The healthcare sector continues to boom because of an aging population and increasing healthcare needs. The pandemic creates new opportunities for healthcare professionals to help communities meet new mandates and promote public health and safety. Prospective students can take advantage of these conditions by pursuing an online health science degree.
A master’s degree in health science program enrolls students with diverse career goals, including those interested in nonclinical healthcare careers. Programs provide a broad education that students can tailor to meet their specific healthcare career aspirations. Those interested in clinical positions need additional training specific to their field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 15% job growth for healthcare workers between 2019-2029. While pay depends on occupation within this cluster, healthcare practitioners earn a median annual wage of $68,190, much higher than the $39,810 for all occupations. This guide provides more information for those exploring online health science degrees and careers.
What can you do with a degree in health sciences?
A health science master’s program provides training for careers in public health, research, and healthcare administration. With additional training, graduates pursue careers in fields such as occupational therapy and radiologic technology.
How much money do you make in health science?
Pay in the health science field varies by occupation. Those interested in careers as medical and health services managers earn a median $100,980 annual salary and enjoy 32% job growth.
How long does it take to get a master's degree in health science?
Full-time students typically earn a master’s degree in 18-24 months. Learners may prefer a part-time program to extend the completion timeframe and allow them to continue working.
What skills do you need for a health science degree?
Students interested in a health science degree need an aptitude for subjects such as anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology. They should also possess quantitative skills such as statistics.
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What Are the Goals of a Health Science Degree?
A health science master’s degree offers customization to meet individual career objectives. The degree provides a healthcare field overview and develops students’ understanding of population health issues. Enrollees apply scientific knowledge to address real-world challenges. Many programs offer clinical experience and research opportunities.
Some schools design programs for those interested in doctoral or professional programs such as medical or dental school. Many master’s degrees in health science focus on specialized training in nonclinical domains such as healthcare administration, public health, and environmental health. Students pursuing an online health science degree can expect to explore core topics such as epidemiology, public health, and health policy.
Why Get a Health Science Degree?
Some students seek advanced credentials for more job opportunities and higher pay. Others want to advance their existing healthcare careers. Below, we list five benefits of earning an online health science degree.
- Specialization Options
- A master’s degree in health science provides an interdisciplinary curriculum and the customization opportunities for individualized career goals. Each school offers different specializations that may include healthcare administration, sports medicine, and biostatistics.
- Higher Pay
February 2021 Payscale data notes a $76,111 average pay for master of health science degree-holders. Those with just a bachelor of health sciences earn a $63,708 average.
- Career Advancement
- Practicing healthcare professionals wanting to move up the career ladder need advanced knowledge in certain areas. A health science degree provides knowledge and specialized training that may include invaluable clinical experience.
- Job Growth
- Healthcare workers in general enjoy good job prospects, with some subsectors doing even better. Medical and health services managers enjoy a 32% job growth rate.
- Hands-On Experience
- An online health science degree often requires research culminating in a thesis or capstone project. The program may also require a supervised field placement or internship component providing hands-on experience.
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What Are the Requirements for a Health Science Degree?
Individuals interested in a health science master’s program need a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree. Some programs require one in health science or a related field. Learners without this background can explore programs offering foundational coursework or a bridge program to the master’s degree.
Schools typically require a minimum 2.75-3.0 GPA and may need GRE scores. Many institutions offer standardized test score waivers during the pandemic, or for students meeting certain academic requirements. Depending on the student’s health science specialization, the college may want healthcare work experience.
Once enrolled, students complete 30-60 credits including practicum or internship experience. Students culminate the online health science degree with a research capstone project or thesis.
Professional Organizations for Health Science Students
Professional organizations provide students with invaluable professional development, advocacy, and networking opportunities. Professional organizations vary for students interested in a health science master’s programs depending on their specialization. The following list provides three diverse organizations for students interested in a health science master’s program.
American Public Health Association
APHA, an advocacy and professional organization for public health professionals, offers discounted student membership. Member benefits include access to the Student Assembly, an organization of more than 8,000 members. Students also receive publications, join APHA's online communities, and use a jobs site and career center for professional development.
