Pursuing a dual degree path comes with far more advantages than just saving time and money, especially if you’re aiming for a healthcare career. Whether you want to combine a bachelor’s level nursing program with an MSN to fast track a nursing career or to stack graduate degrees to reach the top tier of healthcare administration, there’s a dual degree option for every career goal. You can even choose to pair your healthcare degree with an unrelated topic — such as an MBA — to diversify your knowledge and widen your career prospects. Whatever track you choose, doubling-up on degrees can benefit not only your career but also your bank balance. To learn more about the benefits of a dual degree and to see which pairings are popular for healthcare careers, keep reading.
The Value of a Dual Degree Track in Healthcare
Rather than focusing your education on a single topic, dual degrees allow you to build knowledge in multiple areas and thereby expand your professional opportunities after graduation. For instance, completing an MSN and MBA simultaneously gives you knowledge of both the nursing industry and the business world. Here are just some of the benefits of choosing a dual degree track.
Dual Degree vs. Double Major
Although sometimes these terms get used interchangeably, dual degrees and double majors have significant differences. Double majors can be undertaken at the graduate level and typically involves studying two related or unrelated subjects at an equal level. Learners still graduate with a single degree. By contrast, dual degrees involve studying two different subjects and result in you earning two separate degrees at graduation.
Is a Dual Degree Right for Me?
Dual degrees provide many benefits, but you should think carefully about whether this option best serves your needs before diving in. These programs support motivated, focused students who want to challenge themselves by pursuing multiple degrees and opening up their career possibilities. Competitive schools look for accomplished students with a proven academic track record who can handle a heavy course load. Do you feel confident about attending school full-time? Can you balance studying two separate topics simultaneously? Consider these questions carefully before pursuing a dual degree program.
Types of Healthcare Dual Degrees
Several different types of dual degrees in healthcare exist, including those offered at different degree levels. Whether you’re looking to expand your knowledge at the bachelor’s level or find a dual program combining both master’s and doctorate level studies, these options and more can be found.
Top Undergraduate + Graduate Degree Combinations in Healthcare
Same Subject Dual Degrees in Healthcare
BS/MS Physician Assistant Studies
These degrees pair well together as they allow you to gain all the essential information needed to work as a physician assistant while shaving a full year off undergraduate studies and moving directly into advanced P.A. topics. You can graduate in five or six years of full-time study and qualify to take required licensure examinations. Hofstra University offers a BS/MS in physician assistant studies if you want to learn more about how these programs work. Online physician assistant programs also exist, so be sure to check with schools before applying.
Whether you’re interested in working as a nurse practitioner, midwife, leader, or educator, you’ll need an MSN. By completing both your BSN and MSN as part of a dual degree program, you can begin your work as an advanced practice nurse more quickly. Most schools, including New York University, require you to enroll in a BSN program first. Program administrators then determine your preparedness for the dual degree offering in the sophomore year.
BS/MS Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists must hold a master’s degree at minimum, making the dual BS/MS occupational therapy a great option if you know you want to pursue this career. Many schools offer 3+3 programs, meaning you spend three years working toward undergraduate studies and three years on master’s level coursework. Upon completing an accredited program, you can sit for the NBCOT exam. Seton Hall University offers an example of what you can expect from this option.
Though fully online master’s programs in occupational therapy may not exist, it’s possible that you may be able to complete a portion of both your BS and MS in occupational therapy remotely.
Other Popular Undergraduate + Graduate Degrees in Healthcare
- BS/MS in Pharmacology
- BS/MS Mathematics/Biostatistics
- BS/MS Health Services Administration
- BS Health Sciences/MPH
- BS/MS Health Education
Popular Pairings for Your Graduate Degree in Healthcare
Deciding to earn dual graduate degrees can set you up for success in the highest levels of healthcare. Whether you want to work in an advanced practitioner role, or you’re interested in senior administrative positions, these degree combinations can be a smart way to reach your career goals.