While no industry is completely recession-proof, the healthcare industry has proven its strength – even in the midst of economic uncertainty. And that's good news for students at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, a specialty institution solely focused on science and healthcare disciplines.
“Our programs in the health professions are all high quality, fully-accredited programs which offer our students an interdisciplinary education with hands-on experience,” said Laurie Sherwen, PhD, Dean of Samson College of Health Sciences at University of the Sciences.
A recent analysis by U.S. News & World Report found that 21 of the 30 fastest-growing jobs are in health-related fields — a growth coming from more participation in healthcare because of the Affordable Care Act, and also because of the increasing needs of the aging boomers themselves. Because healthcare jobs continue to soar across the United States, graduate degrees in physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, and physical therapy each landed a spot on Forbes’ top 10 master’s degrees for jobs in 2014. This list was generated based off recent national statistics regarding the job climate and projected career growth for each of these fields.
Among its six academic programs, Samson College houses a physician assistant studies program, as well as occupational therapy and physical therapy programs. Each year, entry into each of these programs becomes more competitive, as application submissions continue to spike.
USciences received more than 800 applications for 40 spots in its graduate physician assistant studies program for the 2014-15 school year. In only its second year, this graduate program has doubled its size because students realize the demand for healthcare professionals will translate into jobs after graduation. USciences also offers an undergraduate physician assistant pre-professional program for students who want to start their journey to becoming a physician assistant directly after high school.
“The physician assistant profession is booming, and students of all ages and healthcare backgrounds are returning to school to become physician assistants,” said Joan Ward MS, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. “The flexibility to move into different areas of medicine without additional training also adds to the appeal of this profession.”
The University’s Department of Occupational Therapy also continues grow, and most recently bolstered its offerings by launching an online, post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy program to deliver flexible learning opportunities to individuals interested in continuing their education. USciences is one of six schools in the country with a direct-entry doctorate in occupational therapy program, in addition to offering a post-baccalaureate doctorate in occupational therapy, and a master’s of occupational therapy degree.
Lastly, the Department of Physical Therapy offers students a direct-entry doctorate of physical therapy program, as well as a transfer or post-baccalaureate doctorate of physical therapy option. The physical therapy program provides students with real-life experience through its two research labs – the Leahy Lab and the Baltimore Technology Equipment Lab – as well as its pro-bono clinic for underprivileged residents of Philadelphia.
This will be an exciting year for students enrolled in Samson College, as USciences prepares to open the doors of its new Integrated Professional Education Complex (IPEX) this fall. IPEX combines innovative learning spaces and student lounge space with simulation labs, a clinical lab, mock patient exam rooms, and conference rooms.
This building showcases an integrated education model that allows students from several disciplines – including pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise science, psychology, and healthcare business and policy – to obtain traditional and hands-on experience.
Don’t forget: The University community is encouraged to celebrate the completion of the IPEX at a special ribbon cutting ceremony and reception slated for Thursday, Sept. 18, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. This ceremony is among several events on tap during Alumni Reunion weekend (Sept. 18-21).