Career Information for a Degree in Health Sciences and Services

Oct 10, 2019

Health sciences and services are generally undergraduate degree programs that prepare students for several different healthcare careers. Continue reading for an overview of health sciences and services programs as well as career options and requirements.

A degree in health sciences and services prepares individuals to pursue careers in the healthcare field. Some career options for those with a degree in health sciences and services include being a health educator, an occupational therapist, or a nursing home administrator. A master's degree is also required to be a health educator or occupational therapist.

Essential Information

Individuals preparing for a healthcare career often pursue degrees in either health sciences or health services. Though some healthcare jobs may only require an undergraduate degree, some students earn a bachelor's degree in health sciences to prepare for a career that requires graduate-level training, such as occupational therapy. Health services degree programs usually focus on training students for administrative and management positions within a healthcare practice or organization.

Career Health Educator Occupational Therapist Nursing Home Administrator
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree in health sciences or services and master's degree in public health or relevant field Master's or doctoral degree in occupational therapy Bachelor's degree in health services
Other Requirements Certified Health Education Specialist credential required by some employers Completion of state licensing requirements Completion of state licensing requirements
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 10% 18% 18% for medical and health services managers
Median Salary (2018)* $54,220 annually $84,270 annually $99,730 annually for medical and health services managers

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Health sciences and services can prepare students for several healthcare careers by educating them in healthcare fundamentals, medical terminology, biology and other health-related subjects. Depending on specialty and further education, graduates of health sciences and services degree programs have a diverse range of careers to consider, such as health educators, nursing home administrators, or occupational therapists. Check out the job duties, outlook, and median salaries of these three careers.

Health Educator

Health educators teach others about health topics, including information about recognizing and preventing disease as well as managing health conditions. A health educator may work in a variety of settings, including public and non-profit social service agencies, universities and hospitals.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health educator employment was expected to increase by 10% between 2018 and 2028. This growth, the BLS notes, is largely due to rising healthcare costs, which in turn has led to increased public interest in learning how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Holding a graduate degree in a relevant field will also be important for those who seek employment in public health or want to advance in their careers. The BLS states that the median annual salary for health educators was $54,220 in 2018.

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists help individuals with disabling conditions find ways of accomplishing necessary tasks at home and at work. In a workplace setting, an occupational therapist may help patients learn how to sit or move in ways that reduce repetitive stress injuries. An occupational therapist may also help a patient manage daily tasks at home, perhaps with the use of special equipment or self-management techniques such as making to-do lists to compensate for memory loss. When necessary, an occupational therapist may also prescribe exercises that can improve coordination and physical capabilities.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for an occupational therapist was $84,270 in 2018. The BLS also projected that employment would increase by 18% between 2018 and 2028. Job prospects should be good, especially for those occupational therapists who work in healthcare settings patronized by the elderly.

Nursing Home Administrator

Nursing home administrators are professionals who oversee various aspects of a nursing home's operations, such as compliance with government regulations and industry standards, fiscal management, and policies related to caring for patients. The BLS categorizes nursing home administrators as medical and health services managers, and the employment rate for medical and health services managers was expected to increase by 18% between 2018 and 2028. The median annual salary for a health services managers as of 2018 was $99,730.

Health sciences and services programs cover medical terminology and health-related subjects that can lead to careers in health education, occupational therapy, or nursing home administration. Health educators can expect a 10% rate of job growth from 2018-2028, which is faster than average, and both nursing home administrators and occupational therapists are expected to see much faster-than-average job growth rates of 18% during the same time period.

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