Health Sciences: Diploma Summary

Oct 10, 2019

Essential Information

Through traditional classroom lectures and hands-on experience, students in health sciences associate's programs learn about topics in medical law, terminology, ethics, and human physiology. Some programs allow students to supplement basic curricula with courses geared toward specialized career options. Some programs also offer internships. Students interested in attending associate's degree programs must have a high school diploma or a GED.

Associate in Health Sciences Degree

Programs cover a range of basic topics in healthcare. In addition to required core courses, students need to take a range of foundational courses in topics including psychology, chemistry, sociology, and nutrition. While enrolled, students study the following topics:

  • Physiology and anatomy
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Biocalculations
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology

Popular Career Options

These programs are typically designed to serve as the foundation for further education. For example, individuals who are interested in becoming nurses or medical technicians can complete a medical sciences associate's degree program to prepare to advance to more specialized programs. Some associate's degree programs in medical sciences may allow students to specialize in a given area, such as medical billing, by supplementing standard coursework with specialized topics. These programs may prepare students to obtain the following employment positions:

  • Medical biller
  • Health information technician
  • Medical coder

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of medical records and health information technicians is projected to grow by 11% from 2018 to 2028. The BLS also published employment growth projections of 16% for medical secretaries during that decade.

The Bureau reported in 2018 that the median annual salary earned by medical records and health information technicians was $40,350; medical secretaries received $35,760, and billing and posting clerks made $37,800.

Continuing Education Information

Associate's degree programs in health sciences may pave the way for a number of educational options. Graduates of such programs could choose to enter certificate or bachelor's degree programs in subjects like nursing, medical billing, or medical laboratory technology in order to move into careers specific to those areas of study. Some certificate programs could be specifically designed to meet the needs of individuals who have already earned an associate's degree in a related subject, like health sciences, but need additional training. However, it should be noted that an associate's degree in health sciences is not required to become a nurse, medical technician, medical technologist, or medical biller.

Students will usually have an easier time finding associate degree health sciences programs than diploma programs. In addition to foundational courses in other subjects, these associate programs will detail relevant topics such as pharmacology, medical terminology, and more, which prepares students for work in medical coding, billing, and health information.

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