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Why Earn a Master’s in Health Science?

Graduate degrees are gaining more and more importance in the United States. Our healthcare industry is no exception. While many clinical fields, such as occupational therapy or physical therapy, have long required master's or doctoral degrees, nowadays even administrators are expected to achieve advanced degrees. Luckily, as graduate degrees in general become more common, online learning and hybrid learning (which includes online and in-person components) also become more common.

Whether you are a clinical practitioner seeking your necessary credentials or an administrator who is seeking to rise up the administrative ladder, this is for you. Here is your blueprint for academic and professional success.

A graduate health science degree program does not only grant access to a single career path. Health science, as an academic division, can open up a myriad of supportive clinical or health-related roles. Some departments also feature degrees that concentrate on non-clinical aspects of healthcare, such as information technology, management, or education.

In the clinical realm and for health management, you will need to achieve a master's for many positions. This degree will qualify you to sit for licensure examinations so that you can legally practice your profession. Non-clinical healthcare workers, the healthcare management professionals who see that everything runs properly, may also need graduate degrees. Online or traditional degrees focused on health science can keep your options open in all of these fields.

To rise into upper management or health services administration, many organizations require that you achieve a master's. It's practically unheard of to reach any business management position or the C-suites without an advanced degree, even for healthcare professionals. Even if you don't aspire to such heights on the corporate ladder, your degree is sure to help you garner a higher annual salary.

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One of the chief reasons someone might return to a university as a graduate student is the fact that most healthcare professionals with advanced degrees receive higher salaries, as do all professionals according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This includes degrees earned onine as how you earned you degree matters less than the fact that you made the effort to earn one. On top of the salary consideration, your extra time in an online, private, or public or state university will instill into students more knowledge and skills that will enhance their ability to create better patient outcomes and health policy. Further, this degree can mean that clinicians have access to state licensure and it means that administrative workers can achieve certain certifications to help them meet their professional goals.

Advanced health science degrees also open up the possibility for you to teach new prospective students at the college or university level. Many retirees apply their academic and professional experience to college or university instructorships. You might even decide to earn a Ph.D. and turn to a life of research or education and health promotion.


While a Master's health science degree program is usually seen as an uncontested positive advance for any career, there can be downsides to pursuing one. Chief among these is the possibility that you will decide that you are no longer interested in pursuing the career. You might also find that the investment does not pay off as you would like.

To offset these possible negative outcomes, be sure to do some deep introspection to determine that the degree is what you want, apart from any exterior reward. That is, make sure you are pursuing it for its own sake and for the sake of improving your professional experience. You can also strive to enroll in the very best, most competitive programs, which tend to produce graduates at the upper end of any applicable salary scale, though this will likely increase your need for financial aid.

Overview of a Master's in Health Science

As for a health science program (MHS program), there are some things you can expect to learn during your core courses covering the healthcare industry, which will build on the foundational knowledge learned in your health science degree and practical experience you've earned during your career in health services. The subjects covered in a health science program might include some or all of the following relevant education, and students will move on after completing their university curriculum to become health educators or other health professionals with a wide variety of health-related career goals in various healthcare professions.

  • Health Education and Promotion
  • Healthcare Delivery Systems
  • Infectious Disease Prevention
  • Environmental Health
  • Patient Safety
  • Public Health Education
  • Public Health Policy
  • Clinical Research Methods
  • Allied Health and Human Services
  • Health Informatics
  • Healthcare Finance
  • Medical Sciences and Health Services Administration
  • Allied Health and Business Management
  • Health Law
  • Leadership Skills
  • And More

What Health Science Master’s Degrees are Available Online?

