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7 healthcare degrees guaranteed to make you stand out

Augusta University's healthcare degrees

Across the country, healthcare professionals are in more demand now than ever before. If you’re looking for a medical profession that’s a little less mainstream, consider these seven in-demand healthcare career options:

  1. Medical Illustration

Medical illustrators work closely with doctors, surgeons and teachers to tell the story of the human body through art. It’s a perfect career choice for creatives looking for something more from their art. This fascinating and unique profession involves not only a love of art but an affinity for science as well.

“Our graduates become master storytellers with the ability to illustrate and animate scientific and medical subjects,” says Amanda Behr, director of the Graduate Medical Illustration Program. “So many of today’s advances in scientific research cannot be seen with the naked eye. Medical illustrators understand how to communicate science visually for increased understanding of complex subjects.”

Medical illustrators may illustrate innovative surgical procedures for medical journals, design multimedia websites, produce 3D animated films of cellular processes, or handcraft prosthetic appliances. Many illustrators are employed by medical schools, medical centers, hospitals, specialty clinics, ad agencies, publishers, and many more types of companies.

DYK? The Augusta University Medical Illustration Graduate Program is only one of four in the United States. 

  1. DMD/MBA

The Doctor of Dental Medicine-Master of Business Administration program (DMD/MBA for short) is just that: A DMD and MBA degree that you earn together. A bit of a mouthful but worth it.

The DMD/MBA program prepares dentists for entrepreneurial success in owning a dental practice while also providing the knowledge needed to conduct research, manage practice groups, influence public policy, launch dental healthcare and medical device entrepreneurial ventures and reduce costs to their patients.

Many graduates of the DMD/MBA program are successful with starting their own dental practices; however, others have pursued leadership opportunities in a variety of organizations and fields such as research, academia, consulting, medicine, pharmaceutical, product and device manufacturing, biotechnology, insurance, and healthcare administration.

  1. MD/MBA

Going to medical school instead? The need for management skills for physicians is becoming more apparent. Many physicians are choosing to pair their MD with an MBA, a degree very similar to the DMD/MBA, and enrollment in MD to MBA pipeline programs is growing.

Adding an MBA to an MD is useful for people who want to use their medical degrees for something other than direct patient care and/or want to improve patient care through good management of the healthcare system. Having strong medical and business knowledge will better prepare physicians to lead teams, streamline processes, challenge the status quo, and positively impact the bottom line.

Graduates from MD/MBA programs can become practicing clinicians in addition to serving in leadership roles in careers like consulting, banking, life sciences, administration, or policy. Other areas include health system management and operations, financial management and planning, quality improvement, informatics, technology transfer, global strategy and business development, research enterprise management, clinical service enterprise management, and supply chain management.

  1. Clinical Social Worker

There’s more to caring for patients than taking vital signs and/or prescribing medication. In the healthcare field, no one works harder to treat individuals the way they need to be treated than Clinical Social Workers (CSWs). What makes Clinical Social Workers special, according to Dr. Jessica Ziembroski, director of Augusta University’s Bachelor of Social Work program, is that “they look at the entire picture, looking at the wider context in which a person lives to better understand and then treat them.”

CSWs also work from a social justice perspective, meaning they have a special commitment to serve disenfranchised and marginalized populations.

The benefit of being a clinical social worker is that you receive much of the same training as a psychologist or counselor, but have a different focus on the strengths as a person rather than their deficits or diagnoses. Clinical social workers work in many venues, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, private practice, and skilled nursing facilities at assisted-living facilities.

  1. Health Information Administrator

In today’s economy, information is a valuable resource. Of all the information we produce, none is more valuable— or more coveted by hackers—  than healthcare information. In fact, healthcare information is so valuable that identity thieves trading on the dark web can earn up to five times as much money as they’d get for selling credit card numbers.

In turn, this creates a high demand for Health Information Administrators (HIA), the first line of defense against outside intruders. As clinical data specialists or information security managers, their job is to manage and defend the data that makes effective healthcare possible. They might not wear white coats or write prescriptions, but HIAs are as much a part of modern healthcare organizations as needles and stethoscopes and will continue to become more and more important as technology grows more and more complex.

There is an increasing need for credentialed professionals due to the rapid and ongoing advances in health information technology and constantly evolving trends in healthcare delivery. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of available HIA jobs will increase by 22% by 2022.

The HIA career is very diverse. The types of job roles are wide and varied as well as the types of facilities and corporations where HIA professionals work. Some job titles held by graduates include Director/Manager of Health Information Management, Electronic Health Record (EHR) Specialist, Healthcare Data Analyst, Clinical Billing Analyst, EHR Implementation Analyst, Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialist, and Privacy and Security Officer.

HIA professionals primarily serve the healthcare industry in facilities where patient data or health information is collected and stored ranging from medical centers to software companies.

DYK? At Augusta University your career begins with a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration. Upon degree completion, the Registered Health Information Administrator credentialing exam is taken. Advanced degrees and specialty credentials are not required but are sought by many HIA professionals to further career progression. Augusta provides the only CAHIIM accredited bachelor degree program in the state of Georgia. The program can be taken on campus or online.

  1. Executive Nurse Leader

For nurses looking to take their career to the executive level, there’s no better option than the Doctor of Nursing Practice-Nurse Executive Program (DNP-NEP). Designed exclusively for chief nursing officers, vice presidents of nursing, or other executive or soon-to-be executive-level nurses, the DNP-NEP provides nursing professionals the opportunity to learn healthcare management best practices without sacrificing the principles of nursing and affect changes in procedures, policy, and culture.

This degree is ideal for someone interested in health policy and business, while still using empathy and interpersonal skills. DNP-NEP graduates are responsible for working with an array of other healthcare leaders and professionals to set standards in nursing units and beyond. They ensure that the best patient care standards are in place and work to improve the overall quality of healthcare patients receive.

DNP-NEP programs train students to understand how to make a lasting impact and understand how to make decisions that enact long-term changes. People with this degree see beyond day-to-day operations and plan for the next year, five years, and longer, while also navigating both local and global healthcare environments.

This terminal degree, the highest degree awarded in a given field, prepares nurse managers with leadership experience to gain positions as Chief Nurse Executive, Chief Nursing Officer, or even CEOs or COOs of hospitals. However, graduates can also work in health policy, public health, or even running for office.

“Nurse leaders have always been key to quality health care. Now that the nurse executive role has emerged as essential in almost all sectors of health care, we are proud to address the increased leadership demand with our Nurse Executive Program,” says Dr. Lucy Marion, dean of the Augusta University College of Nursing.

  1. Healthcare Management

Don’t have an interest in hands-on patient care? A Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree with a concentration in healthcare management will equip you with the business skills needed to pursue careers in health services management. Students enrolled in this program will gain foundational business skills with direct application to healthcare environments. In addition to the business core courses, healthcare management students complete courses in healthcare finance, healthcare marketing, healthcare policy and law, healthcare information management, and healthcare process improvement.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 17% growth in the field of healthcare management between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Graduates have the choice to work for hospitals, insurance providers, long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and other healthcare-related businesses. Healthcare managers are employed as healthcare project managers, healthcare facilities managers, medical office administrators, healthcare quality managers, and healthcare administrators.

Whether you’re looking to stay in school for your graduate degree or jump straight into the workforce after college, these degrees from are guaranteed to make you a standout in America’s most popular (and still-growing) industry.

For more information about Augusta University’s healthcare degree programs, visit www.augusta.edu/academics/programs. Or, apply now!
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