Associates in Health Science Degrees & Schools Guide

Associates Degree in Health Science Career Options & Salary

Overview of an Associates in Health Science


The healthcare industry is booming. Our aging population and the current uptick in insured patients have resulted in a tremendous surge in revenue for health system corporations. Such growth extends throughout the industry and has resulted in high demand for workers at all levels. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows incredible growth rates for nearly every occupation related to healthcare.

If you are attracted to the idea of helping patients recover from illness, an associate degree in health science could be exactly what you need to get started. The degree will introduce you to medical terminology, clinical approaches, and administrative concepts.

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Healthcare Degree & Career Paths


PROS

There are many benefits to an associate degree in health science. One of the chief benefits is that you will receive an education that you can apply towards helping patients get better. The degree is multi-faceted and you can choose whether you want to focus more on clinical work or the administrative aspects of healthcare.

Your degree will also open opportunities for you to build a career. Doctors' offices and hospitals are looking for knowledgeable candidates for their many job openings. Since you will walk in with knowledge and skills, prospective employers know that they won't have to spend much time training you.

Finally, once you have a degree and accrue some experience, you can build on your credentials and complete a baccalaureate or even pursue another avenue, such as nursing. Your associate degree plus your practical knowledge will combine to enable you to make the very best decision for your future.

CONS

While an associate degree does have upsides, there are also downsides. One of the biggest downsides is the risk. That is, you might delve into this degree and then decide that you’re not really interested in working in a hospital or a doctor's office. You might also find that the salary and opportunities aren't what you'd expected.

However, if you do end up loving your job, you might find that you are still limited. An associate degree only qualifies you for certain jobs and certain certifications. Though this is not necessarily a fault of the degree, it can be frustrating. However, you can always return to school for a bachelor's degree.

Yet another negative impact of an associate degree is the expense. Education is not cheap and it's likely that you will need to take out loans to finance your degree.

Certificate Vs. Associates


When you seek out an associate degree in health science, you might see that the school also offers a certificate program. Certificates are often alluring because they typically take half the time to complete and cost less. However, you will find that taking the extra time and effort to complete an associate degree is well worth it. That's because employers will see a degree as evidence of more dedication and hard work than a simple certificate. Thus, you will have a distinct edge over your peers whom only earned a certificate. You will get better jobs and receive higher pay. Plus, your credentials will help you attain professional certificates and get ahead faster.

What Health Science Associates Degrees are Available?


  • Associate of Science in Health Science
    An AS is a degree that typically indicates that your coursework is focused on analytical, scientific topics. For instance, if your degree courses were focused on clinical or medical subjects you would probably graduate with an AS.
  • Associate of Arts in Health Science
    An AA degree generally means that your coursework was concerned with non-scientific subjects. Programs that focus on management or topics related to health policy, for instance, might come under the rubric of an AA program. That said, AA degrees can also focus on scientific subjects just as much as AS degrees.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Science
    An applied science degree is one that focuses on STEM topics, but which is more concerned with occupational outcomes than academic research. These programs can train you for a job in healthcare, but you might find it hard to apply to a baccalaureate program without taking or retaking more classes.
  • Associate of Applied Arts in Health Science
    Degrees in applied arts are terrific ways to gain practical knowledge of a subject. With an AAA in Health Science you should easily find a job. However, your job prospects are likely to be limited over the long run. Even if you decide to return to school for a bachelor’s degree, you will probably need to retake some courses, and perhaps take new courses that were not part of your AAA curriculum.

Admission Requirements


To gain admission to an associate program in health science, you typically need a high school transcript, letters of recommendation, and perhaps an admissions essay that details your goals. Some programs may also require SAT or ACT scores. Each program will have individual requirements, however, so be sure to investigate admissions requirements as part of your research.

Prior to applying, you might consider gaining some experience in healthcare. This will both help solidify your decision to study health science and bolster your standing as an applicant. If you have already worked in the industry, you will likely have more insight into what appeals to you and what you can visualize as a career path.

How long does it take to earn a Health Science Associates Degree?


An associate degree in health science is typically crafted to take two years to complete. Some programs are accelerated to both keep students engaged and to help them get to work faster. However, the time it takes to graduate mostly depends on you and your approach to education.

Since you are pursuing a professional degree, it might behoove you to make plans prior to enrolling in your first class. Decide how many courses you can take per term and then create a schedule that will keep you on track for your projected graduation date. Your academic adviser can also be helpful in this regard.