  • Online Master of Science in Health Sciences:
    A Master of Health Science is likely to be the most common degree type that you will see. This degree typically indicates that your coursework was focused on analytical and/or scientific topics, such as health policy. However, there are plenty of students who focus on management and still graduate with an MS. Many of these can be found with online components if not fully online.
  • Online Master of Arts in Health Sciences:
    A Master of Health Science arts degree can cover the same topics as an MS degree but is less likely to be found from a health science program that focus on clinical practices. Rather, your MA is more likely to be in concentration areas such as health education, administration, and even community health, among others.
  • Online Master of Health Administration:
    This degree is focused squarely on health administration, as the name implies. This degree is the healthcare equivalent of an MBA. However, note that there are also MBA programs that concentrate on health administration. Academic success in this degree will more than prepare health professionals for management roles.
  • Online Master of Applied Arts in Health Sciences:
    An applied degree health science program is typically focused primarily on occupational information and outcomes rather than scholarly research. This means that many applied degrees aren't as embraced in academia as other degrees. However, at the graduate level, students are less likely to desire an even higher degree, so it could be a good option for you. Arts degrees are often even easier to complete online because there are less hands-on learning degree requirements.
  • Online Master of Applied Science in Health Sciences:
    Your applied science degree will surely serve you well in the workplace and job market. However, applied science degrees are less focused on scholarly research and thus carry less weight elsewhere in academia. You may do better with a degree with a stronger health sciences concentration.

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Health sciences Masters Admission Requirements

Graduate school admissions are not easy. You must submit your bachelor's degree or health science undergraduate degree transcripts, an entrance essay, letters of recommendation, and perhaps your professional resume to each higher education program where you send an application. Each health science program will differ, but a good rule of thumb is to expect graduate schools to require a minimum graduating GPA of 2.5 from your bachelor's degree program. The program may also require that certain courses be part of your transcript. This will depend largely on the specific degree you're pursuing, though requirements might differ for international students. Students taking online courses for their master's program must complete all of the admission requirements that a school needs, just like a student who plans to attend in person; and core courses and degree requirements in these educational programs from a medical school will be identical for on-campus and online attendees.

How long does it take to earn a Health Science Master’s Online?

Graduate programs take anywhere between one and three years, typically. However, you should strive to make time for your schoolwork, so that you won't have to defer even a single semester. Focus on finding ways to cover your professional and familial obligations so that you can do your best work in school. After all, your academic work will be a very large part of your career going forward.

Potential Careers in Health Science with a Master’s

  • Occupational Therapist:
    Occupational therapists work in a wide range of settings, helping a diverse group of patients. From geriatric people who suffer from dementia to adolescents learning to navigate life on the autism spectrum, OTs help people deal with problems and live their best lives. The average pay for OTs is $66,600.
  • Recreational Therapist:
    Recreational therapists help people recover from injury and disease through recreation. That might mean helping a newly paraplegic patient learn to play basketball to helping a stroke victim play a simple board game. To succeed in this profession, you will need a great deal of creativity and compassion. The average salary for recreational therapists is $41,300.
  • Healthcare Consultant:
    Healthcare consultants work with healthcare systems to streamline their operations and maximize their daily operations. Your specialty might be accounting, information technology, management, or even corporate finance. You might have to do a lot of traveling to visit far-flung clients who need your expertise, but the payday will make it all worthwhile. The average salary for this diversified job description is $78,200.
  • Healthcare Administration:
    Healthcare administrators can be found managing hospital departments or running doctors' offices. Their knowledge of both managerial techniques, healthcare policies, and regulations, as well as the strengths of their clinical teams, helps them succeed and their organizations thrive. Average pay for healthcare administrators is $66,000.
  • Program Director:
    This occupation will be quite demanding, but once you have your master's degree it will fit like a glove. In this position, you will oversee a department or hospital ward. The position will involve training junior staff, ensuring departmental compliance to state and federal regulations, and more. The average salary for this position is $81,200.

Options to Advance

When you have an Online Master's Degree in Health Science you will surely be able to advance within your chosen field. With an advanced degree you can pursue a state license for clinical occupations, such as occupational therapy, or receive a promotion to program director if you are on the administrative side.

