Health Care Degrees

The Advantages To Earning A Health Care or Nursing Degree

Earning a health care or nursing degree provides students with the knowledge and qualifications to work within the expanding health care system. As health care evolves, technology advances, and population expands and ages, the demand for professional nurses is expected to increase at a faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations. Individuals interested in health care careers focused upon nursing practices, the health care system, and patient care will find numerous, lucrative, and stable employment opportunities within an increasing number of nursing positions.

Many students manage job and family responsibilities while increasing knowledge through educational programs. Most colleges and universities have not only recognized the growing demand to extend instruction beyond traditional, on campus settings but have also developed innovative online programs in response. Most online programs feature the same educational experiences, instruction, and information as their traditional brick and mortar counterparts. Online classes offer students added benefits of a more personalized educational experience, increased flexibility in course scheduling, and 24 hour access to course materials. Online courses also feature smaller class sizes, with groups of 25 students or less, with increased interactions between professors and other students via one on one Internet chats. Online degree programs are often one of the most convenient and affordable means of expanding the educational basis necessary for future career success.

What Students Learn Within A Health Care or Nursing Degree Program

Students enrolled within nursing degree programs gain a tremendous understanding of the discipline of nursing and the health care system. Nursing degree programs combine the theoretic aspects of nursing, the technical knowledge of the health care field, and the ability to learn fundamental nursing skills necessary for employment. Nurses are generally required to complete a minimum of an associate’s degree to advance to National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX) required for licensure as determined by state regulations. Conversely, most employers prefer candidates with a minimum of a bachelor degree to qualify for entry level employment upon completing licensing requirements.

Many students begin studies at an associate level and go on to higher degree programs. Associate degree courses in nursing offer students the basic skills and knowledge necessary for entry level careers as nurse or medical assistants. Courses at an associate level generally include: nursing fundamentals, elementary nursing, practical nursing program, nursing skills, nursing the adult, nursing pharmacology, nutrition for health care, introduction to clinical practice, interpersonal relations, written communication, communication, advanced composition, introduction to anatomy and physiology, English, general anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology, human development, nursing health alterations, maternall-chiild nursing, nursing the mentally ill, nursing health promotions, nursing clinical care across lifespan, introduction to clinical care management, nursing the adult, nursing ethics and law, effective speaking, foundation of speech communication, oral and intrapersonal communication, advanced anatomy and physiology, introduction to psychology, complex health alterations, advanced nursing skills, introduction to microbiology, general microbiology, psychology of human relations, social psychology, psychology of personal adjustment, management and professional nursing concepts, contemporary American society, introduction to sociology, and social problems. Graduates from associate degree programs generally complete licensing requirements and advance to employment or higher degree programs.

Bachelor degree programs offer students an expanded understanding and increased knowledge of the nursing profession and health care system. Courses at a bachelor level include: issues and trends in nursing, the context of health care delivery, information management in nursing and health care, introduction to chemistry, pathopharmacology, chemical principles, experimental chemistry, research and scholarship for evidence based practice, health assessment, public and global health, topics in clinical nursing, introductory principles of nutrition, human anatomy and physiology, introduction to human development and family studies, elementary microbiology, psychology, social problems, elementary statistics, introduction to wellness, introduction to illness, nursing process, nursing care of client through the adult life span requiring medical intervention, nursing care of children and adolescents, nursing care of young adults, nursing care of the elderly, mental health nursing, introduction to pharmacological concepts, introduction to nursing research, health assessment, introduction to nursing informatics, transition and the professional nursing role, family and community health concepts, and family, health concepts for adults with complex health care needs, integrated concepts in nursing practices, nursing practicum, nursing in specialized settings, and family, community, and population based care. Most graduates who complete bachelor degree programs go on to licensing procedures and gain employment as nurses. Some graduates advance to master’s degree programs necessary for administrative positions within health care facilities.

Master’s degree programs provide students with specialized training and knowledge necessary for advancing career and educational goals. Most master’s degree courses include: organization and administration for the nurse manager, data management for nurse managers, contemporary delivery of health care, theoretical foundations for advanced nursing, evidence based practice, professional relationships in advanced nursing roles, nursing ethics, pathophysiology, curriculum development, teaching and learning strategies, assessment of student learning and evaluation, nursing leadership development, information and quality management, communication and relationship management, financial aspects of health care management, organization and administration for the nurse manger, data management for nurse managers, nurse management of human resources, seminar for nurse managers, and ethical challenges in health care informatics. Graduates who complete master’s degrees and licensing requirements often advance to supervisory positions within health care organizations or go on to doctoral degree programs.

Doctoral degrees provide students with the knowledge necessary to be experts in the field of nursing. Doctoral degree programs include specialized courses in research and theories necessary to advance to positions as instructors within research or university settings. Course at a doctoral level include: foundations of inquiry for health research, measurement in health research, measurement in health research, issues in scholarship, multivariate analysis statistics, health police, analysis of nursing phenomena, quantitative methods in health research, advanced quantitative research, practicum in nursing research, foundations of inquiry for health research, science of nursing, advanced statistics, theories and research in chronic illness, and management of health data.

