Health science may be an ideal field of study if you are interested in working in healthcare administration or continuing on to a graduate program in the health professions. You can expect to complete a comprehensive curriculum including classes in biology, physiology, biochemistry, health care practice, health policy, industry law and ethics and health care leadership and organization. At the bachelor's level, students should also be prepared to complete a general core curriculum in areas such as English, humanities, social science, natural science and mathematics.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
While students who earn a health science bachelor’s can fill administrative and management positions in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and other facilities, this type of program appeals most to those seeking graduate education in the health professions. This could be physical therapy, dental or medical school, to name a few options. A bachelor’s will typically take four years of full-time study and will include a general education curriculum, as well as training in the natural sciences and industry practices. With the growing demand for qualified health care workers, graduates are in an ideal situation to either enter the administrative side of the allied health care industry or pursue graduate programs in professional practice.
Inside a Health Science Bachelor’s Degree Program
With the growing popularity of distance learning, a number of online bachelor’s degree programs in health science are available. These are designed to be completed in four years. However, please keep in mind, this will all depend on the number of courses you elect to take each term, any transfer credits brought in and your enrollment status throughout the program. During the first part of the undergraduate curriculum, students will complete their general education requirements and introductory courses in subjects related to their major. Courses may include biology, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, health care delivery systems, health care law and ethics, economics in health care and health care administration. Advanced courses will then follow. In some cases, internships and research components will be required.
Most online programs are run in an asynchronous format. This means students are not required to log in to the virtual classroom at a specified time to “attend” class. Rather, they can work around their personal and professional schedules to complete assignments, review readings, post in discussion boards and read instructor’s’ feedback. Although students do not have direct face-to-face contact with their professors and peers, the use of web conferencing software, streaming video and chat technology all help to keep the learning process engaging.
What’s Next for Health Science Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Many graduates with a bachelor’s in this field go on to graduate study. However, some may opt to pursue careers in healthcare administration or clinical support. This can include occupations such as medical and health services managers, medical and clinical laboratory technologists or social and community service managers. Job outlook is strong for these positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports than the demand for medical and health services managers is expected to increase by 17% over the period of 2014 to 2024. This figure was 10% for social and community service managers.
In 2014, the average annual salary for medical and health services managers was $103,680. However, those with a bachelor’s degree, entering the field for the first time, should expect lower starting pay. Other factors such as where you live, the specific position and type of employer will also influence your salary.