Master’s in Health Communication is an increasingly popular degree option for careers in healthcare

Career opportunities broaden with this compelling alternative to a Master’s in Public Health or a Master’s in Health Administration

Masters’ in Health Communication at the University of IllinoisAccording to the February 2024 survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare is “leading the charge” with the largest hiring gains out of all the professional sectors. And it’s leading by a significant margin: almost 91K new jobs were added in the healthcare sector, compared to 58K new jobs in the second-most thriving industry, leisure and hospitality (and the numbers trend down from there).

Health care is a broad industry, encompassing fields like public health, patient care, medical research, medical writing, pharmacy, social work, physical therapy, medicine, healthcare management and more. For professionals seeking advancement or a starting point for a thriving career, these trending data couldn’t be better news. A variety of academic and professional backgrounds also play well into the healthcare industry. Psychology, physiology, epidemiology, journalism, marketing, PR, nursing, communication – these are all cornerstones of numerous dynamic career tracks that pave the way for advancement and leadership in a booming industry.

Undergraduate degrees matter, but increasing evidence suggests that significantly greater opportunities and higher financial compensation accompany a Master’s degree, especially in health care. A recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that many health care (and health-adjacent) industries pay employees substantially more with a Master’s degree than a Bachelor’s degree. Among the top fields to benefit financially from a Master’s degree include biology, communication disorders sciences, administration and management, communication and media studies, nursing, human resources, public health, social work and psychology. In fact, these industries composed nearly half of all industries that provided substantial pay increases for employees with Master’s degrees.

There are certainly an abundance of options for pursuing a Master’s in a health-related field. Masters’ in Public Health are popular options, as are Masters’ in Health Administration. People interested in Healthcare Management often pursue MBAs to compete in the industry. These options will guide your career down a very specific path, but leave less room for flexibility and breadth in skills and subsequent career options.

For a broader approach, Masters’ in Health Communication have become increasingly popular, especially for students whose interests align with social and digital media, public relations, health literacy, advocacy and communication, policy design, health campaigns and more. The depth and breadth of a degree in Health Communication can accommodate careers in everything from marketing director to medical writer to patient advocacy to pharmacy – in this way the expertise students acquire with this degree opens doors in a number of potential fields, not just one specific role.

When an industry like health care is booming, having a competitive resume can make an enormous difference in opportunity. That’s why the Health Communication Online Master of Science (HCOM) program at the University of Illinois is an appealing choice for students from dozens of various health care fields. And, corresponding with national data, nearly 90% of HCOM alumni report a new job or promotion within one year of completing their degrees.

The evidence is clear: now is an excellent time to pursue a health care career and an ideal time to explore a Master of Science in Health Communication.

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