Overview of a Bachelor’s in General Health
An online or traditional bachelor’s degree is the most commonly earned degree in the country and is usually considered the entry-level degree for most careers. The healthcare sector is no exception. With an online or on-campus Bachelor of Science in a health science major, you will have access to a variety of careers within the healthcare sector, though you may need to earn a minor or focus on specialization within a specific section of the healthcare industry in order to make sure that your resume stands out to employers. The healthcare sector includes many niche specialties such as dental, physical therapy, or occupational therapy, etc. You may need to choose a focus so that you can be sure to earn a position quickly once you graduate. However, those students who choose hands-on learning focused degrees, such as those in dental work, will not have the same online learning options as those who choose to earn a bachelor's in general health, which you may be able to complete with 100% online courses. No matter where you end up, the health education of health science majors should cover a variety of non-clinical core courses and topics such as:
- Community Health
- Public Health
- Global Health
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Environmental Health
- Healthcare Systems
- And More
Bachelor’s degrees in health, also referred to as health science, are essential for many jobs in a health-related field. In fact, many people use this degree to get into medical school to become a doctor or to pursue a career in research. The benefits and advantages of earning a bachelor-level degree will greatly impact student's quality of life and how high they can reach in healthcare in the long-term. You will earn significantly more money than someone with a high school diploma or an associate degree, even if you remain on the non-clinical side of the healthcare industry, such as in health education. You will also be able to secure jobs over individuals who do not have bachelor’s degrees, even if they have more experience in healthcare. As your career progresses and you wish to advance your career, you will be required to continue your training and education. With a bachelor’s, students can complete a variety of professional, online certificates from liberal arts colleges and universities, and through professional organizations. It's also possible to take online courses as you work to complete a master’s health science degree or another program to increase your pay and advance your career even further.
Just as someone with a bachelor’s health science degree has an advantage over those who do not, someone who has completed a Master of Science program will be paid more and be hired over those who do not have a master’s degree. Today, most top companies require their managers and executives to have at least a master’s. A bachelor’s will also limit the type of professional and industry certifications you will be able to complete. The most respected certifications require a master’s degree as a basic requirement for entrance into a program or to sit for an exam. And, if you do not complete a master’s degree, your salary will cap at a much lower income level than if you do. Those who choose to earn a master's degree online while working with their bachelor's will have a busy couple of years aead of them while they complete online courses.
Certificate Vs. Bachelor’s Degree
Certificates vary, from a basic certificate that does not require any degree to complete to a certificate that requires those taking courses have an online master’s degree. These certificates are typically offered by online colleges and universities rather than traditional four-year higher learning institutions. They offer a basic understanding of health that is roughly equivalent to one semester of a health science program of a standard bachelor's health science degree. Such a certificate may qualify you for entry-level positions. However, it will be easier to get a job with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences and to earn online certificates with higher requirements.
A graduate certificate from a traditional college or university requires at least a bachelor’s and most require a master’s degree. Many people use these types of certificates to specialize, or to continue their education throughout their career. Other professional certificates are offered by reputable industry organizations and may require a master’s degree or an MBA with a health science emphasis.
What Online General Health Bachelor’s Degrees are Available?
A Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences is often used as a stepping stone into health management and administration positions, or as a way to get into medical school with a solid background in health. You can pursue degrees in health science, or you can choose another health-related degree with a health science major or specialization. Keep in mind that many health degrees offer a customized curriculum on top of core courses so that you are as prepared as possible for the career of your dreams, such as options for community health or public health.
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Health Science: A BA in Health Science will focus more on non-technical coursework. You will spend a significant amount of time learning about a broad range of human services and healthcare matters. People with a BA often work for non-profits, healthcare facilities, retirement communities, and hospitals. Many Bachelor of Science degree holders will also continue their education with an online master’s degree.
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Science: A BS in Health Science is often pursued by individuals looking to pursue careers in health education, community health, public health, healthcare administration, and future doctors. This degree is far more technical and clinical than a BA degree. People with this degree often become medical technicians of some sort, directors of hospitals, physical therapists, or occupational therapists. You can pursue these degrees both online and in person from reputable colleges and universities.
Admission requirements for an online Bachelor of Science in Health Science program will depend on many different aspects, including whether or not you have a high school diploma, some higher education from a different college or university, or an online associate degree. You will be required to meet a minimum GPA and have a high school diploma or a GED. The GPA requirement will be different at each school. In most cases, the more reputable the program the higher the GPA requirement. If you are transferring schools, some of your credits may not be considered valid by your new college or university. Be sure to check before you make the move.
How long does it take to earn an online General Health Bachelor’s?
If you enroll in an online bachelor's health science degree full time, you can finish in four years. Be sure to check the on-time graduation rate of the college or university you wish to attend. If it is low, you can expect that you might require an additional semester or two. It will take longer if you take an online degree program so that you can continue to work or care for your family. Also, if you have an online associate’s degree, some of your credits may not transfer so you may have to retake some prerequisite courses which will extend your degree completion time. For individuals who wish to complete a degree in less time, you might consider taking courses over the summer.
