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WESTERN GOVERNORS UNIVERSITY Comparing Healthcare Undergraduate Degrees

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Do You Want a Career in Healthcare?

If so, you might be exploring your healthcare degree options. While nursing is a popular degree choice, there are more specialized programs to consider as well. Whether you’re passionate about patient care, technology, or management, WGU offers a number of healthcare degree paths that can align with your interests and skills.

Explore WGU’s online healthcare undergraduate degree programs below and learn more about your options.

Comparing Healthcare Bachelor’s Degrees at WGU

Nursing Programs

WGU offers two pathways to a bachelor’s degree in nursing—the RN-to-BSN and prelicensure nursing programs.

Group of Healthcare Professionals Using Laptop Computer

RN-to-BSN

This degree program is designed to help current registered nurses (RN) further their education and earn a bachelor's degree. It builds on knowledge gained in an RN program with more complex and specialized subjects, such as evidence-based practice, leadership, and community health. It can be a great option for current RNs looking for a flexible, reputable, and affordable program.

Female doctor working with laptop.

Prelicensure

WGU's prelicensure pathway allows you to earn licensure as an RN and earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in one program. The curriculum covers topics such as mental health, medical dosage calculations, critical care nursing, and more. Upon graduation, you’ll earn a BSN and meet the requirements to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. You must then pass the exam to become a licensed registered nurse.

WGU’s prelicensure program is open to a limited number of RNs and only available in select states: Texas, New Mexico, Florida, Indiana, Utah, and Nevada.

Who Should Pursue a BSN?

For nurses who enjoy direct patient care, aim for career longevity, and want to advance in their industry, a BSN is a crucial step to achieving those goals. Many hospitals look for nurses with BSNs when they’re staffing, and in some states, a BSN is required to become a full-time nurse. It’s also a key component to stepping into senior leadership roles.

Nursing (RN-to-BSN Online) – B.S.

An online BSN degree program for registered nurses (RNs) seeking...

An online BSN degree program for registered...

An online BSN degree program for registered nurses (RNs) seeking the added theoretical depth, employability, and respect that a bachelor's degree brings:

  • Time: 66% of graduates finish within 18 months.
  • Tuition and Fees: $3,795 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.
  • Transfers: On average, students transfer 81 credits.

With over 35,000 BSN alumni, this is one of WGU's most popular online degree programs. View our RN to BSN degree guide.

If you don't currently have an RN and don't qualify for your nursing prelicensure program, consider getting our Bachelor's Degree in Health Services Coordination instead. This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry in a unique way.

Nursing (RN-to-BSN Online) – B.S.

An online BSN degree program for registered nurses (RNs) seeking...

An online BSN degree program for registered...

An online BSN degree program for registered nurses (RNs) seeking the added theoretical depth, employability, and respect that a bachelor's degree brings:

  • Time: 66% of graduates finish within 18 months.
  • Tuition and Fees: $3,795 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.
  • Transfers: On average, students transfer 81 credits.

With over 35,000 BSN alumni, this is one of WGU's most popular online degree programs. View our RN to BSN degree guide.

If you don't currently have an RN and don't qualify for your nursing prelicensure program, consider getting our Bachelor's Degree in Health Services Coordination instead. This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry in a unique way.

Healthcare Management Programs

If you earn your BSN, there are many career paths open to you, including:

Health Information Management

This program is all about keeping patient data and information safe, organized, and accessible. The curriculum provides a solid foundation in computer information systems and technology for healthcare organizations. Coursework in data analytics, health systems, and security will teach you how to handle patient and financial data. WGU’s health information management program also provides a simulation experience that gives you a glimpse into how HIM operates and functions in the real world.

Who Should Pursue a Health Information Management Degree?

If direct patient care isn’t your passion but health and technology are, a health information management degree is a great intersection of these two fields. Because there’s a strong statistical and information technology component to this field, this degree works best with people who have experience or interest in these subjects. 

Health Information Management – B.S.

A program designed for future leaders in HIM:...

A program designed for future leaders in HIM:...

A program designed for future leaders in HIM:

  • Time: 60% of grads earned this degree in 36 months or less.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,795 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.

