The healthcare industry has become one of the largest, most influential sectors of the world economy, and jobs in healthcare economics have become an option for college graduates with a wide variety of skills. Here are a few majors that could help you land a job in healthcare economics.
Accountants analyze individuals’ and business’ financial documents to detect fraud, mistakes and other irregularities. Massive amounts of cash move in and out of public and private healthcare organizations. In addition, these actors invest in bonds, equipment, supplies, buildings and other assets for which proper accounting must be conducted. Accounting majors typically need to complete courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, accounting periods and methods, federal income taxation, auditing and financial management.
To most employers, a degree in economics looks like a gold star on an applicant’s resume. Economists study the allocation of resources among actors, the individuals, firms, and governments, in marketplaces, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Determining how doctors’ and nurses’ labor should be allocated; when, where, and how to build a brick-and-mortar healthcare facility; or how much research and development to put into a new line of pharmaceuticals. These and other determinations are made using economic principles. Students wishing to complete an economics degree will likely be required to complete classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics, economic theory, comparative economic systems, econometrics, international economics, and economic history.
Actuarial science is a mathematics-heavy discipline focused on calculating risk, primarily in the insurance industry. Global life expectancy continues to rise, which means people will have more years in their lifetimes and, of course, more years during which to be insured. Actuaries are largely responsible for determining the rates individuals and firms pay for their insurance, using formulas that take into account the particular risks involved for each entity seeking coverage. Be warned that this major is not for the faint of heart, and can be quite rigorous. Courses needed to complete a degree in actuarial science often include econometrics, a multi-semester calculus class, linear algebra, advanced statistical methods,
Healthcare is not free. Far from it, actually. Health-related private-sector firms and public or nonprofit healthcare organizations themselves need financial managers who can allocate and invest their funds wisely. Finance majors learn how to do this and by the time they graduate, they are well versed in the arts of creating value and maximizing efficiency.
Healthcare economics touches the public and private sectors, representing a confluence of big business, government and political influence. Divvying up pieces of the healthcare pie is not a small task, nor an easy one. Courses typically needed to complete a political science degree include public policy, comparative politics, political philosophy and theory, international relations, American politics and the judicial process.
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Choosing a major that will pay dividends is a difficult process. However, if you complete any one of these degrees, you will have a leg up when it comes to obtaining a job in healthcare economics.