June 2, 2016
If you're interested in landing a well-paying job in the high-growth field of healthcare, there are many fulfilling options available. The field offers a number of rewarding careers for professionals who want to make a difference in patient care and well-being in a variety of ways. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare is the largest industry in the country, providing more than 11 million jobs to U.S. workers.* Whatever your skill set and professional interests, there's a fulfilling job in the healthcare field that can make the most of your abilities.
When it comes to deciding what health career is right for you, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has many options to accommodate your specific interests and career goals.
Between advancing technology and recent legislation, the healthcare field is in the midst of significant change. Providing quality care is becoming more important than ever, leading to an emphasis on data, quality control, patient safety and a patient-centered experience. This shift is resulting in many new positions in the healthcare field, as well as increasing the importance of the behind-the-scenes roles that already existed. There are more options for those who are interested in healthcare careers than ever before.
While physicians and nurses may be the face of the medical field, the powerful work they do is supported by so many others, whose roles are vital to quality healthcare. These positions include health information technicians, community health advocates, healthcare administrators, diagnostic medical technicians, infection control directors and so many more. Whatever type of role you're interested in, if you have a passion for improving medical services and patient care or preventing disease, a health career could be the way to go.
With so many options to choose from, how do you decide on what specific healthcare career is right for you? It's important to start with your interests and goals. Do you love working with numbers or do you prefer communicating with patients and providers? Are you looking for a role where you'll supervise others, or work largely on your own? Having a clear idea of what you find rewarding and where you fit most effectively in the workplace is the first step in finding your perfect career.
Once you've gained a sense of what you find fulfilling and enjoyable, you need to think about what kind of education you'll need to get to that job. While you may be able to apply for certain positions with an associate degree, a bachelor's degree can prepare you to truly succeed in your chosen role. Wherever you want to be, an SNHU degree can help you get there.
"We have a very large selection of healthcare programs," said Dr. Denise Bisaillon, associate dean of Health Professions. "We really cover many key areas within healthcare. Our programs align to leading healthcare associations and standards and we have subject matter expertise in every area."
Ready to learn more? One of these SNHU online healthcare degree programs may be for you:
Do you have an interest in healthcare and a knack for management and organization? A career in healthcare administration could be the right choice for you. In this role, you'll be responsible for overseeing the daily behind-the-scenes function of a hospital, private practice or other organization within the healthcare field. You'll make decisions that could affect the lives of patients and work closely with providers to influence care and policy.
At SNHU, you can take the next step in your health career with an online BS in Healthcare Administration. The program is based on principles set forth by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA), and prepares you to work in a supervisory role in a variety of medical settings, including private practices, hospitals, government health agencies and pharmaceutical companies.
Depending on your specific interests, you can also choose to pursue your BS in Healthcare Administration with one of two concentrations: health information management or patient safety and quality. As improving patient outcomes and reimbursement models become increasingly important in hospitals and other healthcare settings, both of these emphases equip you with the skills to play an important role in ensuring that your organization is following best practices and properly reporting results.
If you want to contribute to the care of people, but enjoy working with information, consider a healthcare career in health information management (HIM). The successful collection, management and leverage of health information is incredibly important for improving patient care, which makes qualified health information technology professionals invaluable to medical organizations. You'll not only have more opportunities for employment, but likely a greater chance for leadership and advancement than you would have in the past.
This position is becoming increasingly important as more and more careers in healthcare are being required to work with collected data, such as patient reported outcomes (PROs). HIM staff members are being called on to not just work behind the scenes, but also to play a leadership role in instructing other employees in how to record and leverage this important health information. You may find yourself working with anyone from a newly hired nurse to the CEO of the hospital to understand the significance and organization of the numbers of healthcare.
"As technology changes so fast, HIM professionals need to be the practitioner that is the super user who can pass on how to use that information, showing other clinicians how to enter the information right away," said Lynn Ward, associate dean of HIM programs. "That's where they become a leader. As technology changes and is the focal point of reimbursement models, they're changing with that."
Through the SNHU online BS in Health Information Management program, you'll learn to analyze and manage health statistics and research data, interpret and apply current laws and regulations, evaluate system applications and more. You'll be provided with a structured and organized background in current best practices and systems, setting you a cut above the competition when you seek out a new position or strive for advancement in a current one.
An associate degree in the allied health field may have been a great first step for you to enter into the world of healthcare as a dental hygienist, diagnostic medical technician, clinical laboratory technician, medical assistant or health information technician. While your associate degree prepares you with a needed skillset, SNHU's online BS in Health Sciences program may allow you to advance into a management or supervisory role in your chosen field and beyond.
