By Laura Durkalec

“911, what’s your emergency?” Choosing a major on the spot may seem like an emergency. If a healthcare major interests you, check out what you’ll be doing as well as the upsides, downsides, and career opportunities. Once you know more about going into health care, you’ll be able to think your major choice through instead of calling for help.

What You’ll Be Doing

A degree in health care typically requires core classes such as biology, health care administration, health law and ethics, health finance, epidemiology and health regulation and planning. In addition to those classes, most health care majors take on an internship or clinical rounds to get more experience in the field in a real world setting.

Upsides of the Major

1. “I enjoy the flexibility of self-scheduling and shift work. This allows me to make my schedule every eight weeks and select the days I want to work.” – Summer Price, Hillsborough Community College 2007, Registered Nurse

2. “You always have an opportunity for advancement within your job title. You are able to have growth potential, meaning you will not necessarily be stuck in one position your whole career.” – Natalie Beemer, University of South Florida 2014, Nurse Practitioner

3. “One pro is that I get to help people. And not just help them as an inpatient but in emergency situations. ER is so exciting. It keeps me on my toes and challenges me to work to the best of my ability to help others.” – Shea Lawson, University of South Florida 2014, Radiologic Technologist

Downsides of the Major

1. “With the job comes the emotional attachment to the approaching end life of a patient and it may sometimes effect the nurse’s own mental being.” – Caren Garcia, Hillsborough Community College 2011, Registered Nurse

2. “It can be difficult at times when there are too many patients to take care of and you do not feel like you’re able to provide the care that your patients deserve.” — Jamie Johnson, Hillsborough Community College 2014, Student Nurse Tech

3. “Your coworkers may not share your same level of compassion for the job, making it difficult to work alongside them.” – Maggie Mangini, Rasmussen College 2012, Registered Nurse

Career Opportunities

Majoring in health care allows many different career paths. There are doctors, nurses, and assistants for every type of field – pediatrics, mental health, nursing homes, and many more.

  • Hospital Management – Alison Beradino, a graduate of St. Pete College, mentioned the possibility of furthering her career in Hospital Management, which oversees staff and patients, coordinates the care given to the patients, and ensures the delivery of appropriate medicines and procedures.

  • Clinical Setting Teacher – Beradino also mentioned another option: a Clinical Setting Teacher, which introduces nursing students to the workforce by preparing them to work in a hospital setting, teaching them new skills and reinforcing ones already learned.

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – Rebekah Meredith, a graduate of Liberty University, sometimes works in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where she assists with critical care for infants that are unable to sustain life without nursing interventions.

  • Traveling Nurse – Pam Valdes, a graduate of Jersey College, has the opportunity to be a Traveling Nurse. She could travel where there is a high demand for nurses, such as places where nurse unions have gone on strike and also where natural disasters have occurred. There are usually 13-week contracts for this job.

  • Case Manager – Valdes could also be a Case Manager for a hospital where she would oversee patient care to coordinate effective treatment.