Healthcare Degrees that Can Pay Off

The burgeoning elderly population in the country continues to create a demand for different types of healthcare professionals-from the front-line warriors like doctors and nurses to the back-room strategists like health services managers and health information specialists.

What is perhaps not so well known is the exact extent of this demand. Not only are 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations related to healthcare, but the sector is also projected to generate more jobs than any other industry through 2018.1

In addition to ample job opportunities, those working in the healthcare field can enjoy excellent pay, benefits, and perks. In order to attract and retain talent, employers are often willing to pay more-than-competitive salaries to healthcare professionals.

And that's not all. A lot of healthcare professionals have the flexibility to choose their working hours, due to the 24/7 nature of their jobs. This can often allow workers to schedule their jobs around their lives, rather than the other way round.

If you think the benefits of working in this industry are attractive enough for you to consider giving it a serious shot, then consider some of the most lucrative healthcare degrees out there:

Healthcare Administration: A degree in healthcare administration is one of the top healthcare programs as far as job prospects and salaries are concerned. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a faster-than-average growth in the employment of health services managers through 2018, while the total pay these professionals can expect to receive ranges between $30,894 and $85,624, depending on experience and level of education.3 Although the standard credential for breaking into this sector is a master's degree, some entry-level jobs may be available to graduates of bachelor's programs in healthcare administration or related fields.

Nursing: Year after year, nursing continues to make the cut as one of the most lucrative healthcare degrees, and not without reason. According to a salary report published by payscale.com, the median starting pay of nursing graduates with a bachelor's degree is a whopping $52,700,2while graduate of pure science programs, such as zoology and biology, often start their careers at much lower salaries. While the highest salaries go to RNs who graduate from a bachelor's program, an associate's degree in nursing is an excellent way to start on the path to a long-term nursing career with the potential of a growing salary.

Health Science: This healthcare degree can lead to lucrative career paths that include healthcare management, health communication, and health education. This program is quite popular among practicing healthcare professionals who want to move into more senior or supervisory roles by completing an advanced college degree. In fact, some schools actually design their degrees specifically for students who already have a clinical background. Such “completion” degrees may be much shorter in duration as compared to a regular bachelor's program.

Medical Specialties: The medical specialties degree can be considered one of the most versatile healthcare degrees to earn. It is designed to help prepare students for a wide variety of jobs that come under the broad title of “allied health occupations.” A two-year associate's degree in medical specialties can qualify a graduate for rewarding healthcare careers in medical assistance and medical coding and billing, or as a laboratory technician, pharmacy technician, or radiologic technician.