These front-line professionals are obviously essential to the work of healthcare, but without the leadership and support of many other healthcare professionals, they wouldn’t be able to do their job.
Whether it’s the medical office assistants who keep doctor’s offices humming on a day-to-day basis, or public health experts who create contingency plans for the next epidemic, there are an almost limitless variety of opportunities in the field.
And this exciting variation has led us to create exciting Healthcare rankings, like the Best Online Medical Sonography Programs!
By the way, if you’re looking to find out more about Nursing professions and degrees, we created a separate page for that. Check it out in the menu above.
- What Is Healthcare?
- How Much Can I Earn with a Healthcare Degree?
- What Kinds of Degrees Are Available in Healthcare?
- What Kinds of Healthcare Specializations Are Available?
- What Are the Requirements for a Career in Healthcare?
What Does Someone Who Works in Healthcare Do?
Healthcare involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illnesses, diseases, and injuries. Some professionals treat the mind, others operate within the body, and many focus on one specific body function (hearing, reproduction, sight, etc.).
But beyond that, the field includes everybody who’s working to keep the healthcare system running and in place.
This means that you can do everything from running an MRI machine to helping to treat and care for patients with dementia. As a healthcare professional you will be one of the greatest assets that a hospital has to prevent pain and save lives.
And your involvement can start whenever you’d like! Those anxious to jump right in can have a healthcare certificate and start work within the field in a year.
Those looking to gain more specialized training can pursue undergraduate and graduate work, in pursuit of professions like speech and physical therapy.
How Much Money Can You Make If You Study Healthcare?
Every career on this page will expand with 3 to 38 percent more job openings in the next seven years. Healthcare will always be necessary. Especially as the population ages, more opportunities and more specializations will open up.
A small number of jobs can be secured with a high school diploma. In general, careers paying less than $35,000 require a certificate, training program, or Associate’s degree.
Bachelor’s degrees open doors in limited medical fields. Master’s degrees usually prepare students for more specialized careers. And every physician has graduated from a Doctoral program.
One great example of a healthcare career is Athletic Training! This profession has a wealth of job openings, specifically in states like Hawaii, Delaware, and South Dakota.
But it’s not just job openings! You can also find salaries of almost $60,000 in states like Nevada, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.
And if you’re worried about the cost of moving to a new place, the states of Texas, Nevada, and Michigan offer the best balance between physical therapy salaries and cost-of-living!
What Kind of Healthcare Degrees Are Available?
Certificates are earned through short-term programs, which focus on specific technical aspects of the healthcare field.
Classwork will focus on the specialty of the certificate, and prepare students with the skills needed to enter these fields immediately upon completion.
Those who complete these programs are eligible for positions such as Surgical Technicians, who earn a median salary of just over $45,000, or as Cardiac Care Technicians, who earn an average of around $55,000.
Associate’s Degree programs typically last around two years and lead to entry-level work in the healthcare.
Coursework depends on specialization, but will typically focus on coursework solely related to the student’s specific focus. Students will get hands-on experiences in their field, and interact with real patients before even starting their careers.
Example careers include Pharmacy Technicians, who earn around $31,000, or Psychiatric Assistants, who earn around $27,000.
Bachelor’s Degree programs will cover a broader range of knowledge than certificate or associate programs.
Students will engage in coursework inside and outside of their specialization, though the bulk of their coursework will be in their chosen field. Students graduating with a bachelor’s may pursue a career as a radiologic technologist, who help doctors to take X-Rays and CAT scans, and earn a median salary of around $57,450.
Graduate Degree programs will build on the knowledge that students gained in their undergraduate programs. Coursework will once again focus on the student’s specialty field, but will go far more in-depth than previous stages.
Once completed, this degree entitles students to enter fields such as healthcare administration. Those in this field earn a median of just under $100,000.
What Kind of Healthcare Specialties Are Available?
Since there are so many different illnesses and injuries that healthcare professionals have to respond to, there are a number of different specialties that you can choose to pursue.
For example, you can become a medical assistant. These professionals complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare facilities.
To enter the field some students choose to complete a certificate program, while others simply enter with a high school degree and receive on the job training. The median salary for a medical assistant is around $31,500.
