Individuals seeking degrees in healthcare have many options to choose from. First, there is the specialty of the degree, or your "major." Another consideration is the level of the degree you will seek, from a diploma to a doctorate degree. Finally, individuals must choose a school. All of these decisions will affect the total cost of your education and the possible careers available after you attain the degree.
Diplomas do not require much time in school, sometimes less than a year, and offer a certificate in a particular type of training. Some examples are certified nurses aid (CNA) and medical assistant diplomas. Outside the traditional healthcare field, you can find diploma degrees such as massage therapist. The mental and behavioral health field has specific diploma degrees as well, including behavioral health technician, addictions worker, and diplomas in child and adult psychology.
Associates degrees typically take around two years to complete for a full-time student. The titles of the associate degrees offered varies by school. When looking at a degree program, ask the school's representative what types of jobs and job titles a person could obtain with their degree. There are some basic areas that degrees focus on, such as, healthcare administration, medical coding, medical records, dental hygienist and medical assisting.
Bachelor's degrees typically require four years for a full-time student, although some accelerated programs promise degree completion in three years. Bachelor's degrees in the healthcare field include physicians assistant (PA), healthcare management, registered nurse (RN), medical billing manager and speech-language pathologist. People with a bachelors degree can earn 50 to 70 percent more than a person with an associates degree in the same subject area.
Masters degrees typically require two additional years in school at full-time status beyond the bachelors degree. In addition to considerations about cost and time-to-complete, think about the prestige and reputation of the school. Some examples of masters degrees in the healthcare field include public health, clinical psychologist, physicians assistant and master of social work.
A doctorate degree can take several years beyond a masters degree. Doctorate degrees are often highly specialized and costly, but the pay for persons with a doctorate can be quite high. For example, an anesthesiologist can make $200,000 a year, as of 2011. A medical doctor (MD) has a doctorate degree in a general field, such as internal medicine or family medicine. Other doctorate degrees in healthcare include doctor of audiology and doctor of clinical psychology.