Going back to school: 7 degrees to consider

Going back to school to earn a degree doesn’t have to mean several years in college.

There are several specialty degrees you can consider that only take two years of study yet offer excellent job outlook and wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Here are 7 specialty degrees worth pursuing – all in the healthcare industry, which happens to be one of the fastest growing industries.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are very much in demand and can expect excellent job growth. To become a dental hygienist, you must complete dental hygienist school. During this 2-year program, you’ll complete didactic studies and complete an internship in a dental facility. You’ll also have to complete a licensing exam because all states require dental hygienists be licensed.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants assist physicians throughout the course of their days and also perform administrative duties in medical offices. Although some medical assistants receive on-the-job training, most employers prefer to hire individuals who have completed a training program, which typically take up to two years to complete.

Surgical Technologists

Surgical technologists must complete an associate degree program to be eligible for certification and to work in operating rooms. Surgical technology students complete coursework, lab studies and supervised internships.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographers are the medical professionals who, after completing an associate degree in sonography, operate imaging equipment used for testing and diagnosing. In addition to completing two years of training, you’ll want to obtain certification. This career offers areas of specialty such as MRI, breast sonography and abdominal sonography, among others.

Medical Records and Health Information Technician

With the increase in electronic health records and electronic billing, these professionals are very much in demand and generally fall in the category of medical coding and billing specialists. Training programs may be as little as one year, but associate degree programs are most common.

Registered Nurse

Nursing is a field that continues to be in demand and also offers excellent wages. To become a registered nurse, you’ll need to complete a formal training program, typically at least an associate degree program and pass a licensing exam. Training includes lectures, lab classes and clinical rotations.

Physical Therapy Assistants

To become a physical therapy assistant (PTA), you’ll need to complete an associate degree program and pass a certification exam to obtain licensure. This 2-year program prepares you to work in a physical therapy department assisting physical therapists as they work with sick and injured patients.

If college is something you’ve been putting off, the time has never been better to check into some specialty degrees that may be offered both at colleges and online. Pursuing a degree could be the start of a very good career choice.


About the Author:

My name is Lizzie Weakley and I am a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3-year-old husky Snowball. If you like Lizzie’s writing style, follow her on Twitter @LizzieWeakley or find her on Facebook at