Schools for Aspiring Hospice Care Professionals: How to Choose

Dec 07, 2019

Schools with hospice care programs teach students medical assisting, hospital administration, social work, and nursing. Aspiring hospice care professionals usually obtain bachelor's degrees in other medical fields. The following considerations should be kept in mind for students considering hospice care programs.

To become a hospice care professional, you will first need to earn an undergrad or graduate degree in the medical or social work field. There are plenty of program options you can look into depending on the type of university you want to attend.

Schools Offering Hospice Care Programs

The table below provides brief information about the universities that offer various degrees in programs related to hospice care. Schools listed also highlight location, institution type, and tuition fees.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $55,584 (undergrad); $38,630 (grad)
Boise State University Boise, ID 4-year, Public Master's $9,194 (grad)
Salisbury University Salisbury, MD 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $9,824 (undergrad); $10,458 (grad)
University of New England Biddeford, ME 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $37,620 (undergrad); $20,524 (grad)
Wayne State University Detroit, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $13,097 (undergrad); $17,661 (grad)
St. Luke's-School of Nursing Bethlehem, PA 4-year, Public Associate's $11,992 (undergrad)
Ursuline College Pepper Pike, OH 4-year, Private Master's $20,804 (grad)
Madonna University Livonia, MI 4-year, Private Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's $21,900 (undergrad)
George Washington University Washington, D.C. 4-year, Private Fellowship/Training N/A
Daemen College Amherst, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $28,580 (undergrad)

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Programs focused specifically on hospice care are rarely available, but students can instead earn an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in nursing, medical assisting, or social work. Here is a summary of important considerations when choosing a school:

  • Many degree programs in social work or hospital administration prepare students for work managing long-term care facilities and home health care organizations.
  • Associate's degree programs in nursing prepare students to take the licensure exam to become a registered nurse (RN) in hospice care, and can be options for students who want explore the field of medicine before committing to a 4-year program.
  • Medical assisting programs prepare professionals to assist physicians and nurses with hospice patients and usually include a required externship that can give students practical experience in the field.
  • Some schools offer evening and weekend medical assisting and nursing classes as well as online nursing programs.

Associate's Degree in Medical Assisting

Medical assisting programs provide hospice care workers with the knowledge and clinical skills to gain entry-level positions assisting patients and healthcare professionals. Students must complete clinical laboratory work, as well as an internship.

Associate's Degree in Nursing

Aspiring hospice care professionals can complete 2-year programs, such as an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). Graduates of these programs can obtain entry-level jobs as hospice care nurses or use their credits toward a bachelor's degree. Upon completion of an RN program, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination - Registered Nurse to become a licensed RN.

Bachelor of Social Work

Hospice care professionals without medical training may complete a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) with a concentration in hospice and palliative studies. Within this degree program, students will study the administrative and social need of hospice patients and families.

Master's Degree in Hospice Care

Graduate programs in hospice care, such as a Master of Science in Hospice and Palliative Care, are very rare; therefore, many students earn a related degree such as a Master of Arts in Social Work or a Master of Science in Nursing. Master's degree programs usually take two years to complete, but some schools allow students to attend part-time for three years. Master's degree programs are designed for professionals who want to advance to managerial positions, and they usually require an internship or other work experience.

Aspiring hospice care professionals will need to decide which degree path they would like to pursue in this industry - an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in nursing, health care administration or social work. Location plays an important role in school choice, but students will also want to consider the tuition rates.

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