- "Medical Assistants," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed April 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm
- "Registered Nurses," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed April 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
- "Physical Therapists," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed April 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm
What do Health Majors study?
Health and medical science majors enjoy a wealth of career opportunities, from surgery to healthcare administration. Medical science majors generally focus on the pre-professional coursework that will form the foundation for their later work in graduate or professional schools. On the other hand, health science majors study the role of science in medical investigations, especially in areas like diagnostics and rehabilitation. Health and medical sciences majors are qualified for careers in hospitals, in health agencies, or in major pharmaceutical companies, just to name a few.
What Jobs Are Hot in Health and Medical Sciences?
Nurse -- Many mid-life career changers have flocked to the nursing profession for two major reasons. First, the current shortage of qualified nurses provides job seekers with extraordinary control over their schedule and commute. Second, despite potentially high levels of stress and fatigue on the job, many nurses report a significantly high degree of professional satisfaction, especially when compared with typical office or retail jobs.
Medical Assistant -- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts medical assistants will be one of the fastest growing occupations from 2012 to 2022, with an expected 29 percent increase in available jobs. With continual changes to insurance procedures and malpractice insurance, many doctors will rely much more heavily on medical assistants to provide excellent patient care in busy practices. And as doctors delegate more and more tasks to medical assistants, today's health and medical science majors can expect a high degree of job security and satisfaction in these roles, which often provide significant tuition reimbursement and professional development benefits.
Physical Therapist -- As Americans live longer and recover more quickly from major surgeries, the demand for qualified, specialist therapists should expand even more in the next ten years. With a growing elderly population unaccustomed to losing their mobility, physical therapists will enjoy tremendous demand in the coming decades.
Experienced therapists can choose whether to work in a hospital setting, in a private practice, or even in client homes. Physical therapists and aides can expect a strong amount of schedule flexibility and the potential for higher than average financial rewards.
Pharmaceutical Representatives -- Global drug companies invent new solutions to health problems at a dizzying pace. To inform health professionals around the country about recent breakthroughs in medicine, pharmaceutical companies hire thousands of local representatives who can speak one-on-one with doctors and other caregivers about the benefits of new prescription drugs.
Health and medical science majors who share a love of sales and networking can launch rewarding careers that offer travel benefits, competitive salaries, and the opportunity to share exciting breakthroughs that can ultimately save lives.
Why Should You Consider a College Major in Health and Medical Sciences?
Health and medical sciences majors enjoy some of the rosiest career prospects among all students, according to the BLS. Not only will today's graduates replace aging baby boomers in the job market, but the number of baby boomers living longer and requiring long-term medical care foreshadows a demand for workers that few employers can adequately meet. Therefore, expect unprecedented battles for talent in the next few decades, marked by rising salaries, expanding job perks, and improved working conditions.
Even in today's market, employer demand for health and medical sciences majors has caused steady salary increases for graduates.
So many institutions are facing shortages that many graduates enjoy unprecedented job mobility and flexibility, whether they work in a private practice or in a major medical facility.
A recent search of a major job listings service identified nearly 3,000 unfilled positions for nurses in the Boston area alone. The same search shows the need for over 2,500 physicians' assistants and 1,500 therapists and researchers. Multiply these numbers across the entire country and you quickly understand the level of job security and high demand that today's health and medical sciences majors will enjoy throughout their careers.
Online Degrees in Medical and Health Sciences
It sounds counterintuitive, but thanks to advanced technologies, more and more healthcare students are able to earn their degrees partially or entirely online, depending on their specialties. Physicians and nurses, of course, must go through hands-on training, but aspiring healthcare administrators, psychologists, public health specialists and even nurse administrators have the option to study online. Distance education makes training possible for students who live in remote areas, far from teaching hospitals or career colleges, and those who must continue to work part- or full-time while they study.
Online degrees have become particularly popular for healthcare managers, whose work does not involve direct clinical contact, and registered nurses who have completed hands-on training and want to advance to managerial roles with a BSN or MSN. In some cases, even clinical degrees may be earned through hybrid programs, in which the student learns theory online and arranges for physical experience locally.
What Kinds of Candidates Make the Best Health and Medical Sciences Majors?
Because balanced, bright, and considerate individuals make the best health and medical sciences majors, admissions officers search for these positive traits and life experiences among their applicants:
- Solid high school grade point averages
- Strong scores on standardized tests like the SAT
- A positive, upbeat personality
- Volunteer experience in a hospital or other health care setting
- Community involvement
- Demonstrated problem-solving skills
Although the ability to absorb and apply complex medical theory will come in handy, most health and medical sciences programs emphasize the need for a graduate to enjoy life as a well-rounded individual. The quality of healthcare depends on filling vacant positions with smart people who possess a good bedside manner. Because consumers gain more control over their health care choices every year, strong patient service can directly impact whether a graduate's employer thrives or suffers over the years to come.