The American Medical Association states there are in excess of 80 different careers in the healthcare field, with 8,600 accredited educational programs.  Accreditation is performed by various organizations related to specific fields; for example, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits nursing programs.

The healthcare field is extremely diverse and, as such, education requirements can also be quite varied.  General courses that can be expected throughout most healthcare majors include the healthcare system, the role of professionals, effective communications with patients and colleagues, professional ethics, such as informed consent, advance directives, health care informatics concentrating on computerized medical information systems and professional writing.

Regardless of which healthcare field you intend to specialize in, there will be a large degree of science related courses included in curriculums.  It is recommended prospective students have a strong mathematical and science background in secondary school and, in some cases, course upgrades might be necessary to meet admissions requirements.

Personal attributes include compassion, patience, critical and analytical thinking, complex problem-solving capabilities, excellent communication abilities and superior team member skills.

Biology, chemistry, physics, calculus and algebra are all typical science and mathematics courses in a healthcare major.  Healthcare majors may also have the option of selecting elective courses to complement core courses.  Humanities, languages, literature, social sciences and computers may be suitable subjects.  Healthcare major graduates can expect continuing education of a specified amount of hours annually for certain occupations.

A healthcare major graduate has an optimistic future.  In 2008, the healthcare industry provided 14.3 million jobs.  Further, one-half of the fastest growing occupations are in healthcare.  Due to the aging population, it is forecast hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities will account for a substantive number of new positions becoming available.  As technology enables patients to live longer, outpatient healthcare is expected become increasingly important and home healthcare may see up to a 40 percent increase in job openings by 2018 from 2008.

Schools that offer this program