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4 trending healthcare degrees

A wider variety of professionals keep healthcare organizations up to speed

As healthcare expands globally, more health organizations are relying on a wider variety of professionals to help keep their organizations up to speed.

Heidi Miller, director of the physician assistant program at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has seen the demand for healthcare professionals boom and says it’s important for organizations to keep up with the evolving roles of healthcare professionals to keep workforce management running smoothly. Here she discusses with Healthcare Finance News top trending medical degrees.

[See also: Explosion of direct-care workforce will cause industry change]

1. Nurse practitioner – Prospective students are lining up at the chance to earn a degree to be a nurse practitioner, said Miller, because they are in high demand across the board in various healthcare organizations. NPs are registered nurses who have specialized graduate education. The median pay for a nurse practitioner is $89,960 per year.

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2. Physician assistant – Like NPs, PAs are also in big demand now said Miller. Enrollees to RIT’s PA program have grown dramatically, she noted. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physician assistants is expected to increase 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Miller said one of the reasons the PA program is so popular may be that it is much shorter than MD programs. The median pay for a physician assistant is $86,410 per year. An entry-level position requires a master’s degree.

3. Health systems administration – As healthcare organizations continue to need more fiscal oversight, their own employees have seen how a little effort on their part can move them into administration positions. According to Miller, healthcare professionals have been increasingly taking advantage of online graduate programs that help propel them into health systems administration positions. While health systems administration is a broad category, medical and health services managers, for example, bring home an average of $84,270 per year. Degree requirements vary from two-year online programs to bachelor’s degrees for entry-level positions.

4. Pharmacist – The demand for pharmacists has been a growing trend for the last decade. That demand “An increase in salary is a function of increase in demand,” she said. The median pay for a pharmacist is $111,570 per year. An entry-level position requires a doctoral or professional degree.