Graduate degrees will help you on the job market as well. Once students complete a degree, your current employer is sure to see that your value just rose significantly and should try to keep you involved in their business through larger bonuses, promotions, and salary hikes. On the other hand, you might decide to seek new challenges and opportunities. When your resume and profile shows that you have an MS in Health Science, recruiters are sure to start buzzing around and you'll start receiving calls shortly after submitting your resume to jobs.

Top 20 Best Online Masters in Health Science Programs


Johns Hopkins University

Score: 90.46

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $60,480
    • Out-of-State: $60,480
  • Net Price: $24,034
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Retention Rate: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Total Enrollment: 31,275
  • Undergrad Students: 6,044
  • Graduate Students: 25,231
  • Grads Salary: $92,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 6:1
  • Johns Hopkins University

University of South Florida

Score: 76.53

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $8,350
    • Out-of-State: $19,048
  • Net Price: $11,004
  • Acceptance Rate: 44%
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Total Enrollment: 49,600
  • Undergrad Students: 38,047
  • Graduate Students: 11,553
  • Grads Salary: $70,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 22:1
  • University of South Florida

George Washington University

Score: 71.78

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $33,930
    • Out-of-State: $33,930
  • Net Price: $42,723
  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 85%
  • Total Enrollment: 25,939
  • Undergrad Students: 11,482
  • Graduate Students: 14,457
  • Grads Salary: $81,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 12:1
  • George Washington University

Saint Francis University

Score: 71.7

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $21,290
    • Out-of-State: $21,290
  • Net Price: $27,459
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,857
  • Undergrad Students: 2,461
  • Graduate Students: 396
  • Grads Salary: $78,999
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Saint Francis University

Towson University

Score: 71.14

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $8,676
    • Out-of-State: $17,964
  • Net Price: $14,443
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Retention Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%
  • Total Enrollment: 19,793
  • Undergrad Students: 16,861
  • Graduate Students: 2,932
  • Grads Salary: $67,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Towson University

American Public University System

Score: 70.54

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $6,660
    • Out-of-State: $6,660
  • Net Price: $11,172
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Total Enrollment: 48,668
  • Undergrad Students: 39,206
  • Graduate Students: 9,462
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 24:1
  • American Public University System

MCPHS University

Score: 70.15

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $23,850
    • Out-of-State: $23,850
  • Net Price: $38,776
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Retention Rate: 70%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,824
  • Undergrad Students: 3,522
  • Graduate Students: 3,302
  • Grads Salary: $98,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 10:1
  • MCPHS University

Northern Illinois University

Score: 68.95

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $9,066
    • Out-of-State: $9,066
  • Net Price: $13,884
  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Retention Rate: 65%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,649
  • Undergrad Students: 11,429
  • Graduate Students: 4,220
  • Grads Salary: $75,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • Northern Illinois University

Northern Kentucky University

Score: 68.08

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $9,900
    • Out-of-State: $15,210
  • Net Price: $7,259
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Retention Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,801
  • Undergrad Students: 10,776
  • Graduate Students: 5,025
  • Grads Salary: $68,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • Northern Kentucky University

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Score: 66.78

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $7,002
    • Out-of-State: $14,346
  • Net Price: $8,105
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Retention Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Total Enrollment: 31,559
  • Undergrad Students: 26,434
  • Graduate Students: 5,679
  • Grads Salary: $65,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 19:1
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Florida Gulf Coast University

Score: 66.7

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $6,974
    • Out-of-State: $28,170
  • Net Price: $10,834
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,969
  • Undergrad Students: 14,130
  • Graduate Students: 1,839
  • Grads Salary: $61,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 20:1
  • Florida Gulf Coast University

Minnesota State University-Mankato

Score: 66.16

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $8,836
    • Out-of-State: $13,256
  • Net Price: $16,809
  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Retention Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Total Enrollment: 14,590
  • Undergrad Students: 12,676
  • Graduate Students: 1,914
  • Grads Salary: $71,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 21:1
  • Minnesota State University-Mankato

