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PhD / Doctorate Careers in Health Care

Do you have an PhD or Doctorate? Are you considering pursuing one? Discover your specialized options for a career in health care...

The PhD or Doctor of Philosophy is the pinnacle of education in many fields including health care. It can take many years of education and research to reach this point. PhDs have completed their bachelorís and masterís degrees, generally in a field similar to the one where they have earned their PhD. Some PhD program graduates choose to continue their education and research with post-doctorate studies to further specialize, which is often called a post-doctoral fellow. The reason that some people choose the post-doctoral fellow route is in the hopes that they will achieve faculty tenure.

Jobs for graduates of PhD programs will be highly dependent on the individualís field of study. Most often they will be in some area of research or development or as faculty at a college or university.

PhD program graduates in the health care field generally find themselves working as researchers in areas such as oncology, DNA, neuroscience, immunology, biology, pharmacology and other science related research areas. Some PhDs will get into clinical trial development and execution with additional experience. Psychologists have earned their PhD and may practice with partners or on their own. Other health care career options for PhDs may include becoming a policy maker, a medical writer or a professor. PhDs in software engineering and other information technology fields also find work in hospitals or with software companies developing and implementing electronic medical records and other information systems technology.

Again, health care is a field with something for almost anyone and those at the doctoral level are no exception.


Health Care Careers for those with a PhD or Doctorate Degree

Careers Health Care Pathway Certification / Licensure Requirements
Advanced Practice Nurse Direct Patient Care License requirements vary by state. National certification is generally necessary.
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.
Art Therapist Direct Patient Care Registered Art Therapists (ART) certification is available.
Audiologist Direct Patient Care Licensure is required in all states. Certification by ASHA or the American Board of Audiology (ABA).
Biomedical Chemist Research and Development Certification is not required.
Biomedical Engineer Research and Development Certification is not required.
Biostatician Research and Development Certification is not required.
Chiropractor Direct Patient Care Licensing requirements are regulated by state. Continuing education is required.
Diagnostic Molecular Scientist Imaging and Diagnostics Board certification in molecular biology is offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
Epidemiologist Research and Development Voluntary certification is available through the CBIC.
Forensic Nursing Direct Patient Care RN license required. Different types of certification available (SANE-A, SANE-P, etc)
Geneticist Research and Development Certification is voluntary, but not required.
Health Care 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 Psychologist Direct Patient Care Required: Must be licensed and board certified by the American Board of Clinical Health Psychology (ABCHP)
Health Services Manager Health Informatics / Business Voluntary certification
Hospital Administrator Health Informatics / Business Professional and technical certifications available (AAHAM, CPAT/CCAT and CCT).
Industrial Hygienist Health Care Facility Support CIH certification is given by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH)
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist Direct Patient Care Required: Must be licensed and pass the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP).
Occupational Therapist Direct Patient Care Certification is required. Must pass exam given by the National Board for Certification Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).
Physical Therapist Direct Patient Care Licensure is required. Must pass the physical therapy examination to become licensed in your state.
Psychologist Direct Patient Care Certification requires state licensure. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) provides certification.
Nurse (DNP) Direct Patient Care Must take and pass the NCLEX-RN certification exam.
Public Health Nurse Direct Patient Care Must take and pass the NCLEX-RN certification exam. Voluntary certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Social Worker Direct Patient Care Certification and licensure requirements vary by state.
Toxicologist Research and Biotechnology Certification available for the experienced toxicologist through the American Board of Toxicology (ABT).
Vocational Rehab Counselor Direct Patient Care CRCC provides nationally recognized certification . Must be renewed every 5 years.

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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