7 Healthcare Degrees You Can Earn Online
There are a variety of career opportunities in the healthcare industry. Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing sectors for employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 If you’re interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, here are a few degrees you can earn online, allowing you to balance school with everyday life:
1. Health Information Management (HIM)
HIM involves working heavily with data and digital technologies to help healthcare organizations code, digitize, create and monitor electronic patient records.
- Skills Needed: Those in the HIM field must have sharp technical skills as well as an analytical mindset, communication skills, leadership skills and keen attention to detail.
- Degree Pathways: Earn your associate of applied science in just 20 months, or work toward your bachelor of science, which can be completed in as little as 36 months and is the best chance for career advancement.
- Career Options: With a degree in HIM, you can be a medical records technician, medical and health services manager, HIM consultant, patient information coordinator, HIM director and more.
2. Healthcare Administration
If you prefer a day-to-day operations role, a career in healthcare administration may be a path to consider. Healthcare administration involves handling staffing, scheduling, patient relations and budgeting.
- Skills Needed: In addition to critical thinking and problem-solving skills, you should also be able to communicate well, be great at multi-tasking and be comfortable working with computers.
- Degree Pathways: While an associate’s degree can help you land an entry-level administrative position, many jobs in this field require a bachelor’s degree, which can take as little as 36 months to earn, or a master’s degree, which can take 12 months.
- Career Options: Job titles in healthcare administration could include a medical secretary, administrative coordinator, administrative support specialist, patient service representative and operations assistant.
3. Healthcare Management
While healthcare management and healthcare administration share certain similarities, the management side focuses more on leadership and business. Those in this field are involved with the planning and direction of health services and work closely with medical staff.
- Skills Needed: Healthcare management requires great people and communication skills, as well as an ability to lead others and make decisions.
- Degree Pathways: Many choose to pursue a bachelor’s of science in Healthcare Management after earning a diploma or associate program. If you’re interested in advancing your education and career, you can work toward your MBA or pursue certifications in areas such as project management and business management.
- Career Options: You could land a job as a physical practice manager, healthcare administrator, healthcare department manager or clinical manager.
4. Medical Assisting
The responsibilities of a medical assistant vary day-to-day but could include scheduling appointments, voicing patient concerns to physicians, setting up exam rooms, taking blood pressure and other vitals and gathering basic patient information.
- Skills Needed: Attention to detail is very important as is the ability to stay organized and multi-task. It’s also crucial to have compassion for others to help patients feel comfortable and calm.
- Degree Pathways: Students can earn their degree or diploma in medical assisting between 10-20 months. An associate’s degree in medical assisting services can take between 16-20 months, while a diploma can take 10-12. Many students also go on to become certified as a Registered Medical Assistant or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, which can open more job opportunities.
- Career Options: Medical assistants can work in outpatient care centers, chiropractor’s offices, hospitals, physician offices and more. Medical assisting is usually a starting point that can lead to other related career paths which include healthcare management and nursing.
5. Medical Billing
Medical billing professionals are responsible for processing and following insurance claims and sending information to patients, doctors and insurance companies.
- Skills Needed: Attention to detail is extremely important in this role, as skill in communication, problem-solving and technical competency also are.
- Degree Pathways: A medical billing diploma is the fastest pathway to entering the job market, taking as little as 12 months. You can also work toward an associate degree, which can take as few as 20 months.
- Career Options: Potential job titles in medical billing include medical billing specialist, medical insurance representative or insurance specialist.
6. Medical Coding
Otherwise known as health information technicians, medical coders are responsible for coding and digitizing patient records. They work in hospitals, insurance offices, assisted living facilities and more.
- Skills Needed: As a medical coder, you should be a quick learner and be comfortable working with computer software programs. It’s also important to be detail-oriented and have great communication skills.
- Degree Pathways: Earn your associate degree in 16 months to be prepared for both inpatient and outpatient coding. Or you can get your diploma in medical coding in 12 months and be prepared for an entry-level position.
- Career Options: Job titles in medical coding could include medical coding specialists, medical records clerk or medical records coordinator.
7. Medical Office Administration
With a career in medical office administration, you’ll be responsible for clerical duties like answering phones, organizing patient records, bookkeeping and accounting, and scheduling appointments.
- Skills Needed: Communication, organizational and interpersonal skills are important, as well as a familiarity with technology and administrative skills such as email etiquette.
- Degree Pathways: It’s not always required to have a degree to get a job in the field. However, those with an associate degree or diploma have the best chance of employment over those with no formal training.
- Career Options: A degree in medical office administration can help you land a job as a medical clerk, medical administrative assistant, admitting clerk, medical secretary and more.
Ready to get started? Learn more about Herzing University’s healthcare programs and begin building your career today!