Potential Careers in General Health with an Online Bachelor’s Degree
- Physical Therapist:
A physical therapist, also referred to as a PT, works with people to improve their mobility, manage their pain, and increase their range of motion. PTs are a critical component of rehabilitation due to an injury, illness, or chronic conditions, and as preventative therapy. Median Salary: $71,500
- Occupational Therapist:
An occupational therapist helps people manage daily tasks in their personal and professional life. This could be anything from eating to working. They work with people of all ages, including children and retirees. Median Salary: $66,600
- Healthcare Manager:
A healthcare manager is also referred to as a health services manager or a healthcare administrator. They coordinate, plan, and direct all medical and healthcare initiatives. The area a healthcare manager oversees will be dependent on the employer. You might be responsible for a department or an entire facility. Median Salary: $61,500
- Lab Manager:
A lab manager requires a perfect balance of managerial skills and lab practices. You might be responsible for staffing, reordering of equipment and supplies, and maintaining high security standards. Median Salary: $70,500
- Health Educator:
A health educator works to educate people on healthy living. You might work with students, community centers, or even retirement homes. Lessons will vary, such as disease prevention, the importance of brushing one’s teeth, and mindfulness. Median Salary: $46,200
Options to Advance
Both clinical and non-clinical positions will require higher degrees for advancement. Many people use a health science degree to get into medical school, or as a stepping stone into healthcare administration positions. If you pursue a master’s degree with a specialization, you will be able to increase your salary, job responsibilities, and career opportunities. You might also complete a medical degree or a Ph.D. Both degrees will greatly increase your base salary by $50,000 or more per year.
Best Bachelor's of Science in General Health Programs
Des Moines, Iowa
Drake University is a small, private university in the capital city of Des Moines in Iowa. In addition to a demanding curriculum, the university focuses on student organizations, study abroad opportunities, and honors programs to provide an exceptional overall university experience. Their health science department is one of the best in the country, with many health science specialties. Many students continue on with advanced degrees in medicine.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Clinical and Applied Sciences
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Health Service Management
California State University at Fullerton
California State University at Fullerton is one of the largest state universities in California and the school is a certified Hispanic-serving institution with nearly 50% of the population being of Hispanic descent. The Health Sciences department focuses on multicultural health, environmental toxicology and health, worksite health promotion, and more.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science - Specialization in Environmental/Occupational Health and Safety Advising
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science - Specialization in Global Health Advising
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science - Specialization in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Advising
Stony Brook University
Long Island, New York
Stony Brook University is a public research university. The health science degree is the third largest degree pursued by students at this Long Island location. You will have the chance to choose between four different specializations including anesthesia technology, healthcare informatics, radiologic technology, and disability studies.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Technology and Management with a Health Science major
Northeastern University is a private research institution. At the Bouve College of Health Sciences, you will have the option of choose from several different degree programs that combine health sciences with another complimentary department and emphasis including the colleges of engineering, business, and computer information science.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science & Business Administration
- Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science & Health Science
- Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Engineering & Health Science
University of Florida
Over the years, the University of Florida has been gaining recognition as one of the best public universities in the country. On campus, they have a nationally recognized Health Science Center and a Health Rehab Center.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science - Specialization in Applied Kinesiology
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science - Specialization in Disease and Disability
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science - Specialization in Pathophysiology
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science - Specialization in Therapeutic Communications
Traditional Schools Offering a B.S. in General Health
George Washington University, GW Online
Washington, District of Columbia
GW Online is 100% dedicated to online degree programs of the highest caliber and has a large number of health sciences degree offerings. The bachelor’s degree in health sciences with a specialization in clinical health sciences is dedicated to military personnel. All other programs are open to all students, with or without military experience.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Clinical Research Administration
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Clinical Health Sciences
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Emergency Medical Services Management
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Medical Laboratory Science
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Clinical and Translational Research
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Clinical Research Administration
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Health Care Quality
University of Missouri
The University of Missouri has invested heavily in their online education with over 90 programs now available, including a bachelor’s degree in health science. You can choose between self-paced courses and semester-based courses. Many students continue with their education at the graduate level.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science
Ohio State University
Ohio State University offers a bachelor’s degree in health sciences with an emphasis on pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, pre-medicine, or pre-physician assistant degrees. You will also have to complete a minor in one of a number of various fields such as psychology, aging, disabilities, or biology.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Rutgers University is a large university with a growing number of online programs, including a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. You can choose between many specializations such as aging studies, health services management, and psychiatric rehabilitation.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences
Old Dominion University, ODU Online
ODU Online is thriving with over 100 distance education programs. The bachelor’s degree in health sciences allows you to concentrate on either health services administration or public health. You will be required to complete an internship before you can graduate.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Health Services Administration
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Public Health
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I work in management with a degree in general health or health sciences?
The short answer to this is yes. However, even with a bachelor’s degree, you may need several years of experience to move into a management position. Even so, this is quite fast when you consider that those with an associate degree may need 5+ years of experience to move into a management position and earning a master’s degree will likely take you 18 months to two years to complete anyway. By earning a bachelor’s and gaining the requisite experience, you might save money and time moving into the position you are aiming for. And, if you choose to move into a new role or field several years down the line, then you can always return to school for a master’s then and quickly shift gears into your new role.
Is earning a bachelor’s in general health worth it?
Earning this degree can definitely be worth it for those who wish to work in the healthcare field. This is the case even if you are unsure what role you are looking for. After all, a general health sciences degree provides you with a variety of courses and knowledge that can serve you well in a variety of fields. This includes classes in human health, the sciences, statistics, and more. Between the breadth of knowledge you will gain in this degree and the continuing expansion of the healthcare field for the next 5-10 years, you should have plenty of options available to you in the coming years. And, if you choose to stay the course and move into some type of healthcare management role, managers in this field can earn around $190,000/year at the highest levels. Even the lowest 10% of earners in this field make nearly $60,000/year.