It's perhaps never been easier to get a job in cyber security in the healthcare field, thanks to the increasing importance of electronic medical records and new federal guidelines that demand greater efficiency in healthcare organizations. Greater efficiency, and the increasing availability of medical records online, means that there is simply more information on public servers that must be protected from the plight of hackers and other nefarious individuals who endeavor to compromise, steal, erase, or exploit that information and put both patients and their physicians at risk. Getting a job in this fast-growing industry requires the right combination of education, certifications, and experience, and will help tech-proficient professionals enjoy a rewarding career in the perennially strong health sector.
Educational Requirements Focus on Computer Proficiency and Data Security
Those who wish to work in health-related cyber security must have a strong computer background, primarily one that focuses on network administration, network security, and databases. Networks and databases will be the two most likely areas of focus when overseeing healthcare information security, since this is how most patient information is stored and shared via online resources. Candidates should have at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related course of study where such topics were discussed. This might include computer programming, computer science, information technology, information systems, database administration, or network security. Those who wish to stand out and be even more competitive for openings in this area should bring with them a graduate-level degree in the same fields.
These two degrees are often enough to get a foot in the door and land the position, but they may not be enough to actually maintain the position beyond the standard probationary period. Indeed, today's healthcare organizations are requiring many of their new hires to seek professional certification in a more narrow area of study that focuses uniquely on healthcare, its unique information systems, and the unique concerns associated with preventing unauthorized access to healthcare data and patient information. Professional certification will typically be required within anywhere from 90 days to one year of the employment offer. The good news is that such certifications typically do not expire and will travel with candidates even if they switch jobs and move to a new employer.
Other Cyber Security Experience Can Enhance a Candidate's Profile
Since the stakes are so high in healthcare information security, many hospitals and clinics will want to hire only those candidates who have a history of protecting sensitive data from the outside world. For this reason, those who are most likely to be hired typically have worked in cyber security for state or federal agencies, private corporations, or in a freelance consulting capacity immediately prior to their employment with a health industry employer.
To bypass this common requirement, students who are currently enrolled in a computer-related program can opt to intern with cyber security programs at local hospitals. This type of related experience may well make it easier to land a job in cyber security for healthcare organizations immediately after graduation, bypassing other candidates and moving directly into the industry without delay.
Related Resource: Practice Manger in Healthcare
Explosive Growth in Cyber Security is Good News for Interested Applicants
Jobs in cyber security are getting more numerous by the day, thanks to increasingly electronic availability of all kinds of information. According to The Washington Post, those who wish to get a job in cyber security in the healthcare field should bring with them related experience, advanced degrees, and a thorough understanding of the importance of keeping this information away from the public eye.