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Salary and Career Info for a Health Science Major

Degrees in health science typically cover illnesses, anatomy and medication. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for health science graduates.

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A health science bachelor's degree can prepare you for a variety of healthcare-related fields, including dentistry, physical therapy, nursing and surgical technology. While each field has its own prerequisites, all four areas are forecast to expand over the next several years.

Essential Information

Majoring in a health science can lead to a variety of careers with salaries ranging from average to well above average. Many careers in health science are expected to grow over the next ten years, and millions of new jobs should be created. Salary info for health science majors depends greatly on the area of study.

Career Title Dentist Physical Therapist Registered Nurse Surgical Technologist
Education requirements Doctoral or professional degree in dentistry Doctor of Physical Therapy Completion of a diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in nursing Certificate or associate's degree in surgical technology
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 18% 34% 16% 15%
Median Salary (2015)* $152,700 $84,020 $67,490 $44,330

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Health science majors have many career options to choose from, almost all of which promote well-being through medication, procedures or therapy. Dentistry, physical therapy, nursing and surgical technology are a few career fields for health science graduates.

Dentists

Dentists work with patients to treat and diagnose issues and illnesses in the mouth, including filling cavities, instructing patients to properly maintain a healthy smile, performing surgery and straightening teeth.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of dentists in the U.S. will grow by 18% from 2014 to 2024. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $152,700 in 2015, per the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Physical Therapists

A physical therapist treats patients who have various illnesses or ailments that cause pain or interfere with the patient's mobility or performance in everyday or athletic activities.

The median annual salary earned by a physical therapist in May 2015 was reported as $84,020 by the BLS, and career opportunities for physical therapists were expected to grow by about 34% between 2014 and 2024, which was much faster than average.

Registered Nurses

The BLS states that there were over 2.7 million registered nurses (RNs) employed in May 2015, which makes nursing the most common career in the health sciences. Nurses perform a variety of tasks, from treating and caring for minor injuries, to assisting in tests and administering medications.

According to the BLS, the median salary for an RN was $67,490 in 2015, and the job market could grow at a rate of 16% between 2014 and 2024.

Surgical Technologists

Prior to surgery, surgical technologists prepare operating rooms and surgical equipment by cleaning and sterilizing them. Surgical technologists also help during surgery by handing equipment to surgeons when it's needed.

The BLS reported that the job market for surgical technologists is very strong and should continue to grow by approximately 15% from 2014-2024; the BLS also stated that surgical technologists in 2015 earned a median salary of $44,330 annually.

A health science degree provides the needed foundation for careers in dentistry, physical therapy, nursing, and surgical technology; however the fields of dentistry and physical therapy require additional education. Employment opportunities for each field is forecast to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

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