Meeting the Demand with a Master’s
The health care industry is experiencing rapid and unprecedented growth. As baby boomers enter their sunset years, their need for medical care grows. This increase in patient numbers has resulted in the expansion of demand not only for doctors, nurses, and other clinicians, but also for administrators and caseworkers among others, who are also vital to meeting and exceeding patient needs.
Colleges and universities are responding to the demand by creating degree programs that educate the next wave of professionals who will shape health care for generations to come. In addition to clinical fields, there are also programs that provide a big-picture, interdisciplinary view of the industry. Health Science departments have emerged to produce workers who are focused on a specific area of health care while having knowledge of the broader context of the entire industry.
These health science departments offer degree programs in a number of specialties, from associate’s level and undergraduate degrees such as a bachelor’s to post-graduate. Taking your education to the next level with a Master of Health Science (MHS) is likely to give your career, and your salary, a huge boost.
Why Get a Master’s in Health Science?
Any advance in education should serve you well. Graduate degrees always look great on a resume, but why should you specifically pursue a graduate-level degree in health science? The chief reason is to advance your knowledge of the field and to delve deep into a specialty area. For instance, issues related to health policy, education, administration, and leadership are broadened when you enter a graduate program.
Almost every MHS program covers health policy as part of its core curriculum, and often in a concentration. You will also learn at least a working knowledge of epidemiology, disease control, and public health. Even you choose to focus your energy on a medical concentration, this background in policy will give you the big-picture view you’ll need to put your focused work into context.
MHS degree holders also learn a great deal about becoming leaders in their field. Management is full of graduate-level professionals who are focused solely on health care and who are able to lead others in creating more efficient practices. Even hospitals with the very best doctors and nurses rely on top-notch administration to keep the systems running smoothly. Administrators with a background in health science know how to best utilize medical resources to the betterment of all the patients and staff.
Health educators serve their communities by understanding how to improve lifestyles and access health care resources to implement change. This knowledge can help improve the overall health of communities, resulting in ever more efficient businesses, happier families, and a productive future for everyone. The MHS degree will bolster your knowledge base as well as help you improve your approach to putting the theoretical concepts you’ve learned into action.
With high-level knowledge comes a senior level of responsibility and ultimately, better compensation. These days, it can be difficult to land an entry-level job with an undergraduate degree, but a graduate level education will earn you the esteem you want from an employer. As the health care industry becomes more and more complex and technology-driven, it now needs trained specialists who can tackle modern problems with find solutions that last for the long term. This sort of in-depth specializing comes with a graduate degree.
Make sure, if you’re considering an online MHS program, to check for accreditation for your program by an organization such as CAHME, or one of the regional accrediting agencies nationally. By choosing an accredited program you’ll be able to apply for federal financial aid, and will make sure your credits will transfer if you decide to go on and get a doctorate, or finish your master’s at another school.
There are many different specializations for the Master of Health Science degree. The field is inherently interdisciplinary and some schools offer MHS degrees inside of specific medical specialties, such as oncology, environmental health, or epidemiology. Other programs offer MHS degrees with more of a policy approach. Still others will provide specialties in risk management or law. Here is a comprehensive list to introduce the spectrum of concentrations possible under an MHS:
Specialties with a Master’s
Many of these specialties are quite specific and rather medical in scope. In fact, many future doctors will attain an MHS in their area of specialization in order to gain a broader view of the field. For this reason it is vital to determine your goals for your MHS and then research schools accordingly to ensure that you are applying to the program that best suits your needs.
Even within many of the medically focused specializations, a MHS degree will allow you to study broader issues such as policy and trends in the overall field. This approach results in well-rounded health care professionals who can work in a environments that range from clinical to political. If you are considering doing work in a health care consultancy, this level of knowledge might be exactly what you are looking for.
Since each MHS is so unique, there are a multitude of paths for degree holders. You might choose to pursue an MD or combine your knowledge of health with a public policy degree to work in politics that guide health policy. Some decide to use their knowledge to teach others in an academic or research environment. A few general career paths are as follows:
A career in public health might involve policy work, disease control, epidemiology, healthcare coordinator or community health. Your career might take you to consultancy firms, hospital boardrooms or government at the state or federal level.
This field is the nexus where healthcare meets information technology. You will help streamline procedures as well as working to protect the databases from outside intrusion. This is a great route if you are an IT professional who wishes to find a focus within the healthcare industry that is indispensable to everyone, including the patients who depend on maximum efficiency.
People need to learn new ways to get healthy and stay healthy. Health educators work with a wide range of populations, teaching them how to better care for themselves and how to access healthcare resources. Depending on the environment you choose to work in, you might be a standard classroom teacher, imparting vital knowledge, or you might take a more innovative approach and create community art happenings that inspire people beyond the classroom.
Health Service Manager
In this role, you will utilize your knowledge of health care policies and practices to create a more efficient workflow that best serves the professionals and the patients. You might find yourself managing a small clinic, private practice, or a larger hospital department.
You can take your MHS and pursue an M.D. degree. Your broader knowledge will inform your practice in eye-opening ways. You might choose an MHS that focuses on a particular medical specialty, such as oncology, but you might choose one with less of a medical focus, such as environmental health.
Health Science Writer
As a health science writer you will translate technical, medical information for use by the general public. You may prepare documents such as press releases, newspaper articles, textbooks or pamphlets, among other publications.
Health Science Librarian
In this role, you will support the learning and development of nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals. Your MHS background will help you determine the best periodicals and books to stock for your library’s typical user.
Your knowledge of epidemiology will come in handy as you study disease outbreaks on a large and small scale. If, for instance, there is a major flu outbreak in your region, you can help mobilize resources to help stem the problem. Your work will be vital in improving the overall health of the community.
Your knowledge of anatomy and disease will work alongside your artistic ability to create images, models, and other designs for use in films, textbooks, and a wide range of educational media.
An MHS will help you succeed as an administrator in your clinic, hospital, or long-term care facility. You might use your degree to craft a career at either the executive, associate or financial level. Many administrators use their MHS degrees in conjunction with a background in management, finance, marketing, or even computer science.
With a master’s degree in health science, you will be on the way to a fulfilling career that will help benefit hundreds, or even thousands, of patients and professionals. Start advancing your career by investigating the best MHS program for you today.