American Medical Student Association
Future physicians, leaders, and change agents in medicine join AMSA for educational programs, advocacy, and networking opportunities. The student-led organization offers various membership categories, including pre-med, med student, and graduate student. Member benefits include access to mentorship; leadership training; and discounted services such as test prep, travel, and insurance.
Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science
SACNAS promotes the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans attaining advanced degrees and pursuing STEM leadership positions. The organization boasts 118 professional and student chapters offering leadership programs, webinars, a career center, and an annual conference.
Scholarships for Health Science Students
Scholarships provide students with funding for tuition and other expenses. The funders award scholarships based on academic achievement or need. They also award scholarships to underrepresented populations such as women and minorities. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for students pursuing online health science degrees.
Who Can Apply: The Christie Foundation promotes medical education, knowledge, and medical services. The Foundation offers scholarships to students pursuing degrees in various medical fields. The Foundation awards funding based on academic performance. Students must upload school transcripts and evidence of college enrollment to qualify.
Who Can Apply: HOSA’s membership consists of future healthcare professionals attending secondary and postsecondary institutions. The organization awards scholarships to members interested in diverse healthcare careers, including allied health and public health. Students join HOSA and create a free Tallo account to apply for a HOSA scholarship.
Who Can Apply: The American College of Healthcare Executives offers this scholarship to minority students in their final year of a healthcare management graduate program. Healthcare administration students in a master’s in health science program qualify. Applicants submit college transcripts and must demonstrate financial need.
Best Online Master’s in Health Science Degrees 2021
A public land-grant research university based in Gainesville, Florida, UF offers an online master of health science in one health (MHS). Learners may complete this program online or on campus.
Students take 39 credits to earn this degree. Coursework includes in-depth coverage of public health, environmental ecology, emerging infectious diseases, aquatic systems, biostatistical methods, and environmental policy and risk management. UF also requires MHS students to complete a capstone research project to complete their graduate program.
Applicants must complete an online application and pay a nonrefundable application fee. They should also submit official academic transcripts of records, three letters of recommendation, a one-page professional statement of purpose, and an updated resume. The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
University of South Florida
A high-impact global research university located in Tampa, Florida, USF offers an online master of science in medical sciences with a concentration in health sciences.
The university offers this graduate program entirely online. Students can finish their degree in four semesters, taking intensive courses in health sciences ethics, human structure and function, medical genetics, medical anatomy, medical immunology and microbiology, and medical pharmacology. Students of this non-thesis program must also complete a capstone paper, which serves in place of a comprehensive exam.
Prospective students must complete the online graduate application form and pay the $30 application fee. Applicants also submit unofficial copies of their academic transcripts, along with their test scores for the GRE, MCAT, or DAT. The University of South Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
A private research university located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins offers an online master of health science program in population, family, and reproductive health for part-time working professionals.
This program entails high-quality courses in the following subjects: maternal and child health legislation and policies, demographic methods for public health, life course perspectives, infant mortality, and growth and nutrition. Students complete 64 credits of coursework, including essays and presentations, plus five courses in maternal and child health to earn their degree. Learners typically finish the program in 1-3 years.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students should submit three letters of recommendation, a two-page personal statement, an updated resume, and official transcripts from all universities attended. Johns Hopkins University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
A public land-grant university based in Columbia, Missouri, Mizzou offers an online master of health science in clinical and diagnostic sciences. This degree serves practicing clinicians pursuing advanced roles in the healthcare industry.
Mizzou delivers this graduate program fully online through the university's School of Health Professions. Graduates may work as clinical educators, team leaders, clinical or teaching professors, or clinical specialists. Students must complete 30 graduate credit hours to earn this graduate degree.
Applicants must submit transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities, along with a statement of purpose, an updated resume or CV, and two letters of recommendation. Mizzou requires non-native English speakers to submit TOEFL or IELTS score reports. The University of Missouri is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
A state university located in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, LHU offers an online master of health science for experienced health professionals.
LHU's health science graduate degree emphasizes healthcare management. Students of this 100% online program can complete the minimum requirement of 36 credits in one academic year. The program uses synchronous and asynchronous course delivery and provides students with schedule flexibility.
LHU requires prospective graduate students to earn a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants must complete an online application and submit official college transcripts, three professional letters of recommendation, and a personal mission statement. Lock Haven University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).