Why Get a Healthcare Ethics Degree?

Professionals who work in healthcare and medicine will often find that they are facing many difficult ethical and moral dilemmas that they are simply unsure how to handle. It is for that reason that many healthcare professionals choose to eventually earn a master’s degree in health care ethics, or medical ethics.

Many students also choose to earn their healthcare ethics degree because they want to seek or expand a career in law, medicine or public policy.

Some of the common career options after earning this graduate degree are:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Doctor
  • Healthcare consultant
  • Attorney
  • Government agency manager
  • Public health manager

Popular Career Option

Medical and Health Services Manager

Many healthcare professionals opt for this advanced degree because it will give them the skills and credentials to compete for high paying medical and health services manager roles in health care organizations. These professionals could be in charge of the entire facility, a certain clinical area or a department.

Some of the different types of these managers are:

  • Nursing home administrators
  • Clinical managers
  • Health information managers

Health care jobs in general are on the rise, and this field is not an exception to that rule. Job demand for medical and health services managers will rise by 17% by 2024, which is much faster than average. With the type of advanced health care ethics training you will have with this degree, expect to compete for many of the best positions.

Median pay in this field is $94,500.

Types of Health Care Ethics Degrees

Most healthcare ethics programs are master’s programs. These programs address the moral issues that relate to dealing with patients in health care and medical based settings, including clinical trials and research.

A master’s degree in health care or medical ethics can take up to three years to complete. Most students hold a bachelor’s degree in a science or health care related field. Common classes are in these general categories:

  • Law and medical ethics
  • Bioethics and theology
  • Research ethics

For those who think a degree in health care ethics is a viable option, we recommend this program:

Creighton University

Creighton University offers an innovative Master of Science in Health Care Ethics that will offer you the skills to deal with the many ethical, legal and social issues that confront the advance of medical technology and clinical medicine in the 21st century. It is one of the few health care ethics programs that is located inside a medical school, and it is ranked as one of the best in America.

From transplantation advances to new federal legislation that provides extensive health care access to people in underserved populations, professionals with highly advanced health care ethics training are needed to deal with the many moral challenges of the medical field today. Creighton University will offer you that training.

This two year program is particularly focused on helping poor and marginalized groups receive the medical and health care they need. All students who complete this accredited graduate program will be able to do each of the following:

  • Discuss and discern typical ethical dilemmas in health care today
  • Apply advanced ethical principles and theories to the practice of health care
  • Think in a critical fashion in response to new health care issues
  • Educate the public about health care ethical issues
  • Facilitate discussions in situations that are ethically difficult or complex

The Master of Science program at Creighton is housed within the Center for Health Policy and Ethics. It is one of the biggest centers of its kind in the world. As a student of this program, you will have access to a large faculty of many internationally known scholars, authors and philosophers. All of them have Ph.D.s in their field.

The faculty in this center have served in some of the best organizations in the world in the subject of healthcare ethics. Some of these include the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.

Creighton admits into its health care ethics programs the most accomplished professionals and students from around the world. It seeks students who strive to expand their competencies to include advanced medical ethics and to boost their ability to make better decisions in complex environments.

We recommend the Creighton master’s program in health care ethics because you will become a more well rounded health care professional who is able to provide better, more competent and compassionate patient care. Also, you will learn how you can better deal with the many legal issues and ethical problems that could bring difficulty in your health care career.

More information about the Creighton program that applicants should know:

  • The Center for Health Policy and Ethics is in the Creighton University School of Medicine, which is one of the best medical schools in the US.
  • This program has 33 credit hours, and you may be able to earn your degree in only 18 months. You may complete the graduate certificate in the program in less than a year.
  • Students who graduate can deal more effectively with ethical problems, controversies and assumptions that face health care practitioners in the world today. All of these competencies and skills will be applicable to your future or current health care career.
  • You will be required to complete a capstone project towards the end of the program, usually in the last semester. You will work closely with your guidance advisor who will help you to devise a project that both shows all that you have learned in health care ethics, and is in an area that interests you and is relevant to your career.
  • This program is available fully online and you will be able to earn your degree while you work full time and handle your personal obligations.

Core classes in this accredited program are:

  • Research Ethics
  • Law and Health Care Ethics
  • Social and Cultural Contexts of Health Care
  • Theories of Justice
  • Public Health Ethics
  • Practical Ethics in Health Care Settings
  • Philosophical Bioethics

This university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

How to Choose a Good Healthcare Ethics Degree

Earning your online master’s degree in healthcare ethics is a good choice for those who want to expand their career options in medicine, health care and law. But earning your degree takes time and money. It is important to find a good healthcare ethics program that fits your career goals. So, keep these tips in mind:

  • What area of healthcare ethics interests you the most? There are many different specialties that you may focus on in your degree program. You could focus on death and dying, reproduction ethics, genetics, medical research and clinical research.
  • Has the school been accredited by one of the US Department of Education’s regional organizations? They are listed later in this article.
  • What type of internship or capstone experience is required, if any? Many students find that doing these types of experiences are very important later in their career to advance as high as they did. An internship also can help you to find work after you graduate.
  • How well does the university work with its students when you are close to graduating? You may need help with finding employment upon graduation.

Accreditation

When you earn your healthcare ethics degree, you should be sure that the university is accredited, so that you know you are learning the information you need to succeed in your career. Look for accreditation from one of these organizations:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Summary

Earning your master’s degree in healthcare ethics will prepare you to make ethical decisions that are consistent with patient’s’ legal, medical and religious rights and wishes. This type of training and background can be invaluable as you continue to pursue your career in health care, law or other field.

Written by Robert Sanchez
Robert Sanchez is HealthGrad.com's Chief Editorialist. Robert Sanchez has over 10 years experience in the Healthcare field and more recently has become an avid writer advising on career and job topics in this exciting field.

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