Associate Degree in Health Science: Program Overview

Health science refers to a broad field encompassing many careers. Some institutions offer an associate's degree in health science in conjunction with more specialized training programs for students interested in degree-completion options.

Essential Information

An Associate of Science in Health Science is usually best suited for students who already work in the health care field or are exploring health care career options. Studies encompass training in health care delivery, management, support and ethics; students can often apply credits earned from their health care professional training. These can include programs in licensed practical nursing, emergency medical technology, histology, and coding, which usually offer certificates rather than degrees.

Health science associate's degree programs generally last one or two years.

Typical admissions requirements include completion of a high school diploma or GED. A background in science and math is generally required. If high school coursework does not fulfill requirements, supplemental courses may need to be completed. Some require students to be current health care professionals.


Associate's Degree in Health Science

Associate's degree programs in the health sciences are generally offered by community colleges. Health science curricula may differ depending upon the amount of credit hours assigned to professional training in a health care delivery field. Program objectives provide students with insight into the current health care system and offer an understanding of ethical issues facing medical professionals. Common topics include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medicine and society
  • Biomedical ethics
  • Health and wellness
  • Medical law
  • Alternative medicine

Popular Career Options

The broad nature of the health science degree allows for numerous career paths. Specific roles may include:

  • Nurse
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Medical administrative assistant
  • Health information management technician
  • Coder

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical secretaries earned a mean annual wage of $34,330 in 2015 and were expected to see a 21% growth in employment opportunities from 2014-2024. Medical records and health information technicians were projected to see a 15% increase in employment opportunities that decade. Their mean annual wage was $40,430 in 2015.

Continuing Education

Students who use the associate's degree to explore various career options normally pursue specific training in their chosen field upon graduation. Some baccalaureate programs in health science are also offered, which may open doors into leadership and administrative roles within the health care system.

An associate's degree program in health science gives students a solid foundation in the principles of health care delivery and prepares them to pursue entry-level professional training. These programs are also for students who want to supplement their current health care training or go on to pursue further education in the form of a bachelor's degree.


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