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Career Information for a Degree in Medical Services

Jun 01, 2021

With a degree in a medical service-related field, one can be a healthcare manager, paramedic, or EMT—each with different educational requirements. Most of these jobs require licensure.

Essential Information

Students interested in getting a degree in healthcare and medical services have many routes to take. Associate degrees are typically required for those interested in becoming paramedics. Those looking to go into healthcare administration or management usually get their bachelor's and master's. Most degrees in the healthcare field prepare students to diagnose and treat people needing assistance using strict guidelines.

Career Emergency Medical Tech Paramedic Healthcare Manager
Education Requirements Postsecondary non-degree award Associate degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Licensure required Licensure required Licensure may be required
Job Growth (2019-2029)* 6% 6% 32%
Median Annual Salary (2020)* $36,650 $36,650 $104,280

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Students who get their degree in healthcare and medical services have many job opportunities after graduation. Some career choices might include being an EMT or healthcare manager, both of which help people with medical problems. Below are overviews and descriptions of three possible careers for healthcare and medical services graduates.

Emergency Medical Technician

An emergency medical technician (EMT) provides basic medical care to the injured or sick outside a hospital setting, assists in the transportation of patients to a medical facility and, depending on the circumstances, works with medical personnel to ensure continued appropriate patient care once the patient is in a hospital. Many EMTs work for fire departments or ambulance companies and are 'first responders' to accidents, fires and other emergencies. EMTs evaluate a sick or injured person's condition and offer basic first aid or treatment. The level of treatment that an EMT can offer depends on his or her training as well as the laws in the state where the EMT works. The EMT may also prepare someone to be transported to a hospital and then travel with the patient, monitoring his or her condition along the way.

Paramedic

Like EMTs, paramedics also provide medical care to injured and sick people outside hospital settings, assist with bringing them to a facility and then transfer their care to doctors and nurses. Paramedics usually have more advanced training and a larger scope of practice than EMTs, though state laws differ in what they permit paramedics to do. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) a paramedic may be able to start an IV line for a patient, administer medications or even interpret an EKG reading (www.bls.gov).

Healthcare Manager

Healthcare managers and administrators ensure that healthcare practices and businesses operate efficiently. According to the BLS, the work of a healthcare manager varies according to his or her training, education and workplace. Healthcare managers may assume responsibility for a particular department within a hospital or care facility, overseeing business operations and establishing policies that affect both employees and patients. Some healthcare administrators also specialize in a specific area of healthcare administration, such as the management of patient information and files.

Career Prospects and Salary Information

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for EMTs and paramedics was $36,650 as of May 2020. The BLS also predicted 6% job growth for EMTs and paramedics between 2019 and 2029. Job prospects in these professions is projected to be favorable by the BLS due to the needs of an aging population that requires emergency services, as well as people leaving the professions for careers that offer more financial opportunity.

According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $104,280 as of May 2020. The BLS also projected a much faster than average increase of 32% in employment for medical and health services managers between 2019 and 2029.

A healthcare and medical services degree can facilitate more job opportunities in this field. One can become an EMT after passing training and examinations, though an associate's degree is needed to attain a paramedic position. At the bachelor's level, a healthcare manager's job is another viable option.

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