What Is General Studies ? Exploring the Healthcare Concentration

A general studies degree is an ideal fit for those students who are looking to explore a wide array of academic subjects. It allows students to delve into a number of different fields to develop a better understanding of their potential future career. Additionally, those interested in breaking into the healthcare industry could benefit from earning a bachelor’s degree in general studies with a concentration in healthcare, which can open the door to a number of careers and allow eligible students to transfer into other programs after two years of study.

Female healthcare professional at desk

What Is General Studies?

A general studies degree offers an element of flexibility to students with their studies — unlike many other degrees, a general studies degree doesn’t focus on a specific field or subject matter. Instead, students can delve into a number of academic subjects, like liberal arts or the social sciences. This is especially useful for those who are unsure of what they would like to do professionally following graduation. With a general studies degree, students can pursue their interests in a wide range of fields without risk of overcommitting.

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General Studies with a Healthcare Concentration

Some general studies programs offer specific concentrations, so students can begin to develop a specialty while still keeping their academic options open. For example, a general studies degree with a concentration in healthcare offers a unique solution to students who are interested in healthcare, but are still open to gaining an understanding of other fields. The healthcare degree concentration allows students to gain knowledge in both the liberal arts and non-clinical healthcare topics. This is a flexible and multifaceted degree that can allow students to make a difference and contribute to the growing healthcare sector in a manner that fits their interests. Graduates of the program, for instance, can become health educators, patient health advocates, medical product managers, or clinical researchers, and they can pursue other certifications or a master’s degree in health-related topics.

Healthcare Industry Growth

Healthcare is often viewed as a somewhat recession-proof industry. People will always need quality health services, and there will always be a need for skilled professionals to provide dedicated care to patients and to ensure that healthcare organizations operate properly. The sector employs people who provide tactile, in-person care, which can be difficult to replace through automation and artificial intelligence.

The healthcare industry is growing quickly, thanks in part to an aging population and the prevalence of conditions that require increased care, such as obesity and technological developments. In fact, the sector is growing so fast that the job market is having trouble keeping up, and there is an acute shortage of not only physicians but also nurses and other healthcare workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare employment will grow about 18% between 2016 and 2026, faster than all other occupations, and will add approximately 2.3 million new jobs during that time. This represents a third of all 11.5 million jobs that will be created over the next decade.

An Aging Population

The healthcare industry boom is partly fueled by an aging population, which requires increased care. Longer life expectancy means people are leading longer and more active lives, but it also means the percentage of older Americans is growing. In the United States, people 65 and older grew from 35 million in 2000 to 49.2 million in 2016, or 12.4% and 15.2% of the total population, respectively. This number is expected to rise to 83.7 million in 2050. An aging population needs increased care. According to the American Medical Association, older patients need two to three more healthcare-related services than the rest of the population.

Obesity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015–2016, 39.8% of adults and 18.5% of youth were obese. Obesity is on the rise and has been linked to heart disease and other conditions that are responsible for many preventable deaths in the United States. The rise in adult obesity has led to a rise in healthcare costs, as obese adults spend about 42% more on healthcare costs than other adults.

The combination of an aging population and the rise in obesity means patients need increasingly dedicated care and more professionals who can help them not only prevent and treat their ailments but also lead healthier and more productive lives.

Technological Developments

Technology has revolutionized everyday life, and the medical field is no exception. It has made it easier for doctors to access and share information to prevent, diagnose, and treat illness and to provide convenient and cost-effective solutions, such as telehealth and telemedicine. Procedures such as robotic surgeries are on the rise and can provide many benefits to patients, including shorter hospitalization times, smaller incisions, and fewer chances for human error.

Technology has allowed for a plethora of effective and innovative products, such as wearable medical devices and sensors, to emerge. These devices and other apps, smartphones, and smartwatches help support health and wellness for patients by monitoring health vitals and, in some cases, transmitting them to a caregiver or physician for evaluation and treatment. Sensors are increasingly small and seamless. They can be easily integrated into clothing and personal items, and they can play an important preventive role by helping to detect problems earlier on. Some devices, such as smart gloves, go even further and help patients recover movement and mobility after an accident.

These technological innovations have led to new ways to make a difference in people’s lives through healthcare. Professionals can work in research and development and can become entrepreneurs to create new products and services to benefit patients. Technology has also facilitated the growth of biotechnology and data science, as well as other fields.

Thanks to an aging and more active population, obesity and other growing health conditions, and a rapid evolution in technology, the healthcare industry is experiencing a boom and will be one of largest sources of employment in the U.S. in the next decade. A bachelor’s degree in general studies with a concentration in healthcare can help provide a solid basis of knowledge in healthcare and other areas and teach professionals the skills they need to begin and grow their careers in the healthcare industry. Learn more about Maryville’s online bachelor’s degree program in general studies with a concentration in healthcare here.

Now that you have a better understanding of what general studies with a concentration in healthcare is, discover potential healthcare career options.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

https://census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2017/cb17-100.html

https://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1140.pdf

https://news.aamc.org/press-releases/article/workforce_projections_03142017/

https://stateofobesity.org/

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db288.htm

https://data.bls.gov/projections/occupationProj

Finkelstein EA, Trogdon JG, Cohen JW, Dietz W. Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer-and Service-Specific Estimates. Health Affairs, 28(5): w822-831, 2009.