Why Earn a Master’s in General Health?
A master’s in general health, possibly also called a master's in health science graduate degree program or a Master of Science in Health, will give you the best possibility of getting into a management position. You can attend these programs through online, in-person weekend and evening, or hybrid courses (which have online and in-person components). It also allows you to choose a specific focus or specialization. You can use this specialization to shift your career path if there is another area of healthcare that you are interested in but cannot get into with your current bachelor’s degree. Or you can simply use this degree to advance in your current sector. Other than management, you may have opportunities to move into employment in research, more technical positions, or a position with more complex responsibilities. In the long run, it’s up to you what you do with this degree. Online and traditional coursework for this advanced graduate program includes subjects such as:
- Community Health
- Healthcare Administration/Healthcare Management
- Environmental Health
- Sports Medicine
- Research Methods
- Health Education and Promotion
- Health Services Administration
- Health and Human Services
- Public Health
- Health Policy
- Health-Related Business Courses
- And More
Completing an online master’s-level health science program makes career advancement far easier than it is for students who have only completed health service or healthcare management bachelor’s degree programs. It's becoming more commonplace for businesses to require a master’s degree for any management position. With a master’s in health science or Master of Science in Health, you might even be able to secure jobs over those who have significantly more professional work experience as healthcare professionals than you and only a bachelor’s degree. You will also earn roughly $15,000 more than someone with a bachelor’s degree in the same job. You will also be eligible for promotions before individuals with a bachelor’s. This can increase your earning potential by double or more by the end of your career than those without the academic experience afforded by completing a master’s in health science program. It's important to note that each year more and more people are completing master’s degree programs. As this trend continues, it will become even more critical to complete this high-level degree to survive in the highly competitive environment that is the job market today. That is part of why online options are being put together and offered to students, so that they can attend online while continuing to work.
While a master’s degree has many advantages over a bachelor’s degree, you must keep some aspects in perspective. A master’s health sciences program can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more, especially if you attend a particularly prestigious online program. If you work in a field that does not reward such a prestigious degree with proper monetary compensation, your return on investment could be poor. For example, if your earning potential will only increase by a few thousand dollars a year and your master’s degree cost $30,000 or more, you may not actually receive any benefit, only extra debt and stress. It's also important to note that some industries and businesses are instead beginning to value experience coupled with continued education through online courses and certifications over the completion of degrees. You have to research which path companies and hiring managers in your field value more to determine if it is right for you.
Overview of a Master's in General Health
What General Health Master’s Degrees are Available?
The overwhelming majority of master’s degrees in health sciences are Master of Science (MS) degrees, whether they are offered online or through a traditional program. At this level of education and professional development, you must have a more technical and scientific understanding of health, research methods, health policy, and health administration. For this reason, master’s degrees in health sciences are typically an MS rather than a Master of Arts (MA), which are typically degrees with an emphasis in humanities such as art, linguistics, teaching, languages, English, and communication. Another reason you may not find an MA in Health Sciences is that a health science degree at the master’s level requires a detailed focus and specialization. An MA is inherently a broad and less focused degree.
It is possible that you will find a number of programs titled Master of Health Sciences. These programs are often offered by newer online colleges and universities rather than traditional four-year higher learning institutions. These online colleges and universities may not have the same accreditations as those colleges and universities that have been around longer. You’ll need to double-check the accreditation and qualifications of any school you consider attending. This type of program can still provide excellent learning opportunities, with core courses in community health, healthcare management, environmental health, and more; but if they are not accredited, it won't prepare students for employment at a higher level.
Entry requirements for an online master’s degree program will be different at each college and university. You will have to meet a basic GPA requirement from your bachelor’s degree. This could be your overall GPA or your core classes GPA. You will also require a specific score on a graduate school entrance exam. This exam will be different for each profession, such as the GRE, GMAT, or the LSAT.
Some higher learning institutions will not require the completion of such an exam. Also, you can eliminate the need to take a graduate school entrance exam if you find a program that pairs your online bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the same college or university. This will also help you complete each degree in less time, which will, in turn, save you money. It will also be in your best interest to participate in school leadership organizations, complete related work experience, and volunteer throughout your undergraduate degree.
How long does it take to earn a General Health Master’s?
The length of time it takes to complete an online Master’s Degree in Health Sciences will be completely dependent on the program and whether or not you are still working or caring for family members. If you can dedicate yourself to a program full-time, most programs will take between one and two years. If you are working or taking courses part-time, this will increase to roughly three years or more. If you participate in a program that specializes in medicine rather than administration, you can expect this type of master’s degree to take three years as a full-time student and longer if you are a part-time student. If you complete an online degree program, you could finish within 18 months, even if you are working full time.