You may also want to consider becoming a dietician/nutritionist, who are food experts that promote health and manage disease through personalized advising.
Most of these advisors enter the field with a bachelor’s degree, and many states also require supplemental licenses. The median salary for this field is around $59,000.
Another exciting field is that of speech-language pathology. Professionals in this field help to assess, diagnose, and treat communication and swallowing disorders in patients.
Students must complete a graduate level degree program, and extensive clinical training with patients before beginning their careers. Speech-language pathologists earn an average of around $74,000.
Don’t forget to consider Occupational or Recreational Therapy. Orthotics and Prosthetics specialists restore movement and correct foot function. Experts in Healthcare Information Management Systems are also in demand.
And there are also pioneering careers in fields such as genetic counseling, which helps explain the risks of genetic disorders to individuals and couples either currently expecting a child or planning to in the near future.
Healthcare Management and Administration
Normally when people think of hospitals they think of doctors and nurses, but behind the scenes, there are also highly-trained individuals called Healthcare Managers who assist with planning, coordinating, and directing the medical and health services of everyone from individual doctors to entire hospitals.
Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, it’s shocking how easily this job tends to fly under the radar. Health Service Managers make almost six-digit salaries, with an average salary of over $96,000 per year.
But the BLS doesn’t expect this secret to stay hidden for long, as they predict a much faster than average growth (17%) in the job market over the next ten years.
Because of the great career opportunities available in this field, CollegeChoice took the opportunity to create five different rankings about different bachelors, associates, and masters programs in the Healthcare Administration field.
For undergraduate students looking to enter the field, there is the Best Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration Degrees as well as the Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration Degrees.
Potential masters students can check out the Best Residential Master’s in Healthcare Administration, Best Online Master’s in Healthcare Administration Degrees and the Best Online Master’s in Healthcare Management Degrees, or, if their focus is on affordability, there is also the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Health Administration and Management Degrees.
Students who wish to pursue an associate’s degree are encouraged to look at the Best Online Associate’s Degrees in Medical Office Assisting.
For doctors to be able to do their jobs properly, they need to know basic information about their patients: that means both personal information, like height and weight, as well as information about what they’re getting treated for, injury or illness, flu or cold, etc.
An error in transmission could lead to life-threatening mistakes, which is why doctors rely on highly-trained workers called Health Information Technicians to maintain the quality, accessibility and security of this information.
There are almost 200,000 health information technicians in the United States, who earn nearly $20/hour working in hospitals or physicians’ offices.
Because of the high demand for these well-trained individuals, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to see a much faster than average growth in their job market (15%) over the next decade.
Ready to crunch the numbers and look at trends to help patients worldwide? The degree options can be overwhelming, but luckily College Choice has done the tough work for you! We’ve ranked the Best Master’s in Health Informatics Degrees, the Most Affordable Master’s in Health Informatics Degrees, and the Best Online Master’s in Health Informatics Degrees. If you’re just starting out, we’ve also ranked the Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Health Informatics Degrees as well as the Best Online Bachelor’s in Health Informatics Degree Programs.
Ultrasound and Sonography
If you’re familiar with the field of ultrasound and sonography, it’s probably because of the photos or videos you’ve seen of babies in utero. Sonographers get to play one of the most touching and heartwarming roles in the medical system.
But it’s more than fuzzy feelings—sonographers also play a key role in diagnosis of a number of different diseases and conditions, from kidney stones to heart conditions. They also play a role in neurology and oncology.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics groups ultrasound and sonography professionals into the title: “Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists.”
At a median annual salary of $64,280, ultrasound technicians are some of the best-paid workers who only need an associate’s degree. So if you’re looking to get quick, two-year degree and jump into the workforce, medical sonography might be your best bet.
Because this is such a prominent and quickly growing field, College Choice has put together quite a handful of rankings related to ultrasound technology and medical sonography.
You can check out our ranking of the very Best Ultrasound Technician Schools, as well as the online counterpart to that ranking, the Best Online Medical Sonography Schools. We’ve also ranked the Best Associate’s in Medical Sonography Degrees, and compiled a list of the Most Affordable Online Medical Sonography Schools.
