics have shown that only 20% of workers in hospitals only have a high school diploma or less. Nearly all professionals without post-secondary health care training and who are in direct contact with patients will receive on-the-job training. Some of these occupations are:
- EKG technician
- Home health aide
- Nursing aide
Professionals with a bachelor’s degree can work in health care occupations such as:
- Health service manager
- Registered nurse (RN; although not all RN’s can have a bachelor’s degree)
- Social worker
Professionals interested in directly diagnosing and treating the patient will have graduate school and additional years of education or training. These professionals are among the most-educated and well-paid health care employees. These health care occupations can include:
- Physical therapist
Opportunities for advancement can vary by specific health care occupation. Generally, certifications or credentials from recognized health care organizations will increase the likelihood of a raise. Supervisory positions can be applied for by senior health care professionals. For those interested in management, a professional will need both certifications and experience to be promoted upwards. A management position may also require an additional degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the health care industry had 14.3 million full-time jobs in 2008. Additional part-time and variable schedule jobs were not counted. The total number of jobs made the health care industry one of the largest employers in the United States. Roughly 595,800 health care facilities were counted by the BLS in 2008. Only 1% of these were hospitals. However, hospitals employed 35% of all health care workers. Health care professionals, especially those at the entry-level, should look to the nearest major hospital for work.
The BLS predicts that the health care industry will add at least 3.2 million new jobs between 2008 and 2018. Of the top 20 jobs with the highest predicted growth, 10 are in the health care industry. The strong growth potential is seen across the industry. For example, persistent shortages of nurses have been seen for at least the past 5 to 10 years. It will be difficult to provide enough qualified nurses.