According to recent reports, the healthcare industry has grown by close to 1 million jobs since March 2010. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of healthcare jobs will continue to increase and account for the most new jobs in the workforce between 2012 and 2022. This expansion means there will be many opportunities for people to pursue careers in healthcare, even if you are transitioning in from other fields.
Earning a degree can help facilitate the transition into a healthcare career, and there are various educational options that allow adults with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to pursue degrees that will help them land fulfilling jobs in the healthcare field.
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For those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a field unrelated to healthcare, pursuing an advanced degree such as a Master of Public Health (MPH) is a great option for advancing a career in this new field. Most programs do not require that students have a particular undergraduate major. In fact, the multi-disciplinary nature of an MPH degree often means new and fresh perspectives are welcome. A few prerequisite courses may be required, but it’s important to talk to an admissions counselor to find out the details. Many respected institutions now offer online programs that allow students to continue working full-time in their current job while attending school.
Moving into a new healthcare career might be an ideal time to pursue a first degree as well. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a degree suited for people who are interested in direct interaction with patients. The demand for nurses continues to grow as baby boomers age and require more frequent and complex care; in fact, the number of nursing jobs is expected to increase by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022. Registered nurses can work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, from hospitals to community clinics to private physicians’ offices.
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The growing healthcare industry also means there may be additional advancement opportunities for those who are currently working in healthcare careers. For people already working directly with patients, an advanced degree can lead to specialization and more career options such as a family nurse practitioner or acute care nurse practitioner. Alternatively, an MPH or Master of Health Administration (MHA) are degrees that will lead to careers that address broader populations. An MHA-trained professional approaches healthcare from a systems perspective by combining business decision-making skills with knowledge on cutting edge trends in healthcare delivery.
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Making a career change as an adult can seem daunting, especially if you’ve been in the same field for a while. However, pursuing a degree related to healthcare can help alleviate some of the fears associated with the “unknown” and help you figure out what job is the best fit for you. Additionally, investing time in your personal development and education will make you a more valuable employee no matter what job you land after finishing your degree. Regardless of what degree or healthcare job you choose, there are options to fit everyone and they will continue to grow into the future.
Julie Sweet is an editor of health care information on the 2U Inc. website. The health care team at 2U strives to provide aspiring healthcare workers the knowledge they need to choose the best healthcare degree for their goals.