The U.S. economy’s fastest-growing sector is health care. More than two million new jobs are expected to be created in the health care industry in the next decade alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It’s no surprise that so many college students are interested in pursuing careers in the healthcare industry, given the promising job outlook. Fortunately, going to medical school isn’t necessary to get a job in the health care industry. Your new career can often be started in as little as two years with an associate’s degree from a distance learning institution.
Health Science A.A. degrees.
Several health care degree programs require students to complete a significant amount of laboratory science and mathematics coursework. However, health science is widely regarded as one of the easiest associate’s degrees to earn through distance learning. Medical billing and coding, medical law and ethics, maintaining patient records, and medical document production are just some of the non-patient care-related topics covered in these programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. You can become a medical secretary or a medical records and health information technician with an associate’s degree in health science.
Dental Hygiene Associate’s Degree
It is an applied science degree that prepares students for a career in dental assisting. A dental hygienist is a dental professional who works directly with patients, cleaning their teeth and taking x-rays of their mouths.
The median salary for dental hygienists is $72,910, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dental hygiene associate’s degrees are preferable to bachelor’s degrees, according to U.S. News & World Report, because of the limited earning potential and job opportunities for those with bachelor’s degrees. A dental hygiene associate’s degree typically requires three years of specialized study, so prospective students should be aware of this fact.
Radiation Therapy Associate Degree
A degree in radiologic technology or radiation therapy prepares students to work as radiation therapists or diagnostic medical sonographers. With an associate degree, you will be able to operate the medical equipment used to take x-rays, CT images and MRI and ultrasound or sonograms. Another degree that focuses on a specific career path is radiation therapy. Even though it takes only two years to complete this degree, a community college is the best place to get one, as is the case with a dental hygienist degree.
Medical Assistant Associate Degree
With an associate’s degree in medical assisting, students learn the administrative and clinical responsibilities of a medical assistant. Although there will be a 23% increase in job openings for medical assistants over the next decade according to the BLS, the pay is low. Medical assistants have a median salary of $31,540, which is lower than the national average of $37,040 for all occupations by several thousand dollars.
A two-year associate’s degree in physical or occupational therapy
With an associate degree, physical and occupational therapy assistants can get started in the field of physical and occupational therapy. As you might expect, this isn’t exactly the same as working in an actual rehabilitation facility with patients who need physical or occupational therapy. Instead, you’ll assist these therapists in providing direct care to patients while working under their supervision.
For some students, an associate’s degree in health care is a viable option that provides a fast and cost-effective path to a career in this rapidly expanding field.