What Is Health Science? Everything You Need to Know

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What Is Health Science? Everything You Need to Know

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the healthcare sector are projected to grow sixteen percent between the years of 2020 and 2030. This is a much faster rate of growth than the average for all occupations. It is expected that 2.6 million new jobs will be added in the healthcare industry, which is more than any other occupational group.

When you are deciding what major to choose in college, it’s important to pick something that you will both enjoy pursuing as a career but also something that will provide you with steady job opportunities. If you are interested in hard sciences and social sciences and are hoping to work in a field where you can help the community you serve, a health science degree might be the right thing for you.

What is health science, though? What kind of jobs can you get with a health science degree? Can you get a job with a bachelor’s degree in health science, or do you need to go on to do graduate work and clinical training?

Let’s take a look at the answers to these questions and more.

What Is Health Science?

Health science is a field that is distinct from basic sciences such as chemistry, biology, and physics. This is because each of those sciences deal with topics that aren’t related to health.

Health science, on the other hand, focuses specifically on health issues and outcomes. For that reason, this is a very wide ranging interdisciplinary field that encompasses both behavioral science and natural science.

When you work towards a health science degree, you will typically take a wide variety of courses. These will include lab science classes as well as classes that help you understand population health.

It is common for health science programs to require coursework in a number of health-related social science fields. These might include psychology, sociology, and epidemiology. Getting a degree in this field also often includes courses in exercise science and nutrition.

People pursuing a health science degree might also take courses in public health classes. You also might be allowed to study the business of health care or health policy, depending on which program you are taking.

One of the benefits of pursuing this type of degree rather than another kind of health-related degree is that it offers a broader approach to health care. This means that the individual can be exposed to many different aspects of health care and help them determine which type of career they want to pursue.

What Can You Do With a Health Science Degree?

There are a number of health professions that you could work towards with a health science degree. However, many health science professions require further certification and some jobs require clinical training and graduate education beyond your bachelor’s degree.

Let’s take a look at some of the jobs you can get with a health science degree.

Patient Service Representative

You don’t need a health science degree to get this job, but having the degree can definitely help you get your foot in the door. People in this role act as a liaison between patients and doctors. It is their job to help patients understand what is going on with their treatment and what their rights are.

Basically, you are a customer service agent that is based in a medical facility in one form or another. You would be the person who collects patient information before they are seen for their appointments. You are also the one who answers billing questions that patients might have.

In this occupation, you would work at the front desk in a health care setting. Through both written and verbal correspondence, you would communicate with patients.

This can be an emotionally taxing job because it is client-facing. It’s ideal to have fairly thick skin as you might find yourself dealing with patient complaints. The average salary for this job is $35,980.

Medical Assistant

This is an entry-level position in the field of health science. In this role, you can find yourself performing a number of different administrative jobs to help doctors, physicians, and nurses. You can pursue this job right after you complete your degree.

The job outlook for this profession is quite positive. In fact, growth in this occupation is expected to grow much faster than the average U.S. occupation at 18%. In 2020, there were 720,900 jobs.

Typically, medical assistants work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, healthcare facilities, and outpatient clinics.

The average salary for this position is $35,850.

Medical Lab Technicians

If lab classes were your favorite in college, then you might be interested in pursuing a career as a medical lab technician. This is where you can really get your hands dirty (figuratively) by working with lab equipment and analyzing test results.

Usually, medical lab technicians look at the results of tests. Sometimes, though, they might be responsible for taking fluid or blood samples.

There also might be some administrative duties that are included as a part of this job. The average salary for a medical lab technician is $54,180.

Becoming a medical laboratory technician might be the right role for you if you aren’t particularly interested in direct and continuous patient care. This is a career where you can focus more on the technology and science aspects of the healthcare and medical field.

You might also hear this profession referred to as clinical lab technicians. It is common for people in this job to work in a hospital laboratory, a diagnostic laboratory, or a clinic laboratory.

It is worth noting that the title “med tech” is often shared between medical technicals and medical technologists as well as other jobs. This can be quite confusing because there are distinctions that are worth understanding.

The distinction between technicians and technologists is that technicians have diplomas, a two-year associate degree, or certificates while technologists hold a bachelors degree. This means that technologists have more opportunities to earn higher salaries and advance in their careers than technicians do.

