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Undergraduate to Graduate Degrees in Healthcare

Posted by Megan Kokenge, Revised by Sara Giboney Thursday, Jun. 8, 2023

A group of graduates pose together in their caps and gowns after graduation.

When you work in healthcare, you’ll never be done learning. Whether you’re learning new skills on the job or you decide to continue your education, there will always be opportunities to grow in your career.

If you’re a student in nursing, allied health or healthcare management, you may already be thinking about what the future holds. Nebraska Methodist College (NMC) offers many graduate programs in healthcare that will allow you to seek an advanced degree after earning your undergraduate degree. 

By gaining clarity on the future career that you want, you’ll be able to plan your educational journey ahead of time. This can save you time and money because you won’t take unnecessary classes or change majors. 

As you pursue your education beyond an associate or bachelor's degree in healthcare, consider these four things.

Exploring Healthcare Graduate Degree Prerequisites

Remember that you can (and should) take classes that will help you gain entry into a next-level degree.

Rather than try to pad your schedule each semester with classes like “The Art of Snapchatting,” it will be more beneficial to take another biology, kinesiology or anatomy course.

If you know which graduate degree you’re interested in, check the prerequisites and enroll in the classes that you’ll need to be admitted into the program. 

Hint: if the course ends in “ics,” “omy” or “ology,” there’s a good chance it will be looked upon highly when it comes time to apply for a master’s level program.

Read more: How Will a Graduate Degree Change my Healthcare Career?

Staying Updated with Healthcare Industry Trends

For some positions, an associate degree is the preferred point of entry for incoming professionals. 

That’s precisely why you’ll find so many allied health associate degrees at NMC. There’s a demand for physical therapy assistants, sonographers, surgical technologists and more.

However, every student must remember that the landscape could change dramatically just a few years down the road. 

With so many advancements in technology and procedures, it should come as no surprise that healthcare organizations continue to adjust their educational expectations to reflect modern benchmarks.

What that means for you is you’ll need to carefully evaluate whether or not an associate degree is the end or the beginning of your educational journey. 

NMC has programs where you can dual enroll in both an associate and bachelor's program, allowing you to finish up your associate and head right into a bachelor's without pause.

Eventually, you may want to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree. NMC offers a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare, a Master of Occupational Therapy, a Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, and a Doctor of Education in Education and Leadership in Healthcare or Public Health Policy.

Returning to Education for Healthcare Career Advancement

Because of the anticipated shifts in the healthcare industry, NMC offers multiple bachelor’s degree completion options for those who previously attained their associate degrees.

A Bachelor of Science in Imaging Sciences is the progression from an associate degree in radiologic technology. This path offers the opportunity to specialize in CT or MRI, dramatically expanding your potential career options. 

The program can be completed online, so students can continue working while they work towards their bachelor’s degree.

The respiratory care degree completion option is a fantastic choice for respiratory therapists who want to focus more on the preventive aspect of care. This type of treatment has grown more and more in demand with changes to healthcare law.

Students can completed the program 100% online. 

The opportunity for educational advancement is substantial in the healthcare world.

Read more: Should I Go Back to School? A Guide For Adult Learners

Gaining Practical Experience in Healthcare Graduate Programs

Nursing is one area where we encourage students not to immediately pursue their master’s degree upon graduation from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. It’s important to have a couple of years of experience prior to pursuing your master’s-level nursing education.

Interacting with patients on a regular basis will allow you to develop the skills necessary to pursue your Master of Science in Nursing degree with confidence. Your clinical experience is the ultimate preparation for your advanced career.

Once you decide to return to college for your graduate degree, you’ll find that numerous options await you. NMC offers master’s level degrees with care coordinator, nursing informatics, nurse educator and nurse executive tracks.

Read more: Should You Get Your Master’s in Nursing?

It’s also possible for you to transition immediately into a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. NMC can accommodate nurses with BSN, APRN or MSN credentials. Embarking on a DNP program is a surefire way to reach the top of your field.

NMC offers DNP tracks that allow you to become a family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist or to work in public health policy.

Most graduate programs are 100% online or have an on-campus and online hybrid format. You can get a professional education on a convenient schedule, which will allow you to balance school with your full-time job.

Once you have a graduate degree, you have the option to enroll in healthcare graduate certificate programs to gain areas of expertise. 

NMC offers post-master’s certificates for nurses in the same specialty areas as the master’s in nursing program.

NMC also offers post-doctoral certificate programs, short courses of study taken after you’ve earned your doctorate. You can get certificates in leadership in healthcare organizations and public health policy.

Read more: Four Reasons Why More Nurses Are Earning a DNP

Preparing a Bright Future in the Healthcare Industry

Are you a high school student already looking ahead to what happens post-graduation? 

Then download our College Selection Timeline, which will highlight what you need to do to stay on track to get into college. After all, you'll need to choose your first degree before you can start thinking about a second one, and that's where this comes in handy.

Ready to elevate your healthcare career? Explore our comprehensive graduate degree programs and take the first step towards a brighter future. Apply now!

Contact our admissions team at (402) 354-7200 or with questions or for more information.

Topics: healthcare education, college routine, allied health career, transfer students, Master of Occupational Therapy, graduate programs, Doctor of Nursing Practice, bsn, EdD, Doctor of Education in Healthcare, msn