Nova Southeastern University

Score: 65.73

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $22,062
    • Out-of-State: $22,062
  • Net Price: $29,589
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Retention Rate: 78%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Total Enrollment: 20,948
  • Undergrad Students: 6,971
  • Graduate Students: 13,977
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • Nova Southeastern University

Western Carolina University

Score: 65.7

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $4,435
    • Out-of-State: $14,842
  • Net Price: $13,022
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Retention Rate: 71%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Total Enrollment: 11,635
  • Undergrad Students: 9,956
  • Graduate Students: 1,679
  • Grads Salary: $62,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Western Carolina University

Touro University Worldwide

Score: 65.43

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $9,000
    • Out-of-State: $9,000
  • Net Price: $17,068
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,249
  • Undergrad Students: 413
  • Graduate Students: 1,836
  • Grads Salary: $63,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 8:1
  • Touro University Worldwide

Bellarmine University

Score: 64.4

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $13,785
    • Out-of-State: $13,785
  • Net Price: $22,813
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 60%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,970
  • Undergrad Students: 2,343
  • Graduate Students: 627
  • Grads Salary: $66,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 12:1
  • Bellarmine University

University of South Dakota

Score: 64.28

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $6,123
    • Out-of-State: $11,773
  • Net Price: $18,378
  • Acceptance Rate: 99%
  • Retention Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Total Enrollment: 9,856
  • Undergrad Students: 7,132
  • Graduate Students: 2,724
  • Grads Salary: $65,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • University of South Dakota

Cleveland State University

Score: 64.02

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $10,627
    • Out-of-State: $18,202
  • Net Price: $15,719
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Retention Rate: 69%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Total Enrollment: 14,385
  • Undergrad Students: 9,776
  • Graduate Students: 4,609
  • Grads Salary: $69,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Cleveland State University

Radford University

Score: 63.61

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $9,182
    • Out-of-State: $17,964
  • Net Price: $17,105
  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Retention Rate: 68%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,718
  • Undergrad Students: 6,008
  • Graduate Students: 1,710
  • Grads Salary: $66,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 12:1
  • Radford University

Lock Haven University

Score: 62.83

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $9,288
    • Out-of-State: $13,932
  • Net Price: $15,947
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Retention Rate: 69%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,920
  • Undergrad Students: 2,466
  • Graduate Students: 454
  • Grads Salary: $64,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Lock Haven University

Frequently Asked Questions

What specializations will I have access to in a health science master’s degree?

There are plenty of options for specializations in all kinds of master’s degrees, and health sciences is no exception to that rule. Indeed, there are specializations that will prepare you for further medical roles, administrative positions, and more.

Here are just some of the options you might be able to find in either local or online programs.

  • Community Health Education
  • Gerontology
  • Health Services Administration
  • Pre-Medical
  • Pre-Occupational Therapy
  • Pre-Physical Therapy
  • Recreation Management
  • And More

What changes are expected in the coming years in health science?

The field of health science is constantly evolving, and new advancements are being made all the time. Some changes that are expected in the coming years include an increased emphasis on personalized medicine, perhaps even medication which tailors treatments to the unique genetic makeup of each patient. There will likely also be a continued growth in the use of telemedicine and remote monitoring to improve access to healthcare in remote or underserved areas. There have been and continue to be advancements in genomics and genetic research, leading to new treatments and cures. There may also be a widespread use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in healthcare in the future. Many health workers are looking to create an increased focus on preventative care and lifestyle medicine as a means of preventing and managing chronic conditions. There have also been signs that there might be advancements in regenerative medicine and stem cell research that could lead to new therapies for conditions such as spinal cord injuries and degenerative diseases. There has also been and continues to be more focus on mental health and the integration of mental and physical healthcare. These are just some of the changes that may continue to affect health science in the coming years.

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