Popular Majors For Nursing Degree Students

Students within nursing degree programs generally choose to complete studies within three degree fields including: associate degree programs, bachelor degree programs, and certification programs. Some students begin studies in one year associate degree programs within Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) programs and advance to two year Registered Nurse (RN) or Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) programs. Students generally choose to begin studies within four year Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) or Registered Nurse (RN) programs to gain employment with greater responsibilities and higher salaries. Several students choose to advance studies within Masters of Nursing (MSN) programs, Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) programs to increase specialized knowledge for administrative positions. Graduates interested in completing studies and qualifying as experts in the field participate in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs.

Many students supplement their degree with specialized training in one or several certification programs. Certification programs include: ambulatory care nursing advanced practice nursing, bun nursing, camp nursing, cardiac nursing, cardiac catheter laboratory nursing, case management, community health nursing, correctional nursing, critical care nursing, emergency nursing, environment health nursing, faith community nursing, flight nursing, forensic nursing, gastroenterology nursing, genetics nursing, health visiting, home health nursing, Hospice nursing, hyperbaric nursing, immunology and allergy nursing, intravenous therapy nursing, infection control nursing infectious disease nursing, legal nursing, maternal-child nursing, medical-surgical nursing military and uniformed services nursing, neonatal nursing, neurosurgical nursing, nursing informatics, nursing management, obstetrical nursing, occupational health nursing, oncology nursing, orthopedic nursing, ostomy nursing, palliative care nursing, pediatric nursing, perianesthesia nursing, perioperative nursing, private duty nursing, psychiatric or mental health nursing, public health nursing, pulmonary nursing, quality improvement, radiology nursing, rehabilitation nursing, renal nursing, school nursing, sub-acute nursing, substance abuse nursing, surgical nursing telenursing, telephone triage nursing, transplantation nursing, trauma nursing, urology nursing, utilization management, and wound care.

Prospective Jobs For Nursing Degree Graduates

Nursing degree graduates receive the educational basis necessary for a variety of employment options. Prospective jobs for graduates with nursing degrees vary tremendously and are based upon educational, organizational, and geographic factors. Graduates with advanced degrees who complete specialized training and gain work experience often find enhanced employability within the health care system. Graduates who complete associate’s degrees in nursing programs generally work as medical assistants, nurse’s aides, or licensed practical nurses. Graduates with bachelor level nursing degrees often work as registered nurses and may qualify for supervisory positions within health care facilities and other organizations. Graduates with master’s degrees generally begin employment within administrative or supervisory positions or work as instructors within vocational schools to advance to jobs with greater responsibilities and higher salaries within public or private health care organizations. Graduates with doctoral degrees qualify as experts within the field of nursing. Many work as top executives, researchers, or instructors within health care facilities and colleges or universities.

Salary Range For Nursing Degree Graduates

Nursing degree graduates have varied earnings based upon education level, area/s of specialty, geographic location, organization of employment, and related work experience. As with most occupations, students who complete advanced degrees and increase skills through specialized training and continuing educ/ation programs generally have higher earnings than those with less education and experience. Additionally, graduates employed within urban locations generally have higher earnings than graduates employed within rural areas. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports earnings for registered nurses range from $51,640 to $76,570 annually. Most employers offer nurses additional benefits including reimbursement for continuing education, performance based incentives, flexible work schedules, and childcare.

Graduates with associate’s degrees who work as nurses aides or medical assistants generally earn $23,700 to $33,050 annually. Graduates with bachelor degrees employed within hospitals generally earn $63,880 annually. Nurses employed within physician’s’ offices earn $59,210 annually. Nurses who work within home health care services generally earn $58,740 annually. Graduates employed within nursing care facilities earn $57,060 annually. Graduates with master’s degrees who work as medical supervisors within hospitals, phsician’s offices, home health care services, or nursing care facilities generally earn $62,170 to $104,120 annually. Graduates with doctoral degrees who work as instructors within universities, or as top executives within health care facilities, generally earn $67,717 to $121,800 annually.

Career Outlook and Advancement Opportunities For Nursing Degree Graduates

Nursing graduates may expect ample job opportunities within public or private health care organizations. Population growth and aging, technological changes, medical advances, and an increasing demand for quality and preventative health care will contribute to the increasing demand for qualified nursing professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts job growth in the field of nursing to increase by 22 percent through 2018 at a much faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations. Graduates who obtain their RN may find increased employability as health care facilities have difficulty attracting or retaining adequate staff. Additionally, as many experienced nurses leave the profession or retire, graduates will find an increasing number of available job opportunities.

Employment growth for nursing positions within hospitals is expected to increase at a much slower rate in comparison to employment growth within physician’s offices, nursing care facilities, and home health care services. As with most occupations, graduates who continue studies, gain work experience, and expand skills. Most nurses begin employment within hospitals and advance to positions with greater responsibilities upon acquiring experience and displaying good performance. Many nurses within management positions advance from assistant manger/head nurse positions to senior level administrative positions upon gaining work experience and the necessary educational background. Other nurses specialize training and advance to clinical nurse specialist positions providing direct patient care and consultations. Upon gaining related expertise, experience, and education, many nurses advance to the business aspect of health care within insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufactuers, manage care organizations, larger hospitals, consulting businesses, policy development organizations, or marketing or research companies.

List of Health Care Degree Options

All college reviews, best program rankings and degree information on this website are ©