Other Jobs You Can Pursue With a Health Science Degree

There are more jobs you can pursue with a health science degree than we can list here.

Some other jobs that you can get with a health science degree (though many of which require further education and training) include:

  • Health educator
  • Community health or public health worker
  • Behavior analyst
  • Doctor
  • Hearing aid specialist
  • Pharmacy sales representative
  • Patient care advocate
  • Registered diagnostic medical sonographer
  • Physical or occupational therapist
  • Mental health counselor
  • Registered dietitian
  • Research assistant or associate
  • Registered radiologic technologist

It is common for heath science graduates to be professionally known as technologists. However, usually these graduates will end up with more formal titles that are based around their specific discipline.

The average salary for an American worker that has a bachelor’s degree in the field of health science is $63,000. This data is according to the salary website PayScale.

You can divide the types of jobs you can get in the field of health science into nonclinical and clinical jobs. Examples of nonclinical jobs include being a health educator, a biomedical equipment technician, or a public health nurse. Other nonclinical roles include being a health services administrator or an epidemiologist.

Clinical careers typically involve dealing directly with patients in office, clinics, and hospitals. It can also mean dealing with patients in pharmacies, in the field, or in ambulatory care. These are careers that can be quite rewarding but are also incredibly demanding.

Some of the jobs you can work on the clinical side of things include being a paramedic, an anesthesia technician, a registered nurse, a dental hygienist, or a surgical technician. You also might consider becoming a nutritionist, a respiratory therapist, a radiation therapist, or a clinical dietitian.

As you can see, there are lots of options when it comes to careers in health science. Additional clinical roles include becoming a chiropractor, a speech pathologist, an audiologist, or a staff pharmacist. You could also work towards becoming a dentist or a physician.

If you’re going to be working in a clinical setting, you may as well learn now about one of the most useful tools you will have at your disposal. When you use Dragon Medical, it allows you to see more patients, reduce transcription, and enhance documents. With this voice-to-text technology, your profession as a medical profession just got a lot easier.

Who Should Get a Health Science Degree?

According to experts, this type of degree is ideal for people who have particularly eclectic academic interests. If you find that you enjoy both technical fields like math as well as social sciences such as anthropology, this might be a good degree for you to pursue.

However, it is also important that you feel it is a personal passion to use this information to better the community that you will practice in. This might mean working at a local level, a national level, or an international level.

Health science focuses on taking scientific knowledge and applying it to real-life problems. This means that the field and the professions that stem from it require a hands-on, practical approach. The training that you will receive in this field is very pragmatic.

People who have graduated from health science programs say that it helped to build a solid foundation for the career they eventually pursued as a clinician. 

Hows Does a Health Sciences Degree Help Prepare You for Medical School?

A health science major is often considered to be one of the best undergraduate majors for pre-med. If you are interested in graduate or professional programs, you might find that a health science degree allows you to select coursework that will meet the pre-requisites of the professional or graduate program you’re interested in.

Can You Get a Health Science Degree Online?

The world of healthcare is changing quickly. At this point, there is a serious need for graduates who are broadly educated and who have extensive knowledge of service-related and healthcare topics. There are bachelor’s degree programs you can sign up for online that is flexible but also prepare you for lots of career opportunities.

What Health Professions Can You Work in Without a Degree?

If you’re concerned about the rising tuition costs at colleges all over the country, you might be wondering if there are health care jobs you can get that don’t require a degree. There definitely are, but you can expect that your salary might not be as hefty as one you could get if you pursued a health science degree and grad school.

Some of the jobs that you can get without a degree in healthcare include:

  • Home health aide
  • Phlebotomist
  • Medical equipment technician
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Patient care technician
  • Medical assistant
  • Medical biller
  • Dental assistant
  • Sonographer
  • Occupational therapy aide
  • Paramedic
  • Licensed practical nurse (LPN)
  • Massage therapist

Having a degree in health sciences might help you land one of these jobs, but it isn’t necessary. If you are interested in working in health care and you haven’t yet started a degree program, it’s worth considering all of your options.

Is a Health Science Degree Right for You?

Now that you know the answer to “what is health science?” hopefully you have a better idea whether this is the right field for you to pursue. There are so many different job opportunities in this field as healthcare is a seriously growing sector of the economy.

Did you find this article about pursuing a health science degree interesting? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative and useful articles!