According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare was the largest industry in 2006, providing over 14 million jobs, and most of these jobs require less than four years of college. The healthcare industry is divided into three sectors:
Ambulatory Health Care Services – Physicians’ and dentists’ offices, home health, labs, and outpatient care fall under this category.
Hospitals – In addition to general and surgical hospitals, these also include mental health and substance abuse hospitals.
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities – Assisted living, nursing care, and residential mental health facilities are examples.
With such a need for healthcare workers and a broad spectrum of occupations, there is high demand for graduates from this field of study. Earning a healthcare degree is simply a smart investment of your time, efforts, and money.
While many of these jobs do not require a four-year degree, keep in mind that higher-earning occupations, such as nurses and physicians, will require a more advanced degree. Some concentrations in healthcare include:
Healthcare Administration and Management
Long Term Care
Medical Billing and Coding
Nutrition and Food Science
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Qualities and Skills
The best healthcare professionals possess a wide range of qualities and skills. They must be affectionate and caring, yet firm and decisive. A high awareness of their environment and close attention to detail are also important. If you are a gentle, cautious, and thoughtful person who likes to help people, this field is worth investigating. A healthcare degree will teach you specialized professional skills that will add to your natural abilities and personality traits. In addition to testing in your courses, you may also be required to pass state licensing exams in order to be certified to work in your state.
A major advantage to healthcare is that there is an extensive array of careers from which to choose. If you don’t think you can enter this profession because you’re squeamish, afraid of needles, or get weak at the sight of blood, remember that there are many areas of healthcare other than administering personal care. You could try medical billing, counseling, or social work. However, if you are most interested in one-on-one care, you could become a nurse, medical assistant, or surgeon.
Registered nurses make up the largest occupation in healthcare and generally earn more than licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses. Average earnings in hospitals exceed those in the private sector, and the number of hours per shift or work week usually varies for these types of jobs. If you want to go for the big bucks, you’ll want to become a physician, surgeon, or pharmacist, but you should also keep in mind that the education requirements for these position is much more rigorous.