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Overview of a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences
The healthcare industry and health science field are growing by leaps and bounds. This is due to a number of factors including an expanding population, a large elderly population, and increased access to healthcare insurance. This expansion calls for more clinicians to deliver care to patients and health service managers with the knowledge and skills to keep things running. And, a move towards tele-health and online health assessments hasn't hurt either.
One avenue to entering this very important industry is to complete an in-person or online bachelor's in health science degree program. You might opt for an administrative or clinical focus but, either way, your future employers will know that you are dedicated to patient care and the health field in general. And, either way, you may be able to earn your degree online or through a hybrid program, which contains online and in-person courses. This page is dedicated to those who seek a brilliant career as a healthcare professional and will provide a blueprint for your future health education, whether you are looking to complete an online health sciences degree while continuing to work or if you want a more traditional program to prepare you to work in community health or other medical and health services.
A traditional or online bachelor in health science is your first step toward success in the healthcare industry. This degree is not a monolithic degree, however. That is, there are many types of health degree and there are numerous concentrations you can pursue.
For instance, your bachelor’s could have a clinical focus. Thus, you might be trained in medical imaging, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, chronic diseases, or speech therapy, to name just a few. On the other hand, you could choose an administrative track, which is more likely to be accessible to online learners.
Future administrators might focus on healthcare finance, marketing, or management, among many other concentrations. They may also choose an industry sector in which to focus their healthcare administration career in the real world such as allied health services, public health and community health, medical and health services, etc. While many of these administrative areas have equivalents that are non-healthcare related, you should give your in-person or online health science degree program the proper focus so that you are prepared to thrive.
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An online bachelor's in health science is a great first step toward a brilliant career. There are so many pros to this degree that it's hard to name them all. However, if you graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, you will see that your job search is made much easier. That's because employers like to see a dedication to their field, and completing a traditional or online health sciences degree proves that.
Once you have your four-year degree under your belt, you will have a foundation on which to build further credentials. Relative to those with an associate degree, you can achieve more professional certificates and apply for graduate school, as well. There are a huge number of graduate degree programs available for online learners or those looking for hybrid programs. All of these programs offer equal access to financial aid, though other students services could be difficult to access for online students.
If you choose an administrative route, you'll be glad that you focused your education on the health science field. Those with general management or marketing degrees will need more training to understand the particularities of the healthcare industry. An online health science degree focused on administration arms you with a vocabulary and worldview that is specifically focused to serve in a hospital or doctor's office.
While there are many positive aspects to a health education, there are also a few drawbacks. The chief drawback is that you'll still need a graduate degree for many fields. For instance, if you have a BS in either physical or occupational therapy, you will only be able to practice as an assistant rather than becoming a full occupational therapist yourself. While a community health or health services manager may hold their position with a bachelor's, they will require much professional development and experience to do so.
If you concentrate on healthcare management or marketing, you will likely need to return to school to complete an online graduate degree by way of one of the appropriate health science programs. If you only have a four-year degree, you are unlikely to make it to upper management or the C-suites.
Finally, you might determine that you don't wish to work in the health science field or find that there are few healthcare jobs or job growth available in your area. Since your degree is specifically focused on a single industry, employers might be wary about giving you a shot in their industry based on your existing knowledge and skills.
Certificate vs. Bachelor's in Health Science
What Health Science Bachelor’s Degrees are Available?
- Bachelor of Arts in Health Science
A BA in Health Science can mean many different things. However, it will most likely indicate that the coursework is geared primarily towards those seeking an administrative function in healthcare, such as those working in public health or as health service managers with allied health services. These are some of the easiest online degrees to find in this field.
- Bachelor of Science in Health Science
Typically, BS degrees indicate a course of study that focuses on analytical or STEM subjects. If you are focused on a clinical medical and health career track, such as respiratory therapy or treatment of chronic diseases, you will likely seek a BS degree. Because these degrees have some hands-on learning components, they are harder to find through online programs, though there may be some hybrid programs available, with online and in-person courses.
