Health Science Degree Program Overviews

Those interested in a career in the health care field can pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees in health science. Review the programs and career information to make an informed educational decision.

Essential Information

Health science programs focus primarily on sciences, lab work and research. At the undergraduate level, associate's and bachelor's programs teach business practices related to health care services, such as administration and ethics, as well as medical topics like anatomy. Master's degree programs typically require work experience for admission, and delve further into health care problems and management. Undergraduate programs require a high school diploma or GED and graduate programs expect students to possess a bachelor's degree in a health-related field and along with previous professional experience.

Associate's Degree in Health Science

An associate's degree in health science provides general education for students who might be interested in a future in the health care industry. These programs provide broad, foundational knowledge to those who will go on to study nursing, health education, public health, paramedicine and numerous other related topics. As a result, students are trained in practical scientific skills that are useful when researching, working in the laboratory or directly helping patients. Courses may include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Medical terminology
  • Ethical issues in health science
  • Human biology

Bachelor's Degree in Health Science

This degree program provides students with interdisciplinary training in a variety of health fields. These science-focused programs include training in research, direct patient care and health care administration. While some students pursue this degree in order to advance in their medical careers, others use it as a step towards medical school, dental school or another specialty area that requires advanced training. Although courses may vary based on the student's area of focus, common core classes include:

  • Biostatistics
  • Community health
  • Health care planning
  • Long-term care
  • Legal issues in health care

Master's Degree in Health Science

The master's degree in health science is intended for individuals with a strong background in the field who seek to accelerate their careers. These programs are often research-based and provide an opportunity to learn new leadership and management skills for the health care field. Degree curricula can vary, since these programs are often interdisciplinary and may draw upon health management, health policy, public health and other fields. Students could encounter coursework such as:

  • Current issues in health care
  • Medical writing
  • Health care management
  • Environmental health
  • International health care issues

Popular Career Options

While many students go on to further training, an associate's degree in health science provides the necessary education for an entry-level career in many fields. Though some require certification, possible career fields include:

  • Medical assisting
  • Medical billing and coding
  • Paramedicine

The possible career fields for a bachelor's degree graduate in health science are diverse, covering a wide spectrum of health-related careers. These include:

  • Hospital administration
  • Health education
  • Patient relations
  • Physician assisting

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

One of the most common careers for graduates of master's degree programs in health science is health care management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field was expected to grow 17% between 2014 and 2024 ( Growth was anticipated for managers in all types of health care settings, including hospitals, health practitioner offices and health management firms. As of May 2015, medical and health services managers had an average salary of $106,070 according to BLS data.

Health science degree programs can be completed at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree level. These programs focus on science courses at the undergraduate level to prepare students for a career in the medical field, while master's programs cover leadership and management skills to advance their careers.

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