If you want to work in healthcare, you should consider the majors we’re going to discuss today. No one really talks about these because they think you need to be a doctor or have a master’s degree if you want to positively impact patients’ lives and make a lot of money. But that’s not true. These majors are great if you’re from a pre-med background or want to get a graduate degree. They can also land you really high-paying jobs without 10+ years of schooling like doctors, and you’ll still play an essential role in a patient’s well-being.
Most people who want to work in healthcare just default to the hard sciences like biology or chemistry. If you chose one of the majors from this list, you’d learn essential skills in healthcare. If you’re like some of us and want to work in healthcare but don’t necessarily want to interact with patients all the time, these majors are perfect for you.
#1 Medical Informatics
The first major we’ll talk about is medical informatics, which is a combination of IT and healthcare. You’ll learn things specific to healthcare like medical decision making, telehealth, medical terminology, and something about computers and databases. You can get many other jobs from a database administrator to a computer programmer or even a project manager because you know so many different skills. One of the most important things that health informatics professionals do is analyzing data to help hospitals operate more efficiently and making sure their technology is well equipped for doctors to take care of their patients. Suppose a hospital’s electronic health record system stops working. In that case, that can have a real impact on people’s lives, and someone with a medical informatics degree would probably be the one fixing the problem — your saving lives by not even touching a patient. If you want to break into health informatics, you should look into getting a certification that will really give you an upper hand if you don’t have experience. The downside is that this is an up-and-coming field. There are not many schools that offer a bachelor’s degree in health informatics. There are a handful of excellent master programs, though.
#2 Health Information Management
Now we’re going to talk about health information management, or HIM. We find this to be the best healthcare major out there because it gives you real in-depth knowledge of healthcare, but you also gain a business background that you can use outside of healthcare if you want to. The purpose of HIM is to make sure healthcare data is kept safe and is being used properly. You can take pre-med classes or classes related to healthcare law, medical billing, healthcare quality improvement, and even how health insurance works, which we know, can be confusing. You literally learn to understand how the healthcare world works more than many doctors because their primary job is to ensure patients are safe. You can also take classes on data analysis, communications, and operations, which are useful in any industry. Many people think HIM involves super technical stuff like computer science or programming, but that’s more healthcare informatics. This isn’t the case, though. A traditional role for people with an HIM degree is becoming health information managers. Since the field is so broad now, you can be a compliance officer for the government, data analyst, or operations specialist at a hospital. If you want to go into HIM, you must join an accredited program, which means that the schools follow specific standards and coursework, ensuring you learn what you need. As part of an HIM degree, you’ll also get certified as a registered health information administrator, which will help you stand out when applying for jobs at hospitals, and that’s one of the reasons this degree is excellent. It’s super practical! The best part is that demand for people in HIM and other healthcare administrative roles is growing like crazy at 32%/year, and you can easily make over $100K.
#3 Healthcare Administration
Next, we have healthcare administration, which is similar to health information management, just broader. You’ll take a ton of the same courses you would take as an HIM student, like healthcare law, accounting, and healthcare economics, which will allow you to become an expert in how the healthcare industry works. You won’t have to take all of the technical classes involving data, and you won’t get a certification, which is why we think HIM is a slightly better choice. The upside is that healthcare administration is becoming more common. It’s offered at over 400 colleges and is definitely better than most degrees out there. You won’t become a health information manager since you’ll still need a certification for that. But, you’ll be able to take on a more general management role at a hospital. Typical jobs for people who just graduated in healthcare administration are private practice office managers and hospital financial analysts. You can also work for pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and government work lobbying for the vast healthcare industry. In 2019, the healthcare industry spent $594 million on lobbying. Just like with HIM, demand and pay are high. For most people, whether you choose to study HIM or healthcare administration comes down to what your school offers. If you can get into an HIM program, go for that since it can land you the same jobs as a healthcare management major plus more. You really can’t go wrong either easy because you will be working in the fastest growing industry in the world.