Potential Careers in General Health with a Master’s
- Occupational Therapist:
An occupational therapist helps people relearn, or learn to manage, how to do daily tasks in their personal and professional life. This could be any type of activity, from eating to working. They will work with people of all ages, including children and retirees. It is important to note that an occupational therapist is not the same as a physical therapist. Median Salary: $66,600
- Healthcare Consultant:
A healthcare consultant may have a number of responsibilities in various areas of healthcare. They may analyze organizational structure, efficiency, and profitability. After such an analysis, they will offer suggestions for improvement. You might work for a wide variety of employer types, such as hospitals, elementary schools, corporations, and more. Median Salary: $78,200
- Healthcare Project Manager:
A healthcare project manager deals with the management of all parts of a healthcare project, whether that is the construction of a new hospital wing, or the fundraising efforts required to make it happen. This person may be responsible for several projects at once or one large project at a time. You must excel in organization and communication. Median Salary: $76,100
- Laboratory 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
- Healthcare Administrator:
A healthcare administrator can work in multiple areas of healthcare. You might work with information management, office management, or health services and patient-based care management. It is possible to work with any type of employer that has an emphasis on health and/or fitness. Median Salary: $69,500
Options to Advance
If you wish to grow within a health sciences career, you will be required to specialize and continue your education. Just as with any career, technology plays a significant role in the rapid change of best practices. It is possible that someone with a health sciences master’s degree could go on to become a CEO, pursue a research career or work in highly sought-after government positions in health services. You may require a Ph.D. or a different doctorate degree to reach these pivotal career milestones. Even if you do not complete a doctorate degree, you will be required to continue your education through certificates, conferences and seminars, and publishing papers.
Keep in mind that with an online master’s degree, you will qualify to apply to earn the best professional and organizational certificates that are offered in health sciences. You should choose certificates that will provide you with specializations that will benefit your career goals and those that are most in demand by employers. These certificates will also improve your pay.
Best Master’s of Science in General Health Programs
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida has a highly in-demand health sciences department. Their Bachelors in Health Sciences is the most popular undergrad major and it has the largest number of students enrolled. Students can pursue either the pre-clinical or health promotion track. They will soon have an MS in Health Sciences degree option with three specializations.
- MS in Health Sciences - Specialization in Clinical Research and Pathophysiology
- MS in Health Sciences - Specialization in Community Health Promotion
- MS in Health Sciences - Specialization in Clinical Nutrition
Utah State University
Utah State University has an entire department for kinesiology, health sciences, and other related fields. Many people who graduate with health science degrees from Utah State go on to work in elementary and secondary schools, the state health department, corporate fitness, rehabilitation, and more.
- Master of Kinesiology and Health Science - Specialization in Fitness Promotion
Otterbein University has customized curriculum for its health science students. In the master’s program, they combine exercise and health science. The program also combines both classroom lessons and online learning for an efficient educational experience. You can choose between a hands-on practicum or a research thesis to complete your degree.
- Master of Science in Allied Health - Specialization in Exercise and Health Science
New Jersey City University
Jersey City, New Jersey
New Jersey City University is located just outside of Manhattan and provides a multicultural educational experience with a thriving and exciting metropolitan background. The master’s program for health sciences at New Jersey City University focuses on theoretical knowledge and then allows you to use it in real life with an internship.
- MS in Health Sciences - Specialization in Public Health Education
- MS in Health Sciences - Specialization in School Health Education
- MS in Health Sciences - Specialization in Health Administration
Boise State University
Boise State University also has reputable master’s degrees in health science. The program caters to both working professionals and recent graduates to focus on different areas in the field, such as public health, healthcare institutions, and private and public health agencies.
- Master’s Degree in Health Science
Traditional Schools Offering a M.S. in General Health
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Nova Southeastern University is at the center of healthcare trends and demand for graduates, as it is located in Florida, a state with a large aged population in need of healthcare. This online program allows people from all over the US to gain insight and experience derived from the large retirement demographics in their area.
- Master of Health Science
New Brunswick, New Jersey
The online master’s degree in health sciences offered by Rutgers University prepares students to work with the aging population. This is the largest sector of healthcare patient populations at this time. This program is customized specifically for the needs of healthcare facilities with large numbers of aged patients.
- MS of Health Sciences - Specialization in Aging
Saint Francis University
Saint Francis University offers an extensive master’s program in health science with a few concentrations, including health leadership and health education. They were one of the first colleges and universities to offer an online program in health science.
- Master of Health Science
Florida Gulf Coast University
Fort Myers, Florida
The master’s program at Florida Gulf Coast University focuses on leadership and high-level careers in health sciences. You will acquire the necessary skills to secure managerial and executive roles at any medical facility or business that requires guidance in health science.
- MS in Health Science - Specialization in Health Education
- MS in Health Science - Specialization in Health Administration
George Washington University, GW Online
Washington, District of Columbia
GW Online is part of George Washington University and is 100% dedicated to online degree programs of the highest caliber and 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.
- 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
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Regulatory Affairs
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Clinical Microbiology
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Medical Laboratory Sciences
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Molecular Diagnostic Science
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Translational Microbiology
- Master’s Degree in Health Sciences - Specialization in Integrative Medicine