- Bachelor of Applied Arts in Health Science
A BAA degree is generally focused on administrative subjects such as management or marketing. Applied degrees are also typically more difficult to use when you apply to graduate school, as the coursework in this type of health science program has an occupational rather than academic focus.
- Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Science
This degree type is geared towards grooming students for a job. Applied science degrees might concentrate on the clinical side from an occupational standpoint. That means that you may need to take or re-take courses if you decide to pursue a graduate degree later.
Depending on your school, and the individual department you wish to join, you will need to submit a high school transcript, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and an entrance essay that details something about your future goals. Some schools ask that you apply to enter their health science program for your junior and senior years. In that case, you may need to have passed certain prerequisite courses and achieved a minimum GPA. There may even be more requirements, so consult with a program adviser so ensure that you meet their standards.
How long does it take to earn a Health Sciences Bachelor's?
Most bachelor's degree programs are designed to take four years to complete. This standard structure usually involves summers off between school years, and a certain number of courses per term to stay on track. However, you can shorten this time frame by taking courses through the summer term or taking a heavier load each semester.
However, more often students take six years or longer to complete their baccalaureate degrees in health sciences. You should try to avoid this. Make a plan with a reasonable target date for graduation. Allow yourself enough time to breathe, but also stay focused on completing your degree. When you prioritize school and your career you will find more success, sooner.
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Potential Careers in Health Sciences with a Bachelor’s
- Surgical Technician
This highly important clinical position reports to a registered nurse in the surgical theater. In this occupation you will be on hand to anticipate the needs of the doctors and nurses. You might be on hand to provide surgical instruments, special linens and cloths, wipe sweaty brows, and also prepare for an operation. This vital profession earns an average salary of $44,900.
- Physical Therapy Assistant
Physical therapists need doctoral degrees, but you can work as an assistant with your Bachelor's in Health Sciences. You will help patients re-learn to walk, fit them for prosthetics, or assist people as they learn to perform certain therapeutic exercises. You might later wish to pursue your doctoral degree and become a licensed physical therapist, but in the meantime, assistants are earning a healthy average salary of $50,600.
- Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational therapists help people learn to cope with their various abilities and disabilities. OTs need a master's degree to achieve full licensure, but you can work as an OT assistant with your bachelor's degree. This rewarding career is practiced in a wide range of inpatient and outpatient environments. OT assistants are currently earning an average salary of $46,000.
- Claims Reviewer
You'll need special training in health science to work with insurance claims from doctors. Your knowledge of medical codes will be particularly helpful in this occupation. You might even need to conduct investigations from time to time, or audit claims from specific providers to ensure that the claims are all valid. Your specialty degree and hard work can earn an average of $37,000 in today's job market.
- Health Educator
Health educators are a vital part of patient outcomes. Your work will help inform patients of all sorts as to the risks associated with certain diseases, behaviors, or injuries. You can also educate people as to the best practices for treating a disease, injury, or other condition. Health educators work in a variety of hospitals and clinics. They earn an average salary of $46,200.
Options to Advance
To get the most out of a career in healthcare, you will certainly need a degree. A bachelor's degree in health science will help you advance far beyond what might be possible with a certificate or associate degree. Your baccalaureate degree will put you in a position where you can take more command of your career, as the degree will open more opportunities. These advanced opportunities will come with higher pay, as well as greater responsibility.
Your baccalaureate degree will also make more certificates and licenses available to you. You'll be invited to join more professional associations, too. Perhaps most importantly, a bachelor’s of health science degree paves the way to a graduate degree and the vast opportunities that become available at that point.
Best Bachelor of Science in Health Science (BHSc) Programs
Georgia Southern University
This diversified program offers a range of degree specialties including general health sciences, health administration, performance/fitness, and healthcare informatics. You'll graduate with a bachelor’s of health science which will propel your career into high gear. Whether you head directly to graduate school or the workforce, you are sure to find stellar success with this degree.
