Healthy Living, Healthy Products: Consumer Health Degree
Earning a degree in consumer health can prepare you for a career as a professional who understands trends in health care and consumer needs. Graduates typically find jobs in the health care or consumer advocate fields after earning their degrees in consumer health from accredited online schools.
Consumer Health Degree Information
Most schools will not offer a bachelor's or master's degree in consumer health per se. However, interested students can get degrees in related fields and focus on consumer health and health informatics. Students can also get certification in consumer health and health informatics from a number of schools. The certificate qualifies individuals for entry-level positions in the area of consumer health.
Students can get professional certification consumer health informatics online or at certain physical universities in only a few months. Students interested in pursuing a higher degree can opt for a bachelor of science in health science, nursing or some other related field.
A Bachelors of Science in Health Science will usually take only four years to complete. Students may be expected to take a variety of science and math courses in addition to the regular health curriculum. Graduate degrees in consumer health relevant fields such as public health, health science and pharmacology are also available both at accredited online universities and at brick and mortar colleges and universities.
Master Of Health Science Degree
Students interested in consumer health will often choose to pursue a master of health science degree. Master of health candidates must generally choose a concentration for their studies, and most students interested in a career in consumer health will pursue a bioinformatics or biostatistics concentration, although other concentrations are possible.
Master Of Public Health Degree
The master of public health degree will require students take classes in a variety of health subjects, possibly including environmental health, epidemiology and health services administration. Students who earn this degree can go on for careers in either public health or consumer health.
Choosing A Degree
In the modern era, with frequent customer complaints about HMOs, PPOs and other managed health care plans, and with the debate about socialized medicine constantly raging, consumer health experts are more important than ever, and those who find themselves frequently embroiled in these debates may benefit from studying consumer health.
Consumer health and health informatics professionals can find work wherever a need for effective and efficient health care provision exists. This includes working with hospitals to implement efficient management systems, with pharmaceutical companies to help analyze prescribing patterns, with medical software companies, public health groups, health-related government agencies and insurance companies.
The earning potential for someone who has studied consumer health will vary according to where they put their knowledge to use. The median earnings for Medical and Health Services Managers was $73,740 in 2006. Consumer advocates average between $30,000 to $70,000. Your earnings will be largely dependent on the area of consumer health you pursue, how much experience you have and how effective you prove to be.
Getting Your Degree Online
A great and easy way to start is by getting a professional certification in consumer health online. Online programs are ideal for continuing education students since they require less of a time commitment than a traditional university with classes scheduled at fixed times. Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Public Health and Health Science are also obtainable online from top accredited universities in around two years. Many companies that need health informatics experts should recognize the viability of accredited online programs and may be happy to hire an expert who earned his degree at a top online university.
Getting Your Degree Offline
When you attend a brick-and-mortar college or university, you can be closely involved with designing your consumer health curriculum. You can take a variety of health courses with a focus on issues related to informatics and consumer health. You can develop relationships with health instructors and fellow students that will carry you through your bachelor's degree and possibly your master's degree and even into the working world. The four or six years you spend attending scheduled classes and developing your consumer health knowledge can pay great dividends down the road as more and more companies, public and private, are recognizing the need to understand how health care works and the most efficient ways of delivering quality health care to consumers.
Consumer Health Degree FAQs
What Can I Do With a Consumer Health Degree?
Many people who hold certificates in consumer health pursue careers with drug research companies, consumer advocacy groups, insurance companies, hospitals and public works departments. As consumers become more concerned about the way that the products they purchase might affect their health, these positions become increasingly important to companies that want to offer the best products possible.
Can I Earn a Consumer Health Degree Online?
Yes, there are many schools that offer online and distance learning consumer health programs. These programs replace classroom instruction with the latest Internet applications like video presentations, chat rooms and virtual classrooms. Most colleges even give non-traditional students who earn their degrees online the same certificates as those who attend classes on campus.
Which Consumer Health Program Should I Choose?
Your career will benefit most if you earn your consumer health certificate in conjunction with a graduate degree from an accredited university. However, you can also choose to concentrate on a bachelor's degree or just your certificate. All of these options improve your qualifications for consumer health jobs.
If you have a busy life that makes it difficult to attend classes, then you might consider finding an online program with a flexible schedule. Ask the schools how much their tuition is, where they are located, how long the program is and how many classes they offer online to help you decide which program is right for you.
General Information About Consumer Health Degrees
Consumer health certificates often supplement education in related fields like biology and medicine. Most schools do not have a consumer health major that students can choose, but they do have the option to study subjects that will prepare them for careers in that field. If you are interested in preparing for a career in consumer health, then you should consider earning a bachelor's or master's degree in topics like health science, pharmacology and public health.
Earning your certificate in consumer health will show employers that you have a particular interest in studying how products, medicines and policies affect the health of consumers. It will also give you the specific knowledge that you need to work with nonprofits, private companies and public organizations to provide consumers with the information and products that they need to lead healthy lives.
Consumer Health Curriculum
Students who study consumer health usually take classes in biology, public policy, pharmacology and nutrition. Many students choose programs that will let them pursue specific interests in the consumer health field by concentrating on the classes that are relevant to their future career goals.
Consumer Health Student Guide
Consumer health, or consumer health informatics, is the study of how to analyze consumers needs with respect to medical information and how to make that information more accessible to consumers so that they can make informed health choices. Health care is one of the fastest growing sectors of information technology so those who know how to manage and analyze health information may find themselves in greater and greater demand.
Consumer Health Books
Some useful books for those interested in the study of consumer health include Essentials of Statistics in Health Information Technology by Carol E. Osborn, Children, Families and Health Care Decision Making" by Lainie Freedman Ross and "E-Health and the Law" by Stefaan Callens. These and other health informatics books can be found at the Biohealthmatics website at BioHealthMatics.com.
Consumer Health Articles And Databases
For information, databases and articles related to consumer health, your best bet is the National Institutes of Health, Health Information section at Health.nih.gov. They have links to information about men's health, women's health, children and teen's heath and even minority and seniors health. You can also search for specific health topics from this site and learn about the latest research as it pertains to consumer health.
Online Consumer Health Journals
The primary consumer health journals that you can find online are the Journal of Medical Internet Research (jmir.org) and the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet. Other health and medical journals may provide information that will be useful to those pursuing consumer health knowledge.
Other Consumer Health Research Tools
The National Institutes of Health website is probably the best source for any consumer health information you may need. In addition to all the information provided in the health information section, the site has information about consumer health related jobs, research in National Institutes of Health research labs and clinics and links to information about research support.