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Ohio University prepares students to succeed in state’s most critical careers

Published: August 27, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently released a list of the most in-demand and critical jobs in the state, and Ohio University is well-positioned to provide training for many of them.

DeWine released a list of the top jobs in the state of Ohio, including both in-demand jobs, as well as newly created, critical jobs. The list includes the following career clusters: children and community health; early childhood education; first responders; lead abatement; mental and behavioral health; nursing; physicians; and wellness research and technology.

“Ohio’s Top Jobs are critical to the long-term health and well-being of our state, our communities, and our families,” DeWine said in a release announcing the top jobs. “These are also positions that are available now. We’re looking for Ohioans who want to serve their communities as early childhood educators, first responders, and health care providers.”

The list of critical jobs was identified through the help of experts and stakeholders in eight career clusters.

As an institution aimed at intellectual and personal development of its students, leading students to succeed in their goals and use their knowledge to help build a better community, Ohio University recognizes the importance of having programs and faculty that teach students how to succeed in these in-demand fields. Out of the career clusters Gov. DeWine lists, Ohio University is well positioned to prepare students for the most critical jobs in Ohio in almost every aspect.

“OHIO is committed to providing students with the best education and experiences possible in order for them to succeed in their careers and in life,” President M. Duane Nellis said. “Knowing that the programs we offer, taught by amazing faculty, are preparing them to be leaders in some of the most in-demand jobs in Ohio continues to drive us in developing the best opportunities for our students to achieve their goals and build a better community.”

Children and Community Health

Children & Community Health

OHIO offers multiple programs aimed at children and community health throughout several colleges. The College of Health Sciences and Professions offers students the opportunity to learn and specialize in programs such as Child and Family Studies, Community and Public Health, and Social Work.

“Ohio University’s Department of Social and Public Health (DSPH) offers undergraduate degrees in many of the fields noted within Ohio’s 'Top Jobs' list, including Community and Public Health and a nationally-accredited Environmental Health program," said Dr. Michele Morrone, interim director of DSPH within the College of Health Sciences and Professions. "The need for public health professionals is very high right now. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we expect these careers to continue to be in demand for years to come."

Along with the multiple tracks to pursue listed above, OHIO also offers students the chance at pursuing a career in community health with a focus on environmental health through the Bachelor of Science in Public Health. This unique program trains students to become problem solvers, seeking ways to protect workers and the community from potential health threats while working within fiscal realities and changing priorities. Society continues to fight against climate change and protect the environment, and this program allows students to do that by providing students with the skills necessary to protect public health by preventing diseases related to water, food, waste, chemicals, radiation and other environmental factors.

“Ohio University offers a strong foundation in the science coursework and advising support for students planning to pursue careers in health care,” Pre-Health Advisor Ann Lacomb said. “The commitment students make to years of undergraduate, graduate, and continued education in order to serve their communities as health care providers is inspiring. Ohio University is a great place to start working toward meeting those requirements.”

Mental Health

Mental & Behavioral Health

In recent years, mental and behavioral health has become talked about and treated more as a public health crisis than ever. The College of Arts and Sciences, specifically the Department of Psychology, offers undergraduate programs both on campus and online in psychology that help advance students interested in careers in mental and behavioral health. Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Studies Susan Tice-Alicke said students have a selection of a diverse curriculum, as well as experiential learning opportunities in research and fieldwork that provide the necessary foundation for graduate level training required to become mental healthcare providers.

Students have the opportunity to train in various sections of mental and behavioral health such as health psychology, social judgement and behavioral decision making, intervention, and clinical and experimental psychology.

Along with the various undergraduate degrees and opportunities, OHIO also gives students the chance to obtain their masters and doctoral degrees, as well as take part in research being done directly at the University.

“Mental and behavioral health is crucial to the physical health and well-being of Ohioans as well as one’s productivity as an employee and active member of society,” Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training Julie Suhr said. “Mental healthcare providers in Ohio include clinical and counseling psychologists (who have doctoral degrees in psychology), as well as licensed independent social workers, licensed professional counselors, and licensed professional clinical counselors, who have master’s degrees in psychology, counselor education, and related fields.”

OHIO’s College of Health Sciences and Professions also offers students the chance to make a difference in mental and behavioral health through the Communication Sciences and Disorders, School of Rehabilitation and Communication Studies. Through this nationally-ranked program, students can earn their bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in speech-language pathology and audiology. The unique curriculum combines classroom study, laboratory work and clinical experience and service learning opportunities to students so they are able to work directly in the field.