If you’re interested in learning more about health and safety trends, and what health practices can be implemented for the greater good, a degree in public health can open up doors to a variety of different careers for you to explore.
From health and safety engineers and environmental scientists, to healthcare administrators and epidemiologists, the options are endless.
The salaries are great too for those in the public health field. Epidemiologists (those who study and analyze patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations) can make upwards of $70,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, a Master’s degree is often required for these types of careers.
College Choice has put together a ranking of the 35 Best Public Health Degrees for your convenience. If you’re looking for an advanced degree in Public Health, we’ve also ranked the Top Master’s degrees in this field.
If flexibility is your top priority, check out our list of the Best Online Public Health Degrees. We have also ranked the Best Online Master’s in Public Health. Ensure employees, communities, and the public have the resources, knowledge and abilities to live healthy, fulfilling lives, by pursuing a degree in Public Health!
Looking for the best deal? College Choice has ranked the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Public Health.
When disaster strikes, where do you want to be? Fleeing the scene or flocking to the frontlines to help those in need? Are you interested in coming together to work with the local, state, or federal government, as well as hospitals, community centers, and nonprofit organizations? If so, then a Master’s in Emergency Management may be the perfect fit for you!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Emergency Management Directors can make upwards of $70,000 per year. The field is also projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024. As natural disasters continue to pop up, emergency management directors will be needed to develop unique response plans to help protect people and property, and to limit the damage from these emergencies and disasters. It’s a field that requires critical thinking and great communication/organizational skills.
Thinking about pursuing a career in emergency management? Well, you’re in luck. College Choice has ranked the full suite of emergency management programs, so you’ll know exactly where to start. At the undergraduate level: Best Bachelor’s in Emergency Management, Best Online Bachelor’s in Emergency Management, and Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Emergency Management. And at the graduate level: Best Master’s in Emergency Management, Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management, and Most Affordable Online Master’s in Emergency Management.
Do you have a passion for helping people and learning about the healthcare industry? Whether you wish to work in a hospital, doctor’s office, or in a laboratory one day, getting a Health Science degree can open up many doors for you. Those studying health science should be aware that they may have to face injuries, diseases, and mental health issues. This industry is ideal for those who are patient, understanding, and determined to help others.
Due to the varying careers that a degree in health science lends itself to, the salary range varies greatly as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home health aides and personal care aides can make upwards of $22,000 a year while occupational therapists can earn over $80,000. Of course, the more advanced degree you earn, the higher your earning potential will be.
Are you ready to start your career in the healthcare industry? The degree options can be overwhelming, but luckily College Choice has done the tough work for you! We’ve ranked the Best Residential Bachelor’s in Health Science, the Best Online Bachelor’s in Health Science, as well as the Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Health Science Degrees. Looking for an advanced degree? College Choice has also ranked the Best Online Master’s in Health Sciences.
Looking for a deal? College Choice ranked the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Health Science Degrees.
Did you grow up loving both sports and science? Interested in helping players off the field so they can perform at their peak on the field? A degree in sports medicine may be perfect for you! Sports medicine professionals can do everything from working closely with amateur athletes and building healthy training plans, to working with professional athletes who are trying to keep healthy while reaching new heights in the athletic world. From exercise science and kinesiology to athletic training, there are plenty of areas of specialization within this industry.
With a bachelor’s degree, athletic trainers can make upwards of $45,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Exercise physiologists can make about the same amount annually. Of course, the more experience you have and the more advanced education you obtain, the higher your potential salary will be.
If you’re ready to take your love of science and sports to the next level, look no further. College Choice has ranked the Best Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Degrees, as well as the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Degrees. These programs are both affordable and flexible, allowing you to get a worthwhile degree on your own time.
Are you interested in the scientific study of old age and the process of aging in general? A degree in Gerontology can help nurses and practitioners gain valuable skills and develop specializations to advance their careers in nursing and medicine. Whether you work in a hospital, a nursing home, or another healthcare facility, a degree in gerontology can help you to better understand your patients. A degree in this field can also prepare you for a career as a grief counselor, health educator, or geriatric care manager.
