A number of colleges now offer a graduate certificate in health communication. Unlike a graduate degree, which will take at least two years to finish, you can complete a graduate certificate in as little as one semester to two semesters. Most programs require that you take three to four classes, and some colleges now offer these programs online. As long as you have a bachelor’s degree, you qualify for admission to a certificate program. Look at some of the jobs that you qualify for once you have that certificate in hand.
One of the more popular jobs in the medical communications field is PR specialist. Also known as a public relations specialist, this is someone who serves as the public face for a hospital or a health care facility. A PR specialist is responsible for giving talks to the general public, doing interviews for newspapers and local news stations and writing press releases. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that PR specialists earn a median salary of more than $56,000 a year. The BLS also estimates that that more than 14,000 PR specialist jobs will become available by 2024.
Additional resource: Online Master’s in Communication: Top 30 Values
Many hospitals and medical facilities no longer operate independently. Many now work together under one name. Your city might have four hospitals that actually work together and offer additional services through local doctors’ offices for those recovering from a heart attack or those diagnosed with diabetes and other conditions. Those organizations and companies need corporate managers who can handle communications between offices. As a corporate manager, you’ll perform site visits, write reports of your visits and speak to doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. You’re also responsible for ensuring that those professionals have open lines of communication.
A government liaison is similar to a corporate manager, but a government liaison will work with government agencies and departments. The United States Department of Health and Human Services is one of the most important government departments. It is responsible for the health and safety of everyone living in the United States. You might work as a liaison and travel between offices in different states to talk about outbreaks and medical conditions facing a large population. Some graduate certificate holders also work for city and county health departments and research epidemics or inspect local restaurants for signs of problems.
Hot Line Representative
Earning a graduate certificate in health communication may qualify you to work as a hot line representative or worker too. These hot lines allow patients and others to call in with questions they have. You might answer simple questions and recommend that patients contact a doctor or visit an emergency room. Other lines let those suffering from mental conditions like depression talk to a caring voice. Suicide hot lines help those contemplating suicide learn how to deal with their emotions and make better decisions. The communications skills that you develop in one of these certificate programs will help you talk to those callers.
Graduate certificate programs are an alternative for those who do not want to spend two years or more in college after earning a bachelor’s degree. With a graduate certificate in health communication, which you can finish in a year or less, you can work as a PR specialist, hot line representative, corporate manager or government liaison.