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Analyzing The Surge In Interest And Demand For Healthcare Degrees

Healthcare jobs and degrees have always been among the most desired,offering the best value. Not only do they offer diversity in career pathways, but also bring in the money to offset student loans from years spent in college. Being one of the fastest-growing industries pre-pandemic, it’s not surprising that the demand for healthcare professionals has further escalated in a pandemic-affected world. There’s currently a large influx of applications from aspiring healthcare workers and even a bigger demand for nurses, doctors, aides, lab technicians, carers, and helpers alike. This has also led to more students enrolling in healthcare and associated programs. But the pandemic might not be the only reason why this industry has suddenly become an interest for everyone.

This article aims to analyze the surge in interest and demand for healthcare degrees.

Let’s dive in.

The Diversity

Healthcare is a lot more than doctors and nurses. Anyone from a computer science graduate to scientist and engineer can find career opportunities in the private and public health sectors. But that’s not all. Even in healthcare-focused career pathways, the opportunities are endless.

Genetic counselors, audiologists, medical assistants, or even health services managers are only a few of the countless opportunities the industry has to offer. Every professional in healthcare industry plays an integral role in maintaining one of the most vital services running. From direct contact with the patients and their families to ensuring the tests or the hospital staff run smoothly, the roles and responsibilities differ,but all focus on accomplishing one fundamental goal: improving human quality of life.

Each job requires a different set of skills and hence different degrees. Some occupations such as home health and personal care aides do not require more than a high school diploma. But as you analyze the upscale career options, the qualifications increase along with the pay scale. For example, having a bachelor’s in relevant fields is enough for applying for recreational therapists or registered nurses. However, To become a doctor you would need an MD degree. To be a nurse practitioner or a hospital administrator, masters degrees in healthcare are necessary. Transitioning within the industry is seen as more fruitful because of the added experience. So if you have a bachelor’s degree, getting a master’s would open more opportunities.

Regardless of whatever job or degree you aim for, one thing’s certain; it would give you purpose and allow you to make an impact, no matter how small.

A Recession-Proof Industry

Ever since the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic, the healthcare sector has been at its pinnacle. Amidst the pandemic, it was the only sector that did not face a downturn. While other companies were giving the axe to their employees, the job portals were receiving an inflow of job postings for healthcare workers.

From caring for infected patients to conducting tests and contact tracing, the growth of jobs in the sector was inevitable. More healthcare workers were needed to vaccinate the masses and hence more administrator jobs opened too. In a world that negatively affected almost all industries and businesses, healthcare degrees proved to have a cushion and a promising future.

Considering these prospects and financial security, it’s no wonder that students are shifting their careers and education preferences to healthcare after analyzing the adversity that other industries are encountering during the pandemic.

While the corona era demanded many quick recruitments in healthcare, the sudden rise in job opportunities is believed to be here to stay. The BLS report also mentions the strong gains in research-related jobs as a result of the pandemic. The report predicts a high demand for “epidemiologists, medical scientists, biochemists and biophysicists, and biological technicians.” 

Besides the COVID-19, the increasing US population is also responsible for creating more room for career opportunities in healthcare. The experts at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics state that the number of job postings in this industry will continue to grow up to 16 percent between 2020 and 2030. The projected job openings imply a need for qualified individuals with respective healthcare degrees.

Are Healthcare Degree Applications Experiencing The Fauci Effect?

With news calling doctors and healthcare staff “frontline corona fighters” and “heroes,” it has raised empathy and motivation in aspiring workers of this industry. Of course, this inspired many people to consider joining the field or offer their services in any capacity they could—dubbed as“the Fauci effect”by the media.

It suggests that the sudden amplification of the admissions application, especially for master’s degree programs, is based on the thought of social justice and the urge to make a difference. Wouldn’t you want to be like Anthony Fauci and leave a positive impact in this COVID-ridden world if you could avail yourself of the opportunity to be on the front lines?

Ideals and morals have an impact on people’s choices. However, it would not be correct to say the surge in application volumes is entirely based on Mr. Fauci’s remarkable efforts in managing the crisis. Getting into medical school or applying for a healthcare degree requires more than just motivation. You need to have a good academic record and extracurricular portfolio. You need people who could write exemplary letters of recommendation to prove you deserve a spot in the program you are applying to. Time is spent on community service and building up for a strong application. It is not a matter of months; but requires years and effort. A reasonable explanation other than the Fauci effect would be candidates applying after a gap year. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) mentions that the majority (60%) of the students who matriculated in med school took gap years. Most of the gap years were intended for gaining experience or taking a break. The COVID crisis this year offered flexibility in the application process and created a poor job market. It directed a lot of graduates to the admissions office mails. That deduces that previous gap years might have been a strong explanation for the influx of applications, however, it was still the pandemic that opened the way.

In a Nutshell

The COVID crisis opened many doors in the healthcare sector and has incentivized applicants to apply for high-paying healthcare degrees. Although the interest in healthcare degrees existed pre-pandemic too, the pandemic highlighted the opportunities that came with the right degree and work experience. The pandemic has also proved the healthcare careers to be recession-proof and hence viable choices for anyone looking into specializations or higher education degrees.

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