Online Education: Make the Healthcare Shortage Work for You

By: Breanna Hite

By now, most Americans have heard about the growing healthcare shortage. As Baby Boomers start to retire, the demand for healthcare services is increasing at the exact time that the number of healthcare workers is decreasing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is the fastest-growing in the country. Right now the biggest shortfall is in the number of nurses; there are currently 200,000 unfilled registered nurse positions and by 2020 this gap is expected to reach one million. However, virtually all healthcare occupations have begun to experience shortages.

What most media reports don't mention, however, is that this shortfall represents a huge opportunity for people looking for a great career. In desperate bids to attract and retain healthcare employees, employers are offering much larger salaries than in the past, along with hiring bonuses, perks, benefits, and flexible schedules. The well-qualified healthcare job seeker has a serious advantage in this market. The opportunities are endless. You can pursue a rewarding career helping others and making the world a better place - and be sought after by great employers offering rising salaries and excellent job security at the same time.

Right now, one of the top priorities for hospitals, clinics, and the government is to increase the number of healthcare students. The federal government has even passed an initiative designed to help students get nursing degrees - check out the Nursing Reinvestment Act. However, there are a number of barriers that potential students confront . One is a shortage of nurse educators, which leads many qualified candidates to be turned down. Many potential healthcare students are also unable, for one reason or another, to attend traditional schools. Maybe you are already employed and looking for a career change. Maybe you are staying home with your kids and planning on entering a healthcare career when they go to school. Perhaps you live in a rural area, or an area that doesn't have very many educational options - these areas are often even more in need of healthcare professionals. Maybe you already work in healthcare and you know that continuing education will get you to a higher level.

One solution is to pursue healthcare education online. You can take courses to give yourself a competitive edge for entering a traditional program, or you can take the entire degree online. This allows busy adults to prepare for their career (or career change) according to their own schedules, at their own pace, and from wherever they happen to be. In addition, many online students use supervised internships in order to get the hands-on training they need. Learn about the options, learn about the careers, and get ready for those healthcare opportunities.

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