Health Science Major
Health Science is exactly what it sounds like—it’s the application of science for health purposes. There are a wide variety of subsets within health science, common ones being neurology, pediatrics, acupuncture, physical therapy, oncology, and nutrition. There are also two sides to this area of study: research and application. Many health science majors plan to take on clinician roles such as becoming a physician, which require postgraduate education.
Studying health science doesn’t have to directly result in working at a medical facility or research center. Keep in mind that there are other facets to this industry and the need for artists and writers with medical knowledge is significant. Anatomical drawings and healthcare instructions are invaluable. Computer science can be applied to the databases hospitals use, while medical ethics is always a great option for philosophy majors.
This 2-year program will offer an introductory curriculum to biology and chemistry, public health, medical ethics, and anatomy and physiology. You can also focus on a specific aspect of health science, such as administration, and begin work immediately upon graduation. Entry level positions are open in most fields with an associate’s, however.
Positions available after completing an associate’s in health science include: Medical Record Administrator, Medical Secretary/Clerical Worker, Histological Technician, Medical Laboratory Technician, Human Services, Dental Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician, Medical Assistant, Surgical Technologist/Technician, Pharmacy Technician, Radiation Therapist, Radiographer, Respiratory Therapist/Technician, Cardiovascular Technology, Electroencephalograph (EEG) Technician, Optician/Ophthalmic Dispenser, Optometric Assistant.
In a 4-year health science baccalaureate program, you can expect to delve deeper into the same subjects as an associate’s, but with much more depth. Curriculum will also include medical terminology, epidemiology, and issues in contemporary healthcare, as well. One of the largest perks of opting for a baccalaureate over the associate’s is the access to laboratory facilities, meaning that research options will be more available.
Career paths with a bachelor’s degree include: Community Health Organizer, Health Educator, Patient Educator, Cardiovascular technician, Anesthesia Technician, Registered Health Information Technician, Surgical Technician, Respiratory Therapist, Occupational Therapy Assistant. Cytotechnologist, Specialist in Blood Bank Technology, Biomedical Photographer, Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Dental Hygienist, Dietetic Technician, Dietitian, Organ Transplant Coordinator, Funeral Director, Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Sonographer, Exercise Scientist, Music Therapist, Prosthetics, Orthotics, Perfusionist, Athletic Trainer. Salaries vary widely at this level and are anywhere between $34,000 and $84,000, depending on field and program.
The master’s level of education in health sciences (MHS) will likely give you the authority to hold a therapy position, such as an occupational or physical therapist. Master’s degrees in health science can typically be completed in two years and often result in higher salaries within the industry. The curriculum will focus heavily on a specified concentration, some of which include: healthcare risk management, clinical research, generalist, healthcare promotion and education, biostatistics, mental health, immunology, healthcare leadership, sports medicine, healthcare policy, reproductive biology, microbiology, and epidemiology.
Career paths after obtaining a master’s in health science are wide and varied. If a medical degree is the goal, applying to medical school would be next. Options with a master’s include: working in public health or health policy, maternal or child health, informatics, becoming a Health Educator or Health Services Manager, a Health Sciences Writer or Librarian, or a Biomedical Illustrator, or work in Healthcare Administration or Environmental Health. You can also consider positions such as: Speech/Language Pathologist, Holistic Therapist, Drama Therapist, Dance/Movement Therapist, Audiologist, Art Therapist, Toxicologist, Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Social Worker.
The Doctor of Health Sciences degree, D.H.Sc., is specifically for teaching and leadership positions within the field. This relatively recent degree (first introduced in 2000) is designed to prepare practitioners and administrators to implement solutions to health care issues. It retains that primary goal today.
Career paths for graduates with a D.H.Sc. include: Health Specialties Educator, Clinical Researcher, Medical and Health Service Manager, Biostatician, Psychologist.