- Bachelor of Health Science - Generalist
- Bachelor of Health Science – Health Informatics
- Bachelor of Health Science – Health Administration
Eastern Carolina University
When you study in the College of Allied Health Sciences, you can work toward a range of administrative careers and a few clinical degrees. For the clinically minded, you can work on physical or occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, or nutrition science. Other degrees focus on information management, biostatistics, and clinical laboratory studies.
- Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics
- Bachelor of Science in Health Management
- Bachelor of Science in Information Management
- Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science
University of Illinois
Main Campus: Campaign, IL
The University of Illinois offers a wide range of degrees in the health sciences. There are a variety of campuses for you to choose from as well, and each offers excellent instruction and advisory services to students. You may even be able to complete many functions, including coursework, online.
- Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
- Bachelor of Science in Community Health
- Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology
University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, CO
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs offers a variety of health science programs. Their focus is primarily clinical, however, so if you wish to forge a career in healthcare informatics, for instance, you might seek another school. On the other hand, baccalaureate degree holders will love the array of master's programs available upon graduation.
- BS in Health Care Science
- BS in Exercise Science
- BS in Health Care Science – Health and Wellness Promotion
- BS in Health Care Science – Nutrition Option
California State University – San Bernardino
San Bernardino, CA
CSUSB offers a variety of health education programs that prepare students for health science careers, primarily in the administrative realm. Their degrees prepare students for careers as health inspection, management, and as public health educators, among many other possible outcomes.
- Bachelor of Science in Health Science – Environmental Health Science
- Bachelor of Science in Health Science – Public Health Education
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Traditional Schools Offering a BS in Health Science
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI & Online
This unique program breaks the traditional classroom model to provide instruction at your own pace. To advance, you need to pass assessments of competencies relevant to your academic and career plans. They also offer a wide range of courses at the UW campus in Milwaukee.
- Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences: Health Sciences
Southern New Hampshire University
SNHU is dedicated to providing quality education online. Their health science degrees are focused clearly on the clinical side of health science. Depending on the path you chose, your degree could land you a career in a laboratory, medical assisting, radiography, or surgical technology, among many other choices.
- Bachelor of Health Sciences
If you are looking for an excellent online university, you might be surprised to find that Purdue has so much to offer its global audience. Their course offerings will help you build a career in the administrative side of healthcare.
- Bachelor of Science in Health Science
NOVA Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University offers a comprehensive health sciences degree that will prepare you for administration and leadership. When you graduate with your baccalaureate degree, you can continue straight into their Master of Health Science.
- Bachelor of Health Sciences
University of South Dakota
You don't have to brave the frigid South Dakota winters to receive a top-notch bachelor's degree in health sciences. USD offers six options for your undergraduate studies. These options are designed to prepare you for careers in research, public health, informatics, and more.
- Bachelor of Health Sciences
Frequently Asked Questions
Would it be worth it to complete a dual degree program in health science?
The short answer is that it is not necessary to complete a dual degree if your main degree goal is health science. This degree alone is enough to help you gain access to available positions and further education. However, if you are halfway into your degree and you decide that you’d like to have a more specialized focus, there’s also no need to throw away the credit hours you’ve already earned. Some of the best options at that point may be to earn a dual degree in health science and public health, health administration, or another related degree. This can give you more in-depth knowledge in the field and provide you with more job opportunities after graduation, even in competitive markets.
Can I shift into a new field if I choose to earn a master’s degree later?
The short answer to this question is yes. There are many master’s degrees programs, even in the health field, that only require you to have a related undergraduate in order to gain admission. However, it’s important to know going in that you are probably going to need to complete some prerequisites that you may not have taken in your undergraduate program. This will depend on your choice of master’s degree, what program you want to enter, and other specifics, but you can gain access to these programs by completing prerequisites or through life experience in many cases, so there’s no reason to give up.