Graduate Degrees

Healthcare — One of the Fastest Career Fields and Graduate Degree Programs

With the current trend in the workforce and in the education system, going back to school even after college is becoming an even more necessary practice. The current statistic regarding the number of individuals obtaining master's degrees is roughly 8%, and that number is only expected to grow. As more individuals advance themselves in terms of schooling, the competition in the job market will also experience a push in terms of competition. Before long, it will likely be necessary to have a graduate degree for many entry level positions. With that being said, understanding the nuances of graduate degree programs can help you determine if getting a master's degree is a step that you should take to expand your horizons, personally and professionally. Currently, one of the fastest growing career fields is healthcare and all of its associated career paths. Offering flexible course options as well as extensive compensation, a graduate degree in the healthcare field is a qualification worth considering.

Online Courses and Graduate Degree Programs

From health administration to physical and occupational therapy, the online courses as well as virtual graduate degree programs are seemingly endless. The top spot appears to go to health administration or healthcare management. While not directly responsible for patients, health administrators are responsible for running health systems as a whole, from administering patient care to adhering to policy and maintaining quality personnel. With the increase of technology in medicine itself, it only makes sense that coursework and degree programming would be available online. Typical online medical courses include healthcare management, medical policy and law, information systems, and much more. The real benefit to taking courses online, though, is being able to adapt a schedule that fits a busy lifestyle. While most graduate degree programs provide a typical "outline" of the program, almost all programs can be tweaked to fit a manageable, individual schedule.

Admission Requirements

Just like traditional programs, online graduate degree programs have specific admission requirements. In general, most online healthcare programs require a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or U.S. institution. Typically, experience in the healthcare field is favored but not required. While not all schools require prerequisite course completion, some online programs do request that students have certain entry level coursework completed in the field. These course requirements may include health science courses, lower level health policy, and basic anatomy courses.

Graduate School Scholarships

Another consideration concerning graduate school is the cost involved with attending. Just like a traditional school setting, online programs are costly in terms of tuition, but they also offer financial aid in much the same way that other schools do. While the financial aid packages and student benefits are specific to individual schools, some additional scholarships for different programs are available. For healthcare programs in general, a wide variety of scholarship opportunities are available that are discipline specific, such as the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program, the Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship, and many others. In addition to scholarships, research fellowships are available to students who are pursuing a field of study with a focus on research. Whatever the program is, scholarships and financial aid options are available to help alleviate the costs of going back to school.

With a median career pay of $98,000 and a job outlook of a 30% growth by the year 2020, the healthcare field is an extremely attractive career field to consider. And, with the wide variety of options in the field itself, ranging from management to patient care and even research, the possibilities are endless.