When you think of healthcare jobs, there’s a good chance you imagine doctors, nurses and other clinicians diagnosing and treating patients at the bedside or in the office. That’s only part of the story, though.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare jobs are expected to grow by 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Along with these hands-on healthcare provider jobs come a host of other opportunities for non-medical talent, as well. After all, someone has to manage the administrative side of the business, including human resources, IT, marketing, legal, training, communications, finance and a nearly endless list of other support services that make up the backbone of this booming industry.
Behind the boom
Many factors are driving the growth of the healthcare industry. Perhaps the most important reason is that Americans are getting older, and along with advancing years comes a greater need for care for age-related ailments.
Technology is another major factor in the growth of the healthcare industry. Electronic medical records are taking over their old paper counterparts, and hospital systems, medical practices, care facilities and every other related entity relies on computer systems and IT networks to operate.
In addition, all of this sensitive digital patient information needs to be protected from cyber criminals. “There are a lot of privacy concerns around medical records,” says Francine Blume, assistant vice president of career development in UMUC’s Office of Institutional Advancement. “This adds up to greater demand for cyber security professionals even in the healthcare industry.”
Jobs for just about everyone
For Blume, the healthcare industry offers career opportunities for just about everyone, regardless of what they studied during their degree programs. “Every major we have at UMUC can be folded into the healthcare industry in one way or another,” she says.
There are plenty of jobs available for qualified candidates with a wide range of degrees. IT and cyber security degrees, along with nursing, health services management and healthcare administration degrees, are obvious fits, but other degree programs might not be as clear-cut.
Biotechnology and bioinformatics degrees teach students how to leverage technology to understand biological data and improve public health. Political science degree programs prepare employees to play advocacy and lobbying roles in the healthcare realm. Legal studies students learn skills to navigate the regulatory environment and manage contracts, both important elements of the healthcare field. Those who study gerontology and aging are prepared to help an older population enjoy better health into their twilight years.
Liberal arts and business students can also use their skills in the healthcare industry. Finance, accounting and management are all important functions in any field. Marketing has become increasingly important in health care, as many patients have a choice in who they select to be their providers. Project managers are also needed to coordinate everything from hospital construction projects to the implementation of new software systems. Students of nonprofit management learn skills they need to work for a hospital foundation or manage a not-for-profit healthcare organization.
“The opportunities are truly unlimited,” insists Blume. “Healthcare touches everyone, and nearly everyone can have a career in this expanding industry.”
Breaking into the industry
If you’d like to work in the healthcare industry but don’t have any direct industry experience, remember your transferrable skills. These include customer service expertise, a knack for problem solving, initiative, leadership skills and the ability to communicate clearly, among many others.
“All good soft skills can be applied in any field,” insists Blume. “There’s no reason not to apply them in the healthcare setting.”
Blume says that you can also gain healthcare experience by using your skills as a volunteer. If you don’t have bandwidth or the economic ability to volunteer at a larger level, you can look at micro volunteering opportunities. These involve completing small tasks virtually for nonprofit organizations. You can find micro volunteering openings on websites like Catchafire.
If you have any interest in pursuing a career within the healthcare industry, Blume encourages you to go for it. “It’s a hot field, and that means opportunity,” she concludes.
For additional information on UMUC’s Career Services including accessing job, internships, career events, resources, and more, visit CareerQuest – UMUC’s one stop career services portal – today.