Nursing White Coat


Nursing is one of the most in-demand and critical jobs in our current climate. What sets OHIO apart in providing students an education in nursing is the amount of options offered to make accomplishing this degree possible.

The College of Health Sciences and Professions offers both on-campus and online degrees in nursing, with OHIO’s Online RN to BSN ranking as one of the best in the nation and offering students the opportunity to receive their BSN in Nursing while living their busy lives working as nurses. Aside from the BSN program, OHIO also offers an online Master of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice program, as well as several certificates.

"Licensed registered nurses are currently in great demand, and 9 million more nurses will be needed by 2030 according to the World Health Organization," said Dr. Deborah Henderson, director of Ohio University's School of Nursing within the College of Health Sciences and Professions. "OHIO's School of Nursing offers the best educational opportunities, from our online RN to BSN program to our advanced practice MSN and DNP offerings, expert faculty and strong licensure and certification success rates, needed to prepare the world's next generation of nursing professionals."



OHIO’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine trains primary care physicians and other high-need specialists for communities of greatest need, especially in Ohio, with nearly 60 percent of Heritage College alumni practicing in Ohio, and nearly half practicing in primary care.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored what Ohio University has always known: that the vibrancy of communities across our state directly correlates to the vibrancy of their health care teams,” Ken Johnson, D.O., chief medical affairs officer of Ohio University and executive dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, said. “To this end, Ohio University is actively preparing students in a wide variety of heath fields to address the state's most pervasive health care needs. We take pride in the fact that the majority of our graduates choose to stay, serve and practice in Ohio." 

The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree (DO) program provides a transformative approach to training future physicians that takes into account the latest thinking on education best practice; mirrors the holistic, patient-centered approach that trademarks osteopathic medicine; instills in students the team-based outlook that’s reshaping modern health care; and values the healer’s wellness along with the patient’s.

The Heritage College’s Transformative Care Continuum, developed in partnership with Cleveland Clinic, adapts medical education to meet the needs of rapidly changing, 21st century health care systems, fundamentally changing the way physicians are trained. Eight students from the Cleveland campus are selected annually for this accelerated program, which places participants at their future residency site from the first days of medical school. The Heritage College is also one of 32 medical schools nationwide that are test-piloting new ways to educate future physicians as members of the American Medical Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium.

Students also have the opportunity to expand their medical education with dual-degree offerings designed to increase their personal and professional development through partnerships with other OHIO Colleges such as D.O./Ph.D., D.O./M.B.A. (business), D.O./M.B.M.E. (biomedical engineering), D.O./M.P.H. (public health) and D.O./M.G.H. (global health).

Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

OHIO’s Patton College of Education prepares students through the bachelor’s degree program in Early Childhood Education for licensure for preschool to grade five. The program blends traditional coursework with clinical experiences and has been recognized by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) as one of the nation’s best.

The Patton College’s Early Childhood program provides unmatched content knowledge and one-on-one attention from highly respected faculty and mentor teachers; partners with local schools to provide innovative and immersive experiences that begin in the sophomore year and continue throughout the program; connects teacher candidates with the Child Development Center, an on-campus early childhood laboratory; provides two professional internship opportunities that create extensive clinical opportunities across the licensure grade band; and prepares teacher candidates to teach across settings.

Wellness Research

Wellness Research & Technology

Advancement in technology, especially in wellness technology, is ever-growing and needed to keep communities safe. Through the Heritage College’s Translational Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Program, students are trained to translate basic research effectively into enhanced health care outcomes for the entire population in fields such as biomedical research, bioengineering, drug development, informatics, communications, health policy and planning.

As a trans- and inter-disciplinary program, the purpose of this program is to prepare individuals to lead the implementation of the patient-centered health care of the 21st century. Existing research and educational strengths at Ohio University, such as the Diabetes Institute, the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute and the Edison Biotechnology Institute, are ideally suited to accommodate the innovative, cross-disciplinary nature. When the program first began in 2014, it was the first of its kind in the state and has continued to grow and put emphasis on the rapidly growing field that seeks to improve the health of individuals by turning discoveries into diagnostic tools, medicines, procedures, policies and education.

The program transcends the model of a traditional disciplinary program, creating a flexible student-learning environment with a curriculum focusing on translational core competencies, specific, individualized, knowledge content and research skills.

OHIO’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology is also training students to develop useful new technology for the health care industry that will allow hospitals to keep costs down and treat more patients. Through the Industrial and Systems Engineering program, students develop methods to make best use of the resources in hospitals, such as operating rooms, diagnostic equipment, and workers. Through supporting the efforts of health care workers by making systems and programming more efficient, students not only walk away with knowledge in engineering but go to work in the health care industry.