Overview of Highest-Paying Bachelor's Degrees in Healthcare
If you're interested in having a career that positively impacts the well being of others, but multiple years of graduate study doesn't sound appealing to you, there are still some excellent options in the healthcare industry to pursue. By obtaining a bachelor's degree, you can work in a medical career that you love while still making a substantial amount of money. Depending on the area of study you choose, many programs offer valuable hands-on experiences that adequately prepare you to enter the workforce soon after graduation.
Some bachelor's degrees in healthcare prove to be more lucrative than others. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2016, the median annual salary for all occupations clocked in at $37,040. Let's explore five healthcare degree programs that can lead you to a career that earns substantially over the national median.
Admission Requirements for Healthcare Degree Programs
There are a number of different majors you can choose from once you've decided that you'd like to pursue a bachelor's degree in the healthcare industry. Whether you choose a business or clinical route, though, there are some admissions standards that are common throughout most institutions. First and foremost, most colleges require that you have a high school diploma or have passed a GED examination. Getting accepted into some schools can be competitive, so some programs require that applicants have at least a 2.5 GPA. Many admissions counselors also advise prospective students to anticipate sending in SAT/ACT scores as well as letters of recommendation and personal essays.
Best-Paying Healthcare Degree Majors
There are a ton of different concentrations you can choose to study when pursuing a degree in healthcare. If pursuing a career that brings in a decent amount of cash is important to you, here are five majors to consider.
By obtaining a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration, you open yourself up to the possibility of holding a management position in a variety of healthcare settings. Specific examples include hospitals, nursing homes, childcare establishments, and even insurance companies. Typical courses you'll encounter include healthcare law & ethics, human resources management, long-term care administration, and quality management. In 2016, the BLS found that the median salary for medical and health services managers was $96,540.
Occupational Health and Safety
Studying for a degree in occupational health and safety gives you the unique opportunity of discovering ways to keep employees safe, happy, and healthy while on the job. In your work, you'll evaluate and prevent potentially hazardous situations. This career path allows you to work in various settings, ranging from hospitals to pharmaceutical laboratories. If you plan on obtaining a degree in this field, expect to encounter classes like OSHA regulations, industrial hygiene, and health and safety program management. In 2016, the BLS reported that the national median pay for occupational health and safety specialists and technicians was $66,820.
While it's true that you can become a registered nurse with just an associate's degree, having a bachelor's degree in this field opens you up to more potential job opportunities. Most bachelor's degree programs use a combination of classroom, lab, and clinical settings to instruct students. Typical classes that are taken include pharmacology, healthcare assessment, community health, and psychiatric care. The BLS has projected that the nursing industry will grow by 15% from 2016-26. Furthermore, as of 2016, the national median pay for this career was $68,450.
Respiratory therapists work hands-on with patients to help overcome breathing issues. On a daily basis, these therapists commonly treat conditions such as asthma or heart failure by using advanced technological machinery. Some classes that are often found in curricula for this major include pharmacology, immunology, and a variety of clinical coursework. In 2016, the median pay for respiratory therapists was $58,670, according to the BLS.
If spending your day studying specimens in a lab sounds appealing to you, majoring in microbiology is a possible option. Microbiologists evaluate microorganisms to determine infectious diseases in humans and animals and detect abnormalities in clinical specimens. Courses heavily focus on chemistry and biology. Some specific examples include genetics lab, immunology, biotechnology, and biology of living systems. According to the BLS, as of 2016, the median microbiologist salary was $66,850.
How to Choose a Healthcare Degree Program
It's important to consider your interests when determining which degree program is the right fit for you. While earning a high salary might be attractive, it's a good idea to make sure you're selecting a career that you'll enjoy on a day-to-day basis. It's important to make sure that the institution you are selecting is accredited. This will help you find employment upon graduation. Additionally, whether your degree is in a clinical setting or not, programs that offer real-world experience can be very beneficial.