Since the start of the pandemic, many standard health care appointments have been conducted over video chat, requiring health care professionals such as nurses to develop telehealth skills. Our researchers’ analysis of job postings reflects the growing need for health care practitioners to possess telehealth skills. From February 2020 to December 2020, demand for professionals with telehealth skills increased about 14% per month, far outpacing the 1.7% per month growth in demand for these professionals from February 2019 to December 2019.
Experts agree the increase of telemedicine in day-to-day health care will continue past the pandemic. Telemedicine has made care more accessible for people who may not be able to otherwise attend an appointment due to disability or distance, and health care providers are unlikely to go back. Developing telehealth skills through degree programs or professional development opportunities prepares health care professionals to meet new job demands—and could provide a revenue opportunity for colleges and universities.
Growth in demand for master’s-level professionals with telehealth skills
Job postings per month in the U.S.
Employer demand for professionals with telehealth skills increased across all degree levels, but employer demand for these skills increased most in job postings for professionals with a master’s degree. Incorporating telehealth skills into existing master’s-level health programs or offering professional development courses will provide students with the skills they need to stay competitive in an evolving health care field. For comparison, there was a 1.69% increase per month in demand for all professionals with telehealth skills from February 2019 to December 2019.
Average monthly change in job postings for professionals with telehealth skills
Februrary 2020 - December 2020
Develop courses, embedded in degrees or standalone, to confer in-demand telehealth skills
To meet current and future market demands, current students and health professionals may seek opportunities to cultivate telehealth skills. Consider offering these skills via a certificate or other short-format program. A shorter, less expensive, non-credit certificate or single course conferring telehealth skills can attract professionals wanting to stay competitive in an evolving labor market without enrolling in a full degree program.
Ensure your course or certificate meets adult student needs in terms of flexibility and cost. The nursing school at the University of Pennsylvania, for example, offers a two-hour, online course providing the foundations of telemedicine for anyone working in health care. The course covers topics such as types of telehealth applications and issues related to licensure and workflow.
Target nursing and clinical roles
At each degree level, the top occupations for which employers seek professionals with telehealth skills is either “registered nurses” or “nurse practitioners,” indicating a course conferring telehealth skills may find success in a nursing school.
Between February 2020 and December 2020, the top job titles1 employers request telehealth skills from include nurse practitioners, psychiatrists and mental health counselors, and physicians.
Top 5 bachelor's-level job titles
- Telehealth clinical technicians
- Telehealth coordinators
- Behavior interventionalists
- Virtual healthcare recruiters
- Telehealth registered nurses
Top 5 master's-level job titles
- Nurse practitioners
- Advanced practice registered nurses
- Licensed clinical social workers
- Physicians assistants
- Telehealth coordinators
Top 5 doctoral-level job titles
- Primary care physicians
- Telemedicine physicians
- Licensed mental health professionals
- Telehealth coordinators
1 Occupations serve as broader categories which encompass a myriad of more specific job titles, which offer further insight into roles needing telehealth skills.
Job spotlight: “Telehealth coordinators”
The job title “telehealth coordinators” ranks among the titles posted for professionals with telehealth skills with a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. Job postings for telehealth coordinators require applicants to be knowledgeable of health policy as well as telehealth processes. One job posting requests those applying for the position have an “…awareness of management discussions, decisions, and policy-making concerning Telehealth and rural health.”
Market a telehealth offering to social work and health care administration professionals
The majority of titles and occupations from which employers seek telehealth skills are clinical health roles. But employers also express demand for “mental health and substance abuse social workers” and “medical and health services managers” with telehealth skills, signaling the basics of telehealth may be valuable to a variety of professionals. Consider marketing a professional development opportunity focused on telehealth to individuals in social work, health care administration, and other non-clinical roles.
COVID-19 has pushed the health care industry to change the way patients and health care professionals interact. By providing health care professionals with the skills needed to succeed in the current market, institutions also have an opportunity to grow their health care program portfolios and potentially, revenue.
Understand the impact of COVID-19 on the
adult learner mindset
EAB recently surveyed more than 1,000 current and prospective students to help our partners better understand these changing dynamics and their implications for enrollment strategy.