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Why You Should Specialize to Achieve Your Career Goals.

The HCA program offers several specialization areas to fit your career.

By Pamela Johnson, March 2016

Going into the HCA program in 2012, I had not given much forethought into a specific career or planned a specific career path. My bottom-line was to graduate with the Masters of Science in Health Care Administration Degree and secure employment. A degree, in my mind, qualified me to work anywhere and do anything in administration in the health care field. That is just it; obtaining such a degree presents you with infinite opportunities! In fact, I never realized that having so many career options could make job search after graduation difficult, but it has.

Decide on a Specialization and stick with it!

When Dr. Dana Hart, Health Care Administration Director at Utica, divulged that I should declare a specialization I never fully understood the significance of the conversation or how my life would later be affected by the decision to blindly change specializations several times. My specialization was no longer my specialization, in so much as, my specialization no longer met the criteria to qualify as a specialization, rather my specialization became a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Because there are so many career options in the Health Care Administration field, Utica offers several specializations that can help your job search after graduation a little less unnerving and much more focused. Specializations prepare students for leadership positions in various sectors of health care.

Health Care Administration specializations at Utica include:

How do I know which Specialization is right for me?

Students pursuing each track complete at least four classes recommended for that specialization area. After selecting a track, if you are not first aware of your strengths and weaknesses how do you know if you will be successful at any career or happy? There are three pieces of advice that I can offer based on my experience. My advice to any student is:

  • 1. Research, research, research before completing the degree and venturing forth to look for employment. Conduct online research of duties, responsibilities, and salaries.
  • 2. Complete an assessment (via UC Career Connect) to measure your weaknesses and improve your weaknesses—whether you have weaknesses in the area of time management or lack communication skills.
  • 3. Set out on a personal mission to learn more about yourself, tasks you would like to do in a profession, and tasks you would hate. This can be done through an experiential learning experience, a job shadow experience or employment.

Of course, everyone may feel like a degree qualifies them to do everything, but if while job shadowing you find out you hate performing certain tasks what have you lost except a couple of hours completing a job shadow? It’ll help you more than you realize.

About the Author

Pamela JohnsonPamela Johnson has a Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communications. She sat on the Board of Directors at Friends of Residents in Long-Term Care, was secretary and member of the Adult Care Advisory Committee, and ESL Volunteer at Interfaith Refugee Ministries.

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