In the BS in Health Science program you'll take courses focused on the economics of healthcare, legal and ethical considerations in the field and more on your way to earning your degree. Throughout your program, you'll be led by instructors with real-world experience and the skills and knowledge that you need to take on a supervisory role in your chosen field.
In the current healthcare landscape, there's a major push toward preventing illness and injury in order to improve patient outcomes and save costs incurred for ongoing treatment. To further this goal, greater importance is being placed on public health. These healthcare careers are diverse, from community positions in health education and research, to roles fighting infectious disease outbreaks in third world countries. You could find yourself working anywhere from a nonprofit organization to a state facility to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wherever you land, your mission is the same: to improve the health and quality of life of across populations.
According to Bisaillon, the field takes a broad look at health across large populations, as opposed to those who work in healthcare facilities and work with individual patients.
"Public health is about improving health across populations," Bisaillon said.
To play an active role in this shift toward encouraging preventive medicine across large populations, consider earning an online BS in Public Health. You'll learn how to evaluate current methods in the field, plan programs, communicate educational materials and more with the directive of improving the health and quality of life of specific populations. As a graduate, you'll be positioned for such roles as a public health provider, medical and health services manager and infection control director.
The shift toward prevention has also created a stronger focus on community health programs. While those working in this growing field share goals similar to the public health field, the way in which they achieve those goals varies.
"Community health education is a subset of public health. said Bisaillon. "Public health has a broader scope using biostatistics and epidemiolocal tools to analyze and interpret data to make recommendations for populations. Community health is more taking what a public health professional is reporting and applying it to a program or helping people gain access to resources they need; trying to make improvements within the community and working with many different populations."
According to the BLS, demand for health educators and community health workers is on the rise. Job openings are expected to grow by 13% from 2014 to 2024, an increase of 15,600 positions. The median salary for one of these roles was $42,450 per year as of 2014. However, the benefits of a career working in community health are more than just financial. It's an incredibly rewarding job that allows you to see the immediate impact of your work on the lives of others.
"Community health education often offers more interaction with people," Bisaillon said. "You'd see your influence more immediately. You'd see the change in people, in the community. You're more out in the field than a public health provider might be."
If you want to be on the front lines of creating visible change in the well-being of your community, a health career in this niche of the healthcare field could be the right choice.
Pursuing your degree in a face-to-face environment may not be the best option for you. Whether you're working full-time or living in an area that doesn't have easy access to a university, the structure of a traditional degree program may not be what's most effective for your academic success. Whatever challenges you may face in earning your healthcare degree, SNHU's online programs have been tailored to make pursuing your education more convenient than ever. You can participate in course discussions, message your instructors questions and read up on course material from wherever life takes you.
When you learn online, you'll have the support and flexibility to earn your degree at the pace that best fits your life. SNHU's nine-week undergraduate terms and ten-week graduate terms allow you to change up your course load or even take time off if needed. If you know that a certain time of year is going to be busy for you, you can simply enroll in one class as a part-time student, and then go back up to full-time status by signing up for two classes during the next term.
SNHU's online degree programs can be especially beneficial when you're pursuing a career in healthcare. The flexibility of the online program gives you the freedom to work full-time while pursuing your degree, adding both experience and education to your resume.
When you enroll in a healthcare degree with SNHU, you'll be a part of a program that's been designed by subject matter experts, based on real-world needs and experiences, to position you for success after graduation. SNHU courses integrate the technical knowledge and the intrinsic skills that you need to succeed in the healthcare field. An SNHU diploma isn't just a piece of paper - it's a tool that you'll leverage for years to come as you advance in your career.
Not sure if an online degree program is the right choice for you? You're never alone when making decisions about your education with SNHU. From the point of admission, you'll be assigned a new student advisor who can help you navigate the degree process. Whether you're not sure how to use the online discussion board or need help arranging your schedule to work around prior commitments, your advisor can provide the support and assistance you need to succeed in reaching your goals.
"The advisors are encouraging and always there for you," said Nancy Cowden, an online student earning a BS in Healthcare Management. "When I was younger, I was unable to complete my BS degree. So I raised my family and put them through school. I took some courses along the way, but nothing substantial. Now it is my time to complete what I started 40 years ago, albeit in a much different educational climate and format."
It's never too late to return to school. Ready to make the decision to further your education? Contact SNHU admissions to learn more about how an online healthcare degree can get you one step closer to a fulfilling job in your field of interest.
*Job market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook is intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities and is not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. SNHU cannot guarantee employment.
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