If you’re interested in working in the healthcare or health education industries, then a bachelor of science in health science may be the right degree for you. A health science program provides a broad overview of both the scientific and administrative aspects of healthcare, preparing students for graduate or medical school, or enabling them to find work in healthcare administration or health education roles.
What is a Degree in Health Science?
Do you want to become a doctor, dentist, physician’s assistant, occupational therapist, or chiropractor? Are you interested in working in healthcare administration for doctor’s offices, nursing homes, or hospitals? Or are your career goals more aligned with education—teaching health classes to middle and high school students or working in public health advocacy roles? If you answered yes to any of these questions, a bachelor of science in health science may be the right degree to help you achieve your goal.
A health science degree provides a broad and thorough education in many different aspects of the healthcare industry. Students take health science courses in biology, chemistry, physiology, and anatomy, teaching them the topics that are covered on the MCAT exam. But in addition to science courses, students also study healthcare administration topics and learn about the psychological and sociological aspect of health and healthcare, enabling success in administrator and educator roles.
What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Health Science?
- Introduction to Health Professions
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Healthcare Delivery
- Community and Policy Influence of Healthcare
- Critical Phases of Life
- Healthcare Economics
- Healthcare Reimbursement
- Ethical and Legal Considerations in Healthcare
What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Health Science?
Jobs in the healthcare industry are among the fastest-growing careers of our time for two reasons. First, increased availability of health insurance has allowed greater access to healthcare, increasing demand for healthcare providers. Second, the Baby Boomer generation is at or nearing retirement age, and this is expected to significantly increase the need for healthcare professionals in the next two decades as this large and aging generation will like need significant medical care due to the health problems that go along with aging.
How Long does it take?
A bachelors in Health Science will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.
Online Health Science Degree
Health science is not a popular college program as people would normally prefer other specialized healthcare degrees as nursing, pharmacy and medicine. However, it is a preferred for students who cannot afford the money or time needed to study another medical degree. There are some health science degree programs offered entirely online. This is not optimum for learning health science since it lacks the practical experience needed for the career. You may compensate this through training at related institutes. Students are required to complete around 120 credit hours to earn the bachelor degree.
*All salary and growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at BLS.gov for a Community Health Worker
What Can You Do With a Health Science Degree?
Health science is a branch of science that deals with the health of humans and animals. It is closely related to medicine but without training to medicine practice. Health science is also concerned with maintaining healthy condition instead of only focusing on treatment of diseases or health problems. The science is divided into two main parts; the research and knowledge related to health and the applications of this knowledge to improve health. There are 5 pathways in health science: diagnostics, therapeutics, health informatics, support services and biotechnology research.
What does health science student learn?
Health science involves the basic knowledge related to the delivery of health services in addition to the knowledge related to functioning of the biological systems of humans and animals. The following list shows the courses commonly taught to health science students:
- Diagnostic medicine: this course introduces the tools and guidelines for diagnosis of diseases using pathology, radiology, laboratory and physical examination.
- Nutrition: eating healthy and balanced food is one of the essential steps to maintain healthy life. Students learn about the nutritional needs related to various ages and health conditions.
- Client Diversity in health sciences: this course introduces aspects related to effective service delivery as cultural self-awareness, rules, behaviors, and biases of diverse societies.
- Complementary and alternative medicine: there is increasing trend to use alternative methods of treatments that has shown efficiency through experience for long years. This may include the use of herbal medicines, acupuncture and massage.
- Leading healthcare professionals: this course trains students for methods to lead healthcare teams which consist of diverse professionals.
- Healthcare system in the United States: the course introduces the hybrid healthcare system of the United States which does not have a national health service or a unified health insurance system.
- Healthcare informatics: this aspect emerged as an important topic with the massive growth of the available data and the capacity of information systems. This topic gained more attention after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Dealing with disability: this course introduces the social and psychological effects of disability on a person in addition to the appropriate and quality interactions with such conditions.
- Law and ethics related to healthcare professions
- Human pathophysiology
Now I have the health science degree…where can I work after graduating?
Health science is an alternative way to join healthcare teams for people who cannot afford the high cost and long time needed to complete a degree in medicine. There are several career options available for health science graduates including administrative, academic and clinical jobs. The following list shows examples for these jobs:
- Clinical jobs: cardiovascular technician, anesthesia technician, dental hygienist, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapy assistant, respiratory therapist, surgical technician, medical lab technician, EKG technologist, audiology technician, pharmacy technician, paramedic, veterinary technician, radiation therapist and Medical assistant
- Administrative jobs: registered health information technician, biomedical equipment technician, medical and health services managers, claims reviewer, health education specialist, pharmaceutical sales representative and community health specialist
Should I choose a health science degree?
Healthcare careers are personally rewarding because it relates directly with saving people’s lives and improving the health conditions and improving the quality of life in general. Additionally, working in healthcare is certainly financially rewarding compared to other careers but this is sometimes not true for health science graduates as they do not have the medical practice training. Studying health science will help you develop a number of important skills:
- Communication skills: people working in health science are always in touch with the healthcare team, patients as well as other people involved. You should always be able to communicate using clear, concise and organized language.
- Research skills: health science is a vast field of study which means that you will commonly need to search for information that you do not have. You should know how to reach the information you need.
- Stress management: working in healthcare is usually stressful and time demanding. You should be able to organize your time efficiently and prioritize your tasks to keep your daily work on track.
- Decision making: people working in healthcare commonly need to make difficult decisions particularly in situations when resources are limited compared to demand. This became obvious with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Conflict resolution
Best Jobs for Health Science Degrees
Health science majors are at an advantage because their degree provides a ton of varied career opportunities. Graduates can work as health teachers, healthcare administrators, or technicians or assistants for a wide variety of care providers. They can also continue on to graduate school to become doctors, dentists, occupational therapists, physician assistants, chiropractors, optometrists, and more.
How to save time and money
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Get an Associate’s Degree in Allied Health First
If you’re goal is to work in healthcare administration or in a technical or assistant role, you may be able to find work in the field with only an associate’s degree in allied health. Allied health associate’s degree holders can find work in the field sooner and start earning professional experience and an income. If you decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree later to qualify for entry into graduate or medical school, the credits you earned in your allied health program may transfer to reduce your required course load.