Potential Careers in Health Science with an Associates


  • Medical Assistant
    Medical assistants can do it all. Your health science degree will help you work, both in the office part of a health system and in the clinical side. You might assist the doctors and nurses with minor procedures or take samples from patients. Since you may be the first person a patient encounters, your professional demeanor can set the tone for a successful examination.
    Medical assistants make an average salary of - $31,000
  • Ultrasound Technician
    This position is chiefly known for its role in pregnancy. Specifically, ultrasound techs work with mothers to take images of their child while still in utero. However, if you decide to take this path in the health sciences, you could choose to work with internists and take images of organs. Some even work with cardiologists or neurologists.
    The average salary for this position is – $58,400
  • Radiography
    Radiography technologists use x-ray machines to create the images that can determine a doctor's diagnosis of a condition. You will thus need to endeavor to make the best images possible. You'll need to have a soothing demeanor so that patients are at ease and able to remain still for the imaging process.
    The average salary for this position is – $37,800
  • Medical Office Manager
    While the doctors and nurses might receive all of the attention, no medical practice could survive two days without a top-notch, educated medical office manager. You will help train new receptionists and records clerks, while also managing the office budget, and more.
    Medical office managers earn an average salary of – $48,300
  • Pharmacy Technician
    Pharmacy technicians are often the professionals you meet when you pick up a prescription from the pharmacy. In this job you will fill prescriptions and consult with patients; some pharmacy techs are even trained to work in compounding pharmacies, meaning that you could mix up specialty prescriptions for patients who cannot take the standard medications.
    The average salary for pharmacy technicians is – $32,200

Options to Advance


If you want to advance in your health science career, you will first need to work hard in your position. There is never a good substitute for a strong track record of excellence. Then you can start studying for a new certificate or even a bachelor's degree. The good news is that if you already have an associate degree in health science, you are set to build on that knowledge and advance to your dream job.

Depending on your area of specialty, you might need a state license, which will certainly impact your ability to earn your peak potential salary. Other occupations are less regulated and thus have avenues available for you to advance without more academic work or legal hoops. For instance, if you wish to advance into healthcare informatics, you might find a reputable certificate program online that will help you acquire the skills and credentials that most professionals acknowledge.

It can also happen that professionals with non-health science degrees work in healthcare. If that is you, you could consider advancing to a baccalaureate degree in health science or you might start with a certificate that will help you on the road to success.

Best Associate of Science in Health Science Programs


  • Thomas Nelson Community College
    Williamsburg, VA

    Thomas Nelson Community College offers an Associate of Science Degree in Health Science that will help you form a foundation for a long career. Their programs are fully accredited, which should give you peace of mind, as your credits will easily transfer if you decide to gain a bachelor’s degree. Thomas Nelson's goal is to mirror the curriculum you'd find in the first two years of a baccalaureate degree, thus enabling a smooth transfer experience to the next stage of your education.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Health Science
    • Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services
  • University of Wisconsin - Branch Campuses
    Madison, WI – Main campus

    The famous University of Wisconsin offers an Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree with a Health Sciences emphasis. Since your coursework will be in the UW system, you should be able to easily transfer your credits or simply continue on to a baccalaureate program, if you choose.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree – Health Sciences
    • Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree – Writing
  • Northern Arizona University
    Flagstaff, AZ

    Northern Arizona University is a great place to kick off your health sciences career. They offer students the opportunity to complete a full associate degree, while also allowing them to move on towards a full baccalaureate degree, should they choose.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Health Sciences
    • Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
  • Saint Petersburg College
    St Petersburg, FL

    Saint Petersburg College's two-year health sciences degree program is perfectly suited to you if your desire is to launch a career in healthcare administration. You will take courses in human anatomy and chemistry, but the core of your studies will be concerned with less scientific topics such as medical coding, accounting, and healthcare delivery systems.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Health Science
    • Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Services Administration
  • Columbus State Community College
    Columbus, OH

    Columbus State Community College offers an Associate Degree in Health Science that can take many different forms. That is, they open up the field to a wide range of specialty areas. For instance, your associate degree could include a major in Dental Hygiene, Nursing, Medical Assisting, or Medical Imaging, among many options.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Health Science
    • Associate of Science in Education, Human Services, and Public Safety

Traditional Schools Offering an AS in Health Science


  • Devry University
    Online

    Devry is one of the preeminent career colleges in the United States. Their chief focus is on technology and that translates to their Associate degree in Health Information Technology. You will be steeped in the knowledge it takes to work with the specific types of information used in healthcare systems.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate degree in Health Information Technology
    • Associate of Science in Information Technology
  • American Military University
    Online

    American Military University's Health Sciences Degree is specifically tailored to help those with military training and experience in healthcare. If that is you, you will appreciate the ability to build on your existing knowledge and experience to form a career in the civilian world. You can also enroll if your experience is already in the civilian world and you might gain insights from your fellow students who may have served in combat healthcare situations.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Applied Sciences in Health Sciences
    • Associate of Science in Public Health
  • Rasmussen College
    Online

    Rasmussen's Health Sciences Degree is perfect if you are considering a career in healthcare administration, medical assisting, or as a pharmacy technician. They have tailored their program to expedite your degree as soon as possible. In fact, if you stick to their schedule you can graduate with an associate degree in as little as 18 months.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate in Health Sciences
    • Certificate in Health Sciences
  • Purdue Global
    Online

    Purdue's online educational opportunities are nothing short of amazing. No matter where you are in the world you can complete two- or four-year degrees through Purdue, one of the nation's top four-year universities.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Health Science
  • Franklin University
    Online

    Franklin University's Associate of Science in Health Sciences will set you on track to launch a career in healthcare administration. The course selection includes classes in human diseases, medical terminology, professional writing, and public health. Though you can complete your degree online, Franklin also has campuses in multiple Midwest locations.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Health Sciences
    • Associate of Science in Insurance
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