Some careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Director of informatics
  • HIMS chief
  • Information systems auditor
  • Outpatient coder
  • Health records manager

This CAHIIM-accredited program makes you eligible for the RHIA exam. 

Compare with B.S. Business – Healthcare Management

Medical staff sit around a conference table discussing business things.

Healthcare Management

Because this program is more directly focused on the business side of healthcare, it sits within WGU’s business college. WGU’s healthcare management degree will help you get the medical understanding you need, as well as give you business fundamentals that will enable you to run medical facilities effectively. The coursework in this program includes topics such as human resources, healthcare management, business management, healthcare data, and more.

Who Should Pursue a Healthcare Management Degree?

Every healthcare organization needs to be run with strong business principles in order to be successful, and healthcare managers are the people who make it happen. If you want to help people on their healthcare journey, but aren’t interested in directly working with their medical needs, a healthcare management degree could be a good option for you.

Healthcare Management – B.S. Business Administration

You can become a healthcare industry leader:...

You can become a healthcare industry leader:...

You can become a healthcare industry leader:


Compare with B.S. Health Information Management

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 35 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Health information manager
  • Community service manager
  • Clinical manager
  • Medical records manager
  • Social service manager

The online courses in this career-focused business degree program will prepare you with management-level skills and an up-to-date understanding of our healthcare delivery system.

Healthcare Management Career Outcomes

If you earn your healthcare management degree, there are many career paths open to you, including:

White IT Professional Man Sitting and Smiling at Desktop Computer

Health Services Coordination

The health services program readies students for responsibilities in patient-focused healthcare, communication, leadership, care coordination and more. It includes instruction in value-based care, social determinants in health, and care coordination. Graduates of this program are prepared to help patients in other areas of their care, beyond physical healing. They’re able to navigate patients through a complex health system, assisting with everything from insurance, provider referrals, medical resources, and appointments.

Who Should Pursue a Health Services Coordination Degree?

This program is geared toward those who want to help patients but don’t necessarily want to be a doctor or nurse, or have a job focused on physical patient care. If you consider yourself highly organized, are an excellent communicator, and can work well under pressure, you might want to consider a degree in health services coordination.

Health Services Coordination – B.S.

An online health degree program for students passionate about...

An online health degree program for students...

An online health degree program for students passionate about value-based care and dedicated to helping others.

  • Time: 60% of graduates of similar programs finish within 3 years.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,795 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.

Sample careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Care coordinator
  • Patient advocate
  • Health services coordinator
  • Patient educator
  • Community health educator

This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry, while also directly working with patients who need help.

Health Services Coordination Career Outcomes

If you earn your health services coordination degree, there are many career paths open to you, including:

Young health-profession students take notes during a lecture.

What Program is Right for You?

It ultimately comes down to your interests and career aspirations. Ask yourself:

Do I want to work directly with patients?

Am I interested in helping people navigate their medical journey?

Do I see myself in a management role?  

Is technology something that interests me?  

Wherever you land on these questions, the good news is, WGU has a healthcare degree program that will connect with your passions and prepare you for the career you desire.

What Do WGU's Programs Have in Common?

Whichever degree you choose, there is a wide variety of career opportunities open to students of both degree programs. There are also major benefits associated with pursuing a degree program with WGU, including a flexible schedule, coursework and lessons that are fully accessible online, affordable options for every student, and more.  Either the master of science program or the MBA program in IT management from WGU can help you achieve your goals—it just depends on your experience and what you want your future to be.

Online Classes

You can do your coursework at night after working at your full-time job, on weekends, while you're traveling the world or on vacation—it's entirely up to you.

Flexibility

You’re in control of your schedule and your schooling so you can continue with your job and family needs and do your coursework when the timing is right for you.

Competency-Based Education

You advance by demonstrating that you've mastered the course subject matter—whether you learned it through your study at WGU or picked up that knowledge through work experience.

WGU Alumni Shine on the Job

They're Prepared

97% said that their WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs

97% of employers said that WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.

They're Top Candidates

95% said they would hire another WGU graduate

95% of employers said they would hire another WGU graduate.

They Wow

98% of employers said WGU graduates meet or exceed expectations

98% of employers said WGU graduates met or exceeded expectations.

Source: 2021 Harris Poll survey of 300 employers