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Bachelorís Degree Careers in Health Care

Do you have an bachelor's degree or are you considering getting one? Discover your options for a career in health care...

The field of health care offers hundreds of career opportunities for those prepared with a bachelorís degree (4-year degree). The pay in health care career fields is often at or above that of other sectors for the bachelorís educated professional. The great thing about health care is that there is something for almost everyone with a bachelorís level education. You might be looking for direct patient interaction like a nurse has. Or you may be a non-patient interaction type, but still want to be in the field of health care since the sector is booming. Health care needs bachelorís educated people in non-patient interaction roles as well, for instance, in the marketing or IT departments at a hospital. [Take a look at Bachelor's Degrees in Health Care Related Fields]

What are the benefits to earning a bachelor's degree?

Some bachelorís degree careers in the health care field will require additional training once on the job, some require certification, and some will require a license. Ultimately these are part of the professional career track and necessary for growth in the field. The great thing about a bachelorís degree, in addition to the level of career preparation it offers, is that it opens the door to graduate school. Bachelorís educated individuals frequently decide to return to school to earn a graduate degree once they have found an area of work they enjoy and want to excel in.

The difference between online and campus based learning

Bachelorís degree programs can be found at colleges and universities across the U.S. A majority of these colleges and universities also offer online options to complete the degree. The one exception to this is the baccalaureate of science in Nursing (BSN), which requires clinical hours and laboratory time that cannot be completed via an online format. So, if you are planning to become a nurse, expect to attend a campus-based baccalaureate in nursing program.

The online format does offer flexibility to pursuing a bachelorís level education. Many students choose to work while completing their degree online. Hybrid bachelorís degree programs are also quite popular. These programs are administered partly online and require some classroom attendance.

The significance of school accreditation

One of the most important items to be aware of is the schoolís accreditation as well as the programís accreditation or approval. There are numerous accrediting bodies and some are not as well respected as others. Some professional certifying bodies require graduation from a program that has been accredited by a specific agency to be eligible for their certification exams. An example of this is for RHIA certification, which requires graduation from a Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accredited bachelorís program in Health Information Management.

Do your research on schools and programs. Ask the admissions department about their accreditation, job placement rates for graduates, NCLEXRN pass rates (for nursing schools) and about financial aid opportunities. Learn about the opportunities a bachelorís degree can provide in the field of health care by exploring the careers in this category.


Health Care Careers that may Require a Bachelor's Degree

Careers Health Care Pathway Certification / Licensure Requirements
Allied Health Manager Health Informatics / Business The AHA offers a national certification exam to become a CHFM. Licensure is required for nursing care facility administrators.
Athletic Trainer Direct Patient Care Most states require licensure or certification of athletic trainers.
Biomedical Chemist Research and Development Certification is not required.
Biomedical Engineer Research and Development Certification is not required.
Bioinformatics Specialist Research and Development Certification is available but not required.
Biostatician Research and Development Certification is not required.
Blood Bank Technology Specialist Research and Development Certification is necessary to become an SBB or BB (Technologist in Blood Banking)
Clinical Laboratory Technologist Imaging and Diagnostics Voluntary certification given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
Cytotechnologist Research & Development Voluntary certification is gold standard. 2 levels are given by ASCP : CT(ASCP) and SCT(ASCP).
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Imaging and Diagnostics American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers certification (RDMS) to those eligible by passing an exam.
Diagnostic Molecular Scientist Imaging and Diagnostics Board certification in molecular biology is offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
Forensic Nursing Direct Patient Care RN license required. Different types of certification available (SANE-A, SANE-P, etc)
Forensic Science Technician Research and Development Certification is voluntary, but not required.
Geneticist Research and Development Certification is voluntary, but not required.
Geriatric Care Manager Direct Patient Care Certification is given by The National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCCM).
Health Care Administrator Health Informatics / Business Professional and technical certifications available (AAHAM, CPAT/CCAT and CCT).
Health Educator Health Informatics / Business Board certification is voluntary, but often mandated by some employers.
Health Services Manager Health Informatics / Business Voluntary certification.
Hospital Administrator Health Informatics / Business Professional and technical certifications available (AAHAM, CPAT/CCAT and CCT).
Health Information Specialist Health Informatics / Business Voluntary CCA certification from AHIM or, Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification through CAHIIM.
Health Info Tech Health Informatics / Business Voluntary CCA certification from AHIMA or RHIT certification offered by CAHIIM.
Industrial Hygienist Health Care Facility Support CIH certification is given by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH)
Legal Nurse Consultant Health Informatics / Business Certifications are available.
Life Care Planner Direct Patient Care Certification is available. Exam given by the CNLCP.
Medical Illustrator Health Informatics / Business CMI certifications is available.
Medical Librarian Health Care Facility Support Certification is available.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Imaging and Diagnostics Certification through the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) as well as the (ARRT). Not required.
Nurse Manager Health Informatics / Business and Direct Patient Care AONE offers certification as a nurse manager and leader (CNML). May also become certified in executive nursing practice (CENP).
Nutritionist/Dietician Therapeutic Services Must register with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) to become licensed. Registration needs to be renewed every 5 years.
Occupational Therapist Direct Patient Care Certification is required. Must pass exam given by the National Board for Certification Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).
Perfusionist Direct Patient Care Certification is through the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion. Must be renewed every year.
Psychiatric Technician Direct Patient Care Psychiatric technicians in most states can be certified through the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians. There are 4 levels of certification
Public Health Nurse Direct Patient Care Must take and pass the NCLEX-RN certification exam. Voluntary certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Radiation Therapist Direct Patient Care Certification by the AART is voluntary, but often required by employers. Licensure may be required for technologists.
Recreational Therapist Direct Patient Care Voluntary certification is available through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).
Registered Nurse (BSN) Direct Patient Care Must take and pass the NCLEX-RN certification exam.
Respiratory Therapist Direct Patient Care Two types of certification: Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
Social Worker Direct Patient Care Certification and licensure requirements vary by state.
Speech Pathologist Direct Patient Care Most states require a license. Such requirements vary by state.
Toxicologist Research and Biotechnology Certification available for the experienced toxicologist through the American Board of Toxicology (ABT).
Veterinary Technician Direct Patient Care Licensure or registration is required in most states. Most take the National Veterinary Technician exam.

Discover how you can satisfy the educational requirements of these careers by contacting schools that offer bachelor degrees in your geographic region or online.

If you haven't come across a career that you are looking for, you may be interested in researching additional health care careers that fall under the five health care pathways, many of which require varying levels of education.

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