The average pay for a gerontologist, according to PayScale, is upwards of $50,000 per year. A degree in gerontology can also lead to quite a stable career. There will never be a shortage of folks aging – in fact, the number of folks aged 65 and older is on the rise. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social and human service assistants is projected to grow 16 percent from now until 2026.
Ready to jump-start your career in gerontology? With so many programs out there, it can be difficult to find the best one. Luckily, College Choice has put together a helpful ranking of the Best Gerontology Degrees and Best Master’s in Gerontology Degrees. Now you can learn more about the industry and various degree programs that are available.
If online education is more your speed than look at College Choice’s rankings for Best Online Gerontology Degrees and Best Online Master’s in Gerontology Degrees. There is also the option of the Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Gerontology.
If you’re passionate about helping animals, a career as a veterinarian may be perfect for you. Of course, you’ll have to be ready for many years of schooling. The average veterinarian has completed 7-9 years of coursework prior to working in the field. However, veterinary medicine is a stable field and there will always be a need for vets. You’ll also have an advantage if you choose to specialize in caring for exotic pets, farm animals, etc.
Veterinarians can earn upwards of $90,00 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, as well as a state license, to start practicing. According to the BLS, employment of veterinarians is projected to grow nearly 20 percent from now to 2026. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Whether you’d like to work in a private clinic or become a traveling vet, you’ll have a plethora of opportunities in this field. Check out the rankings for the Best Veterinary Degrees.
Are you passionate about providing accessible and compassionate healthcare? Do you want to create better health systems and plans? As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the need for more Human Services professionals. From working with children and adults undergoing a crisis or chronic situation, to working for social service agencies, community centers, and more, human services experts work tirelessly to serve others and their communities.
An advanced degree in health services can be applied to a variety of interesting careers, industries, and settings. Medical and health services managers make nearly $100,000 a year. But this degree can move you far beyond the manager’s desk. In fact, you could become the CEO of a hospital, making over $150,000 annually, with a degree in health services. Of course, depending upon the hospital, that salary could rise exponentially.
From the University of Wyoming and Oklahoma State University, to Mercy College and Ohio University, there are plenty of opportunities to earn a degree in Health Services. Whether you are pursing an undegrad or graduate degree, College Choice has than rankings for you. Check out the Best Health Services, Best Online Health Services, and the Most Affordable Online Health Services degrees or the Best Master’s in Health Services, the Best Online Master’s in Health Services, and the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Health Services degrees for your convenience!
A degree in respiratory therapy is ideal for those who wish to provide meaningful care to those in need. You’ll learn how to treat patients who have trouble breathing. From chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma and emphysema, to those who’ve suffered severe injuries, you’ll be prepared to treat them. Your patients will include a range of folks, from premature infants to the elderly who have diseased lungs. Respiratory therapists also provide emergency care to those suffering from heart attacks, drowning, or shock.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, respiratory therapists can earn upwards of $59,000 per year. Not only that, but this field is projected to grow a whopping 23 percent from now until 2026! This exponential growth in jobs is likely due to a rise in the middle-aged and elderly population. Older folks tend to suffer from more respiratory disorders which can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function.
Now that you’ve decided what you want to do, you may be overwhelmed with the idea of picking a college to pursue this degree. Luckily, College Choice has helped to narrow down your degree options! In fact, we’ve ranked the Best Degrees in Respiratory Therapy and the Best Online Respiratory Therapy Degrees just for you!
Technology is rapidly expanding. With it comes an increased demand for medical professionals who can be accurate, precise, and skilled at pinpointing the cause of injuries using state-of-the-art technologies. If you obtain a degree in Radiology Technology, you can become a radiographer in the medical field and perform diagnostic imaging examinations, like X-rays and MRIs, on patients with various injuries and ailments.
Most radiology technologists work in hospitals or healthcare facilities and need at least an associate’s degree to pursue a job. Many states also require certification or license. This hard work pays off – most Radiology and MRI Technologists earn at least $60,070 per year. This field enjoys an extremely high growth rate of roughly 13 percent – much higher than the national average – with an expected creation of 30,300 new jobs by the year 2026. College Choice has ranked both the Best Online Radiology Technology Degrees and the Most Affordable Online Radiology Degrees so you can find the one that best works with your budget and schedule.