What Can You Do with a Doctor of Medical Science Degree?

Professionals wanting to enter the healthcare field have many career directions to choose from. From clinical work to healthcare administration, proper education is the key to advancing your career regardless of your path. If you’re looking for a degree to bridge the gap between clinical work and organizational leadership, a Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) degree is a great option. Read on to learn more about what you can do with a DMSc degree.

What’s a DMSc Degree?

A Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) is a professional doctorate that provides advanced training in healthcare leadership. As opposed to a PhD, or academic doctorate, a professional doctorate gives you additional education and training in a specific field. A typical DMSc degree program builds critical thinking, accounting, managerial, and strategic thinking skills by exploring the structure and dynamics of the healthcare system.

Many DMSc degrees are tailored to physician assistants who have experience working with patients and navigating a healthcare environment. However, there are a number of programs that accept a variety of healthcare professionals. For example, at Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences, the DMSc degree is available to any individual in the healthcare field who hopes to expand their knowledge and skills to advance their career.

Job Opportunities for DMSc Graduates

What you can do with a DMSc degree depends on your personal and professional goals. Your chosen program should provide you with the core skill sets needed to succeed in leadership positions. From there, you can explore individual specializations based on your interests. For example, Northeastern’s program offers the following concentrations in the second year of the program:

  • Health Informatics (Practice): The increasing availability of health data has made it essential for leaders to have advanced knowledge of analytical decision-making, information systems, and data applications.
  • Health Informatics (Research): By combining data and systems analysis with empirical research, healthcare professionals can develop new methods of capturing, assessing, and applying health data.
  • Health Law: To become skilled administrators and patient advocates, graduates need a thorough understanding of healthcare-related legal issues, regulatory standards, data privacy, employee rights, and organizational management.
  • Business Management for Healthcare: A business concentration provides further training in core management and strategic planning skills, such as finance, business landscape analysis, and health informatics.
  • Public Health: Tailored to professionals interested in advocacy and community engagement, public health courses focus on assessing public policies, urban health initiatives, and cultural considerations.
  • Pharmacy and Health Systems Sciences: By diving deeper into pharmacy practice, graduates can learn how clinical research and evidence-based medicine inform the pharmaceutical industry and patient care.
  • Interdisciplinary: For a customized education, students can integrate courses from different concentrations to focus on the skills most relevant to their career goals.

“When I think of five people going through this program, five people are going to emerge from the program with completely separate skill sets that enable them to enter different niches based upon where they want to enter their careers,” says Trenton Honda, associate dean for the School of Clinical and Rehabilitation Sciences at Bouvé College of Health Sciences.

Healthcare Leadership Positions

Leadership roles offer countless benefits, including long-term growth and professional flexibility. Job growth in this industry is also expected to increase by 28 percent over the next decade, making healthcare management a sound career choice for those wanting upward mobility. Here are three leadership roles to consider.

1. Executive Positions

The highest-ranking leadership positions in healthcare are C-suite executives, such as chief medical officers, chief financial officers, and executive directors. Usually, these professionals are either physicians or business administrators with years of managerial experience. Executives may have a broad directorial role, such as sales, or a narrow concentration, such as financial accounting, corporate compliance, or clinical specialties. Regardless of the specific role, all executive jobs aim to create a strategic roadmap for the rest of the organization.

2. Management Positions

Upper and middle management roles provide the perfect opportunity to level up progressively in your career. Depending on the organization, these roles may involve managing a team, board, department, multiple departments, or an entire facility. As a result, healthcare managers can broaden their experience by working in a variety of healthcare settings and overseeing teams of various sizes.

Healthcare managers often find employment in hospitals, clinics, and nursing care facilities but can also manage healthcare-related operations for insurance providers, schools and colleges, technology companies, medical research facilities, nonprofits, government agencies, and more. While responsibilities vary by specialization, managers generally handle day-to-day operations and implement policies and procedures based on the guidance of executive leadership.

3. Advocacy Positions

Advocacy professionals develop policies and best practices that influence patient outcomes, occupational development, workers’ rights, and public health. Healthcare leadership jobs in advocacy are best suited for professionals who want to shape the future of healthcare and make an impact on a larger scale.

Career Advancement

The greatest benefit of a DMSc degree is that it can open doors to leadership roles previously less attainable for non-physicians. If your current career offers few options for advancement, earning a doctoral degree is a good way to take what you already know and use it to expand upon your skills.

While Northeastern’s DMSc program prepares you for healthcare administration, the strategic and operational knowledge you’ll gain from this degree is valuable for any type of organizational leadership. Building a highly sought-after, transferable skill set can increase your career options and make you stand out in a competitive job market.

How to Advance Your Career with a DMSc Degree

The greatest benefit of a DMSc degree is that it can open the door to leadership roles that were previously less attainable for non-physicians. If your current career offers few options for advancement, earning a doctoral degree is a good way to take what you already know and use it to expand upon your skills.

Find a Program That Meets Your Needs

Finding the right program is critical when deciding to further your education. Northeastern’s DMSc in Healthcare Leadership is the first of its kind offered by a leading R1-rated research university. It’s also unique in the fact that it is open to any individual with a background in a healthcare field rather than exclusive to physician assistants.

You’ll want to do your research to ensure whichever program you choose fits your background, interests, and goals. You’ll also want to consider program length, modality, costs, and the availability of scholarships or graduate assistantships.

Try to have your personal criteria worked out before you start comparing schools. By speaking with an admissions counselor, you can find out if the program structure has worked well in the past for students in a similar situation. “Contact the schools you’re interested in and talk to a representative,” says Robert M. Baginski, MD, program director of the Doctor of Medical Science in Healthcare Leadership at the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. “Don’t just email back and forth. Set up a meeting, talk to them, and ask your list of questions.”

Develop Your Skill Set

Consider your current professional qualifications and how much time and money you’re able to invest in your education. The right program will equip you with the necessary skills for advancing your career.

No matter what role you currently hold in healthcare, it’s best to take business administration courses to develop any skills that are difficult to learn on the job. Northeastern’s Doctor of Medical Science in Healthcare Leadership can help any aspiring healthcare leader develop competencies in core areas such as operations analysis, strategic planning, healthcare economics, organizational efficiency, finance, and public health policy.

Excel in your Current Role

You should always learn your job top to bottom before you move on, Baginski says. Then, move on to get the education you need.

“Very often, you start by volunteering. You volunteer your time, join that committee, attend that meeting. That’s what you need to do. Let them recognize you, make substantive contributions in those meetings or in those committees, and then go ahead and apply,” he says.

Get Started Today

If you’re looking to advance your career toward healthcare leadership, a DMSc degree is a great way to open yourself up to new opportunities. If you’re interested in a program like Northeastern’s Doctor of Medical Science in Healthcare Leadership, consider contacting an admissions counselor to discuss any questions you may have before enrolling.

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