Need career advice

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by sube, May 12, 2016.

  1. sube

    sube Member

    I have a BA in psychology from over 25 years ago. I have 20 years of work experience in another field, but it seems I'm going to be losing my job soon so I'd like to get into the healthcare field. Not as a practitioner dealing with patients, but more behind the scenes. A lot of jobs I want to apply to say they require someone with a degree in the hard sciences, so would it be best for me to get a master's in something like biology (but I'd have to take the prereqs again since my classes from my BA are too old) or should I get a BA or BS in Bio (or maybe some other science). Is it even possible to get a science degree online? I looked and didn't see too many options. Any suggestions appreciated.
  2. sshuang

    sshuang New Member


    What field of work did you have 20 years of experience in?
    Perhaps you can leverage that into a new career rather than starting from scratch.
  3. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Most who work "behind the scenes" in the healthcare sector started off working as practitioners of some sort. I'm not saying it's impossible to land a position somewhere, but it would be very difficult without having the appropriate background.
  4. sube

    sube Member

  5. RobbCD

    RobbCD New Member

    Get an MHA or similar. You'll get more mileage with that vs a second bachelor's in anything
  6. sube

    sube Member

    Thanks! I actually had never heard of that degree, but I found some good online options. The one at SNHU looks good and is affordable.
  7. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I think you need to research which healthcare jobs interest you. Behind the scenes" is too vague. You mentioned science masters that would lead to research and laboratory jobs. Now, you're considering the MHA, which is not really designed for people without healthcare are experience. Healthcare administration is very different from laboratory work and is a field that's hard to break into without healthcare experience.
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I'm unaware of a single "behind the scenes" job in healthcare that requires a Masters in a hard science.

    To sanantone's point, you need to have a clearer picture of what, exactly, you want to do. There are many non-patient roles in healthcare. And many of them have very clear and mutually exclusive pathways to arrive at them.

    For example, I was once working a contract for a hospital where I had to hire (among many others) some medical technologists (people who work in the lab and test blood and tissue samples). The qualifications were very specific; you needed a B.S. in Medical Technology. No "or related field" if you didn't have a degree in Medical Technology you were not getting a call. That didn't stop people with degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Zoology from applying. But it made it much more obnoxious to wade through the applications. One gentleman called me when he got a rejection letter in the mail. He was livid. He felt, with his Masters in Biochem, that he was more than qualified for the job. And you know what? Perhaps he would have taken to the lab like a fish to water. But it isn't a substitution that can be made.

    The most common non-clinical application of an MHA I ever encountered was for a Nursing Home Administrator. A freshly minted NHA (it's a license in many states) typically entered the profession fresh from their MHA program. Their pre-NHA roles ranged from running the business office to nursing to social work. For the non-clinical types, the deck is sort of stacked against you, however. Getting a job (to get your foot in the door) at a nursing home as a non-clinical professional isn't easy. Some smaller nursing homes have large nursing staffs and only one person working the business office. But, no matter what, you need to check any licensing requirements for your state if that's a path you are interested in.

    But how easily you can make a career shift like this depends upon what you've been doing for the past 20 years. Some careers transition with relative ease into virtually any industry (like HR, IT and Accounting). Others do not. Twenty years of experience is a good thing. Then again, there are people who have twenty years of experience working at a gas station. That doesn't mean they are ready for the executive suite at Exxon. So your prior industry matters. Your prior job level matters. If you were fairly low level before an MHA isn't likely to allow you to jump to healthcare at a significantly higher level.

    In short, there are both many and few ways for you to go if healthcare is your ultimate goal. If you feel like providing some additional information we might be able to help you tease some of that out. Otherwise, I wish you the best of luck on your journey.
  9. sube

    sube Member

    Apologies. I wasn't intentionally trying to be vague; I'm just very uncertain about what path to take next. I've always had an interest in the medical field, but I realize from your comments that I don't have the experience or education to jump into it. I had thought about becoming a volunteer EMT as a way to get some kind of medical experience, but that probably wouldn't be enough.

    I am in my late 40's, so maybe I'm better off staying in my current field. I don't have a master's in anything and I see a lot of jobs these days want someone with an MBA, but at my age and with my experience, I don't think I'd learn anything I don't already know so I've been hesitant to spend the time and money on that.

    I've been working for the same company for just over 10 years, worked my way up, and am now a product manager. The job is fine, but a bit dull, and since my manager is retiring in a few months and my job status will be uncertain once he leaves, this seemed like a good time to look into some other options. I have no idea if I will lose my job or not, I'm just trying to be proactive in case that happens.

    Hope this makes sense! Thanks for the advice, it has been helpful.
  10. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    You can earn your MBA online cheaply. In my opinion, if you want to further your career, it doesn't matter whether or not you'll learn anything from an MBA. I would just get it to check the box.

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