Today, we take a look at nursing and healthcare degrees. As the human population ages and grows, and as the medical sciences advance, so too does the demand for knowledgeable and skilled healthcare professionals at all levels of the field.
Healthcare isn’t run by doctors alone; the field requires a wide array of individuals, including nurses, medical assistants, dietitians and nutritionists, records managers, health services managers, administrators, epidemiologists, and social workers. Because of this, degrees in the broad category of nursing and healthcare break out into a wide array of specializations, any of which may be right for you.
- At the associate level, you develop the knowledge and skills necessary for supportive roles, such as medical assistant or aide.
- At the bachelor’s level, you gain the qualifications to engage in more advanced medical roles, such as healthcare manager, nurse, or nurse anesthetist, as well as to earn licensure.
- At the master’s level, you develop specialized knowledge and practical skills geared toward ensuring patients and communities receive the healthcare and resources they need.
If you want to be part of the healthcare field and are interested in helping people through healing and recovery, nursing and healthcare degrees provide plenty of opportunity for you to enter a rewarding career.
To learn more, find out What You Can Do With a Nursing Degree.
Check Out These Fun Facts
- Count yourself among the stars: famous figures, ranging from Walt Whitman to Tina Turner to Bonnie Hunt, have spent time working as nurses.
- Nice work if you can find it: jobs in nursing and healthcare are typically well-paying, and enjoy some of the fastest growth rates across all industries.
- Come as you are: nursing and healthcare degree programs are widely available in flexible, online, and accelerated formats, allowing anyone to complete their education anywhere.
- Job security: society will always need quality healthcare, and if you are qualified, the likelihood is high that you will always be able to find a job in this field.
- Don’t like to be tied down? Plenty of people work as traveling nurses, moving around the country (and even around the world) on short-term nursing contracts.
For an idea of what you can do with a degree in nursing and healthcare, and how much you can earn doing it, check out the following data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS identifies common careers for nursing and healthcare degree holders, as well as median annual salaries for 2017, and job outlook growth predictions for the period between 2016--2026:
|Dietitians and nutritionists||$59,410||15% growth|
|Emergency management directors||$72,760||8% growth|
|Health educators and community health workers||$45,360||16% growth|
|Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses||$45,030||12% growth|
|Medical assistants||$32,480||29% growth|
|Medical and health services managers||$98,350||20% growth|
|Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners||$110,930||31% growth|
|Registered nurses||$70,000||15% growth|
|Social workers||$47,980||16% growth|
Five Things I Wish I Had Known
While nursing and healthcare can be rewarding fields of study, this path isn’t always easy. Below are five things that many nursing and healthcare students wish they had known before entering the field.
- Don’t skip your English classes. A big part of any career in nursing and healthcare is written communication. Healthcare professionals need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively through reports, emails, memos, and other written mediums, as well as to keep detailed records. If you shy away from writing or feel you are bad at it, you need to embrace it and get better.
- While there are plenty of general careers in healthcare, there are just as many specialized careers. Many students are unaware of this, and feel overwhelmed by the many options presented to them. Be ready to explore, but also be ready to focus.
- If you are expecting a steady, predictable, nine-to-five schedule, guess again. While some office and administrative jobs in healthcare operate on “normal” schedules, most active jobs in healthcare, especially nursing jobs, rely on “three-on/four-off” schedules that require a three-day stint of 12-hour days, followed by four days to rest. Some nurses love this schedule. Others find it to be a very difficult adjustment, one that can impact your personal health and social life.
- Healthcare careers, and nursing especially, are mentally, emotionally, and physically draining, often in ways that you cannot anticipate until you are established in your job. Be ready for long days, sore muscles, and restless nights.
- Everyone makes mistakes; it happens. Often, mistakes are minor, but in nursing and healthcare careers, mistakes have the potential to cause real harm. You will make mistakes. To be successful in this field, you need to learn from your mistakes, as well as learn how to calmly process them and move on.
Find the Best Schools!
Looking to get started on your degree program? Check out these rankings to learn more:
|# Featured||Degree Type||Program Type|
|10||Associate||Health Information Technology|
|25||Associate||Medical Billing and Coding|
|8||Associate||Medical Office Administration|
|50||(various)||RN to BSN|
|25||Master’s||Social Work (MSW)|