Health science is a field of study focused on concepts in natural science and technology used in health care delivery systems. Students interested in pursuing a master's degree in health science should be prepared to complete advanced research work in their chosen area of focus. Specializations may include health care law, epidemiology, sports medicine, mental health, health economics, or biostatistics, to name a few. Students who complete this type of program are prepared to pursue further graduate study or research careers.
Why a Master’s Degree?
If you are interested in teaching at the college level or want to pursue a career in health science research, you will need an advanced degree. In some cases, a master’s degree will be enough to qualify you for these positions. Research positions may be found in academia, hospitals, private health companies, or with government agencies. However, this degree may also serve as pathway towards a Ph.D. program. Most universities require professors to hold a Ph.D.
Inside a Health Science Master’s Degree Program
Students interested in earning their master’s degree in health science online can usually complete a program in two to three years of full-time study. Other factors, such as any break taken throughout the program, transfer credits, and the length of research for thesis or capstone projects can all influence the time it takes to graduate. At this level of study, students should expect to complete a series of advanced survey courses and seminars. Curricula are typically tailored to a students’ own specialization interests, which may include health care economics, health law, epidemiology, sports medicine, or mental health, among others.
The flexibility of an online curriculum is ideal for working professionals looking to continue at their jobs while pursuing higher education. Since most distance learning programs do not require students to “attend” classes at a specified time, they are free to log in to the virtual learning platform at any time and from any location that is convenient for them. Research work can be organized in the student’s local area and streaming video, chat, and web conferencing technology are used to communicate with your faculty advisors.
What’s Next for Health Science Master’s Degree Holders?
Graduates are prepared with the knowledge and expertise to pursue careers in research. Jobs may be available in both the public and private sectors with hospitals, schools, health systems, or government agencies. Please note, if you are interested in teaching at the college or university level, you will likely need to continue on to a doctoral program.
Possible occupations include medical and clinical laboratory technologists or medical and health services managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a strong job outlook with 17% growth expected for medical and health services managers from 2014 to 2024. This estimate is 14% for medical and clinical laboratory technologists. The reported mean salary in 2014 was $92,810 for medical and health services managers and $59,430 for medical and clinical laboratory technologists. Please note, actual job availability and starting salaries will vary based on location, level of experience, educational background, and the specific employer.