A bachelor of health science degree is designed to move you towards a senior position in health care. But that can mean a lot of different jobs, depending on where your interest lies.
Colleges offer a wide variety of bachelor of science (BS) or bachelor of arts (BA) degrees in health science. While BS degrees generally lean a bit more toward clinical health care and the BA involves studying more of the broader humanities subjects, there’s actually a good deal of overlap between the two. Both types of bachelor of health science degrees are popular with students who already have some experience in health care and want to move into a new specialty or simply move up into a more managerial position. Many schools, in fact, call these “completion” degrees, and design them for students who already have an associate’s degree or some college credits completed.
Although there are usually restrictions on just how many credits you can transfer toward an accredited BA program from a previous school, most schools will give you a good deal of credit for studies you have already completed. Bachelor in health science programs often attract respiratory therapists, radiology technicians, dental hygienists, paramedics and others who want to give a boost to the careers they have already started (if you have not completed any college study yet, an associates degree may be your best choice to start with). A common approach is to build on an associate’s degree with a BA or BS in a specialized health science degree in management, informatics or another area requiring a particular skill set.
Of course, given that hospitals and other health facilities often base their salaries on an employee’s education level, many students like to get both their associates and bachelor’s degrees done as early in their careers as possible, so they can look toward the next step: a master’s degree.
Being a health care manager can put you right in the middle of clinical practice, or it can result in you working in a more administrative position for an insurance company, pharmaceutical company or other health-related setting. The BA health science degree is, in fact, so flexible that it can result in you earning a salary across a very wide range.
If you would like to put your degree to work in a medical facility setting, your bachelor in health science degree can translate into a job as a radiology technician, a nurse or physical therapist to name a few – though you will need to take a certification test in addition to your BS or BA to get a license to practice in one of these specialties. If you know exactly where your interest lies, specializing in an area like nutrition or pharmacology while you’re in school can give you unique job qualifications. And if you’re willing to stay in school, your bachelors degree could be the gateway to graduate study in dentistry or medicine.
A more administrative career path could have you working in medical records, insurance coding or in the administration of a hospital. Government health organizations, community agencies also have a need to the kind of expertise a health science degree gives. Some graduates are also hired to teach health subjects in grammar or high schools.
Generally, you can expect to find employment more easily and earn a high salary in any of these areas than someone with no degree. And the good news, particularly in today’s rough economy, is that health care in general is predicted to be a recession-proof, high growth industry well into the next decade by the US Dept. of Labor.
Broad Health Knowledge
Beyond medical topics, the bachelor of health science degree will give you a good grounding in topics like critical thinking, data analysis, research, problem solving, record keeping, written and oral communication, technology and logical reasoning. It’s a credential that’s designed to get you ready to move up in health care, and then keep moving up as the field grows and changes.