Program participants typically include medical professionals, researchers, healthcare administrators and students. Students review public health policies, discuss ethical theories and analyze documented cases and decisions. Some certificate programs have a significant religious component for clergy and other professionals employed by religious healthcare organizations; this type of program is typically offered by schools affiliated with a specific faith.
Online courses are offered.
Many schools will transfer credit hours earned in certificate programs to bachelor's and master's degree programs. Programs cover topics ranging from stem cell research and organ transplants to genetic testing and life support. Certificate program coursework often includes:
- Legal issues in biomedical ethics
- The American legal system and healthcare
- Fundamental ethics of healthcare
- Moral reasoning in bioethics and biotechnology
- Ethics and reproductive healthcare
- Bioethics in clinical care
Popular Career Options
While some healthcare professionals specialize in the field of ethics consulting, an understanding of bioethics may be beneficial in a variety of careers, including:
- Hospital management
- Medical research
- Health insurance
- Patient care
- Healthcare law
Salary and Job Outlook
Medical and health services managers, for example, are expected to experience a 18% increase in jobs from 2018 to 2028, largely due to the growth and increased complexity of medical group practices, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). As of 2019, the median annual income for medical and health service managers was $100,980. Another profession of note would be biochemists and biophysicists, who bring in a median of $94,490 per year and can expect 6% job growth over the 2018-2028 decade.
Continuing Education Information
Graduate programs in bioethics include master's and doctoral degrees. Some schools also offer dual graduate degrees, where students may earn a J.D. in law and a master's degree in bioethics at the same time. Credits earned in graduate level bioethics certificate programs can often be applied toward the completion of a bioethics master's degree.
Professional Certification and Associations
While there is no professional certification option in the field of bioethics or healthcare ethics consultation (HCEC), consultants often join professional organizations, such as the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) (www.asbh.org). The ASBH website provides information about bioethics core competencies, research and academic development to its members.
With career options spanning medical research, healthcare law and clergy, interested individuals can take a bioethics certification program.