Healthcare Education Provides Cause for Employment Optimism


Over the past few years, employment in the healthcare industry has provided cause for optimism in a dismal economic climate. With 14 million Americans unemployed and the national unemployment rate at 9 percent, health care job creation has defied that of other sectors of the economy. Of the twenty fastest-growing jobs today, ten are in the health care industry. According to the website healthcareleadersmedia.org, the health care sector accounts for one in four new jobs in 2011, producing 258,000 jobs in the first three-quarters of the year.

The implementation of the American Affordable Care Act, which is expected to empty into the healthcare system millions of newly-insured patients, the aging of 72 million baby boomers and the need to replace retiring health care workers are all causes of the explosive long-term growth in demand for health care services and workers.

The demand for these healthcare administrators is projected to increase 16 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many health care workers will desire to move from health care practice to administration, achieving greater responsibility and incentives including salaries approaching six figures.

The University of Oklahoma is a national leader in developing today’s students into tomorrow’s practitioners, administrators, educators and researchers in the health care field. As part of the university’s regime of medical education at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional level, OU offers a litany of programs housed in the Colleges of Allied Health, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health through the OU Health Sciences Center (HSC).

In addition to the variety of programs at HSC, OU’s College of Professional and Continuing Studies (PACS) provides students with the credentials necessary to capitalize on the developments in health care employment opportunity.

PACS Master of Human and Health Services Administration degree program is offered entirely online and is designed to prepare students to serve at the managerial level in public or private health care organizations. The Master of Human and Health Services Administration degree expands the student knowledge base to include many of the duties of health care administrators who are responsible for planning, directing, coordinating and supervising the daily operations of a health care facility. The degree is not designed to serve as the primary knowledge base of those seeking careers in health and human services. Rather, it is directed at people with experience in related areas of health care, who seek professional advancement to the managerial sector of the industry.

“Most health care agencies will expect previous experience, and the degree alone is not going to get you the job,” said Julie Raadschelders, PACS graduate program coordinator. However, the degree will be beneficial in helping someone to get started in the field. For people already working in health care, often their need for it is very strategic. Many of our students want to have a master’s degree in this field because they want to get a promotion or advance to a supervisory position.”

Recognizing that critical knowledge of current issues and ethics in health care is vital to delivering the highest quality treatments and services, the degree plan includes courses such as Cultural, Social and Diversity Issues in Human and Health Services, Strategic Planning and Evaluation in Human and Health Services and Ethics in Human and Health Services.

“One of the ways this degree adds to a student’s employability that it is an interdisciplinary degree,” said Raadschelders. “Our courses have a very broad focus, which instills students with creativity and a comprehensive view when they’re trying to solve problems and address issues in human and health service.”

The Master of Human and Health Services Administration offers the potential for career advancement in a rapidly expanding field, adding to the optimism for employment prospects and improved delivery options for patients.

“Health care is one of the largest issues that we’re facing in this country,” Raadschelders said. “There are lots of complex problems and concerns within our health system. The more qualified, skilled people we can get working in that field, the better for Americans across the country.”

Further information on PACS Master of Human and Health Services Administration may be found at pacs.ou.edu

Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017. 

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Michael Carter

Michael Carter contributed to college marketing efforts while working as a student writer.