Health Sciences Degrees: Studying Biomedical Systems

Health science degree programs help prepare students for careers in the health care industry or for graduate studies in health-related fields. The development of health science programs has required figuring out what kind of undergraduate training a student should receive, especially since many health care jobs now need a graduate degree, all of which can be attained from an accredited school or college. As a result, the degree is often interdisciplinary and can go by other names, such as health science, biomedical sciences or physiology. Health degrees remain popular because of the flexibility of career choices it provides for college graduates. Students can either choose a specialization or take classes that will give them a general background for health they can later use to pursue careers in medicine, pharmaceuticals, dentistry or public health.

Health Science Degree Information

Health sciences programs help prepare students for careers in the health care industry or for graduate studies in health-related fields. The development of health science programs has required figuring out what kind of undergraduate training a student should receive, especially since many health care jobs now need a graduate degree, all of which can be attained from an accredited school or college. As a result, the degree is often interdisciplinary and can go by other names, such as health science, biomedical sciences or physiology.

One of the reasons health degrees are becoming more popular is the flexibility of career choices after college. Students can either choose a specialization or take classes that will give them a general background for health they can later use to pursue careers in medicine, pharmaceuticals, dentistry or public health.

Coursework

Coursework includes classes in biology, mathematics and chemistry, along with more specialized courses with a focus on human anatomy, neuroscience, microbiology, physiology, gerontology, medical terminology, quantitative methods, nutrition, occupational health, statistics, science writing and bioethics. Health science majors do not usually take the advanced courses in botany and invertebrate biology because the focus is on human biology.

Other classes focus on patient care, medical research and health promotion and education. The courses a health science student takes will ultimately depend on their concentration. For example, many programs have a track that a student follows for a career in something specific within the realm of health care, such as public health administration or physical therapy.

Earning a Degree Online

While earning a health degree online is not impossible, it is difficult because it requires an interactive learning experience in labs. Health administration degrees are more feasible and are available at a number of online educational institutions.

Online degrees allow students the flexibility of studying on their own time and from any location with an Internet connection. Check with the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools to make sure the online programs are accredited. Also, look into community colleges that offer an associate's degree in two years that can be transferred to another school.

Bachelor Of Science In Health Sciences

The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences is designed to prepare students who are interested in furthering careers in medicine, public health or biomedical research. Courses will include basic sciences along with molecular, cellular and developmental biology. Some universities offering undergraduate programs in health science include Stony Brook University, University of Colorado, University of California Santa Cruz, Ohio State University and Marquette University.

This kind of program encompasses more specialties compared to other majors, since the field of health care is much broader. Many students will find schools that offer concentrations or tracks that segue into other aspects of health care, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, radiology, pharmacology, physiology and more.

Master Of Health Science

The Masterís in Health Science (MHS) degree is for students who want to advance a career in the field of health care, particularly as a senior health policy executive. These programs, which can last up to three years, allow students to work closely with doctors, nurses, surgeons and public settings like hospitals and clinics to learn more about health sciences and organization of a medical business. Coursework may include advanced levels of human anatomy, kinesiology, physiology, occupational biomechanics, pathophysiology and pharmacology.

Master In Health Administration Or Public Health

The Master in Health Administration (MHA) or Public Health is a graduate degree designed for students that want to advance their careers into a senior managerial position within a hospital, non-profit or health service organization. Study involves coursework in health sciences and applied experience in health care economics, health policy, management, organizational behavior, marketing, communications, human resources, operations, information systems and leadership. Some schools offer joint MHA/MBA degrees, while others have similar programs in public health.

Career Opportunities

The health care industry is one of the fastest growing job markets in the country and therefore is one of the best businesses to find a job. Health degrees can lead to a number of career opportunities, including pharmacist, physical and occupational therapist, podiatrist and radiological and anesthesiology technician.

Other employment opportunities for health science majors include personal trainer, rehabilitation specialist, physical education, sports medicine, fitness instructor, dietician, chiropractor, nutritionist, physiologist and medical technician.

Earning Potential

The earning potential for someone with a degree in health sciences depends on what kind of career he wants. Physical therapists can earn anywhere from $63,000 to $73,000, whereas an occupational therapist can make anywhere from $59,000 to $71,000. Optometrists can earn a salary of up to $118,000 while physiologists can make up to $48,000. Those who earn a Masters in Health Administration can expect a median salary of $73,900.

Online Health Science Degree FAQs

Are Online Health Science Programs Available?

Many schools offer online health science programs so that busy adults can find the time to earn degrees that can take their careers to the next level. Between work and family, it can be very difficult for non-traditional students to find the time to earn a bachelor's degree.

Distance learning and online classes give you the chance to finish assignments at your own pace. Many students decide to earn degrees part-time. While it will take you longer to get your degree when you study part-time, it can also leave you with the time that you need for all of the other responsibilities in your life.

Which Online Health Science Program Should I Choose?

You should choose an online class that uses the latest Internet technology to replace classroom instruction. Many programs use chat rooms, email, video presentations and virtual classrooms to ensure that non-traditional students get the same educational benefits as those who study on campus.

Contact your school to get more information about their online programs. Find out how many required classes are available online, how long the program is, if there is a difference in tuition and if you will have to take some classes on campus.

Some students worry that employers will discriminate against degrees earned online. Most schools give their non-traditional students the same diplomas as those who study on campus, however, you should verify this with the school before enrolling.

What Can I Do With a Health Science Degree?

Many health science graduates pursue careers as dental hygienists, medical assistants, biomedical equipment techs, health information managers, medical record technicians, veterinary assistants, nursing aides, pharmacy technicians, health education and other health care related positions.

The Health Science Curriculum

Health science students typically take classes that cover topics like public health, economics, disease, health care systems, health care regulations, management, public speaking, corporate finance and ethics. Most programs give students the opportunity to take elective classes as well so they can concentrate on subjects that interest them most.

Related Sections

Find the school that is right for you