Are you a veteran who’s looking for a secure job in an in-demand field? Do you have an interest in healthcare and a strong desire to help others? If so, a career in nursing and healthcare may be the right career path for you. Within these fast-growing fields, you can pursue various jobs that are both personally and financially satisfying. The aging baby boomer population is one of the many reasons healthcare is booming. In fact, hospitals, private practitioners, and other healthcare employers are looking to hire people faster than schools can turn out graduates.
Here is a look into 5 nursing and healthcare degree programs that will start you on the path to a prosperous healthcare career.
Nursing has always and continues to be a high-demand profession. There is a constant need for compassionate, responsible, and detail-oriented nurses. As a Registered Nurse (RN), you would work directly with patients to diagnose and help manage their health conditions. You could also choose to work with specific populations, such as children, elderly patients, or those with chronic conditions. You could work in a medical office or clinic, a large hospital, or a community facility. Just remember, you will need to be emotionally stable in order to handle emergencies and engage with emotional and physical suffering, illness, and injury. The American Nursing Association (ANA) reports that 1.1 million new nurses will be needed by 2022 to meet expanding healthcare needs and replace retiring nurses.
Associate Degree in Nursing
An associate’s degree in nursing will allow you to become either a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN). A key to getting your license is passing the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). It typically takes two years to finish your degree and can be completed through traditional campus-based colleges as well as online. The practical clinical requirements must be completed in person. As an LPN, you could work in long-term care facilities, doctor’s offices, or healthcare clinics.
Licensed practical nurses (LPN) Salary Range:
Entry Level: $39,132
Average Pay: $44,939
Best Schools that offer Associate’s Degrees in Nursing
Helena College University of Montana
Danville Community College
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
If you an RN, then a RN-to-BSN program can be a great way for you to increase your advancement in the field. With a BSN in nursing and licensure, you could obtain employment as an RN in many occupations, including home health nurse, outpatient nurse or an infusion nurse.
Registered Nurse (RN) Salary Range:
Entry Level: $56,185
Average Pay: $64,992
Best Schools that offer Bachelor’s Degrees in Nursing:
Health Care Administration
One of the top careers in healthcare is healthcare administrator. Health care systems are big businesses and need qualified managers to run operations within medical facilities and systems. With a degree in Health Care Administration, you could have a career that is both in demand and lucrative. You could find positions in medical centers, clinics, or HMOs, as clinic manager, healthcare administrator, or healthcare compliance manager. Jobs for health systems managers are projected to grow 18 percent from 2018-2028. Hundreds of colleges now offer degrees in Health Care Administration.
Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration
This degree can be an excellent starting point for your career in the healthcare management field. You’ll learn both the basics of business and healthcare skills that will enable you to work in a doctor’s office or other healthcare facility. Typically, you can get your associate’s degree in two years and can find both campus-based and online associate’s degree programs. With an Associate’s Degrees in Healthcare Administration, you could get a job as a patient coordinator, program coordinator, or support specialist.
Patient Coordinator Salary Range:
Entry Level: $34,626
Average Pay: $39,974
Best Schools that offer Associate’s Degrees in Healthcare Administration:
Florida Institute of Technology
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration
A Bachelor’s degree program will help teach you the analytical skills you’ll need to succeed in both your own work environment and the healthcare system as a whole. It typically takes four years to get your Bachelor’s Degrees in Healthcare Administration and will set you up to get a job as a healthcare administrator, health information manager, or healthcare human resources staff member.
Healthcare Administer Salary Range:
Entry Level: $52,239
Average Pay: $68,954
Best Schools that offer Bachelor’s Degrees in Healthcare Administration:
James Madison University
Appalachian State University
University Of New Hampshire
Health Information Technology
As a Health Information Technician, you would assist health care professionals by collecting and organizing data from patients or medical offices and providing data analysis. Your main tasks would checking and updating a patient’s medical history, make sure records are current and correct, and correct any mistakes. You could work in a doctor’s office, hospital, or other medical facility. It is also possible that you could work in insurance offices or for government agencies.
Associate’s Degree in Health Information Technology
For most jobs in this field, an associate degree is required to get entry-level work. You would learn about information management, computer technology, medical procedure and billing, health insurance, and health care administration. After a few years of experience, you’ll have an excellent chance to transfer your associate’s degree credits towards a Bachelor’s in Health IT. With an Associate’s Degrees in Health Information Technology, you could get a job as a medical coder. You would be responsible for reviewing medical documents and translating their information into appropriate numerical codes for use by doctors, pharmacists, and healthcare insurance professionals.
Medical Coder Salary Range:
Entry Level: $36,542
Average Pay: $42,772
Best Schools that offer Associate’s Degrees in Health Information Technology:
St Petersburg College
Hutchinson Community College
Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Technology
Health information technology Bachelor’s degree programs will teach you the skills for a career in health care information administration and management. You’ll learn about science, medicine, business, information management, technology, health insurance information, and other topics for a successful profession in managing health care facilities. Earning your Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Technology typically takes four years.
Health Care Information Manager Salary Range:
Entry Level: $62,767
Average Pay: $88,424
Best Schools that offer Bachelor’s Degrees in Health Information Technology
University of Washington
Coppin State University
Southern University at New Orleans
Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
Getting your degree in PTA is a perfect way to starting your physical therapy assistant career. You can later earn your Bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree if you strive to start your own physical therapy practice. As a PTA, you’ll work under the authority of a licensed physical therapist to provide rehabilitative services to people whose health difficulties keep them from having full mobility or performing daily life functions. Your job will be to track of their progress throughout their physical therapy sessions. You will probably work in a hospital or privately-owned physical therapy practice. You could also get a job working in home healthcare, schools, or rehab units.
Associate’s Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant
Your associate’s degree will teach you a combination of general education, applied physical therapy sciences, and clinical learning experiences. After you successfully complete both classroom and clinical components of the curriculum, you will earn an Associate in Science degree in PTA. To get a PTA job, you must graduate from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredited program and obtain state licensure.
Physical Therapist Assistant Salary Range:
Entry Level: $44,689
Average Pay: $50,551
Best Schools that offer Associate’s Degrees in Physical Therapist Assistant:
St. Catherine University
University of Indianapolis
California University of Pennsylvania
Nutritionist and Dietician
If you have a passion for health, food, and helping people, then a career in dietetics or nutrition could be the right career choice for you. If you want to pursue your degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, you’ll have to take courses that are science-heavy course load and complete many hours of patient care. As a nutrition/dietetics graduate, you can become a certified nutritionist or registered dietitian working in hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities, or spas. You can also advise school districts in meal planning or pursue exciting careers such as a food scientist, food writer, or community health worker.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics
To become a registered dietitian nutritionist, you’ll have to complete your Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetic as well as a dietetic internship from an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited program, and pass the national registration examination.
Dietician and Nutritionist Salary Range:
Entry Level: $44,223
Average Pay: $50,453
Best Schools that offer Bachelor’s Degrees in Nutrition and Dietetics
University of Connecticut
University of Arizona
*Note: All salary estimates from Payscale.com
Jim spent 22 years on active duty, climbing the ranks from Airman Basic to a decorated Air Force Major. Stationed all over the world, he held many high-level posts, including Chief of Foreign Military Sales at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jim earned his Ph.D. through the Montgomery Era GI Bill and spent 13 years teaching African Studies in Pennsylvania. Jim is also an award-winning travel writer.