Jackie Maier knew it was time to go back to school. A licensed physical therapist assistant for a company in Northern Virginia, she was beginning to take on managerial responsibilities, but it had become clear that her path to promotion would be blocked unless she earned a four-year degree. “I had the experience, but not the credential to go with it,” she says.
Thanks to the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, advancement is now within her grasp. Maier will be among the first students to graduate with a UVA Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management (BPHM) degree in May 2018.
Maier says the program was the ideal choice for her because it allowed her to transfer all the credits she earned from her associate’s degree in applied science. That wasn’t the case at other universities in the Washington area. Another advantage: with the exception of a few, brief on-Grounds experiences, the BPHM is an online program, which she appreciated given the uncertainty of her work schedule.
Most importantly, Maier wanted a program that would give her a broad perspective on health care to complement the technical focus on her associate’s degree. “I was looking for a program that was management-based rather than technological in focus,” she says. “The BPHM program met that standard, with courses in areas like the economics of health care, quality improvement and customer service, and legal and ethical decision-making.”
Once Maier began taking classes, she realized that an added advantage was the contact she had with her professors and fellow students. “The faculty are deeply engaged on an everyday basis with their students,” she says. “And interacting with classmates working in different parts of health care was eye-opening. I came away with insight that I might not have gained into a range of health care challenges.”