Earning the bachelor of life care planning degree prepares students to enter a growing healthcare field. Life care planning is about helping patients to make better informed decisions concerning their own health. These patients are usually facing catastrophic health problems caused by injuries, chronic illnesses, psychological and neurological difficulties, and long term disabilities. In order to provide the best service possible, the life care planner must act as a social worker, health care provider, and advocate all at the same time. Teaching students how to do this job well is the primary goal of life care planning programs offered through universities and colleges across the United States*.
The majority of people who are pursuing a bachelor of life care planning degree are already healthcare professionals. Many are nurses, social workers, case managers, psychologists, etc., who have decided to specialize further by studying life care related issues*. The bachelor programs are standard four year college degree programs that lead to either the Bachelor of Science or art degree. Since many students in these programs have already completed coursework at other institutions, the credit hours for previous work may be transferred and the degree may often be earned in less than four years’ time.
Anywhere from 120-135 credit hours are required for the completion of the degree. This includes work in core areas of study, as well as general educational coursework and electives chosen by the student under the supervision of a faculty member. Typical courses cover subjects such as vocational rehabilitation, psychological issues of the disabled, social security disability and worker's compensation laws, and more. The varied coursework is meant to foster a full understanding of the complex issues faced by patients who require life planning services**.
Common career choices for graduates include working as patient advocates, consultants, case managers and more. According to a survey of members of the Certified Life Care Planners organization, the salary for consultants can range from $75 up to $150 per hour. Those who are employed by clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations may earn a salary similar to that of social workers***.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a dramatic increase in the number of job openings within the next ten years for healthcare service managers, of which life planners are included. The increase is due to the rise in the number of elderly patients as the baby boomer generation grows older. Over time, many of these people may need to make difficult choices as to their own care and treatment options which experienced life planners may help them make.
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*For more information, please visit: http://www.healthcarepathway.com/Health-Care-Careers/Life-Care-Planner.html#admindo
**For more information, please visit: http://law.capital.edu/LifeCarePlannerCourses/
***For more information, please visit: http://www.valpar.com/curriculum.html