Online Degree in Health Science
Work or family commitments? No problem. Online degrees in health science are plentiful and provide the right amount of flexibility.
Education is the pathway to a fulfilling career that can enrich your life, as well as the lives of others. Health science is a degree that is aimed towards helping medical patients and diverse populations who you can benefit through your work as a clinician, administrator or even as a communicator. Everyone in the healthcare industry is a part of supporting patient care in some way. Working toward a health science degree can be life changing for you and others.
Now, thanks to expanding technological advances, you can work towards your health science degree online. This option offers many advantages, but you must consider them very carefully so that you attend the best college or university. Your education is a key to the future, so it is vital that
Advantages of an Online Education
Pursuing a degree online has a number of advantages. Chief among them is the flexibility online courses offer. You can continue to work, serve in the military, or take care of your young children while still advancing your knowledge and skill base for a competitive marketplace.
Many traditional programs also offer online courses which can result in the ability to take a mix of campus and online courses. These are called hybrid programs. Since health science is such a growing field, you might find that your program asks you to take many core courses online, and reserve space for lab or clinician courses in campus classrooms.
Work and Learn
A chief advantage of taking health science courses online is that you can work in your chosen field while studying in your spare time. For instance, you could find an entry level job in a hospital administrator’s office as an administrative assistant and study the field at night and on the weekends. You might even find a mentor in your hospital who can discuss your learning and how it applies to your job. Your education will take on a dimension that is not available to traditional on-campus students.
Online learning can bring the world’s best universities to you. You may not have the right health science program in your home town, or your local college might not offer exactly the specialty you desire. Online school eliminates the geographical barrier to learning. In the past, students often traveled hundreds or thousands of miles each term. Now they learn in the privacy of their own home.
Degree Completion Programs
There are some programs that offer the final two years of a bachelor’s degree online. This can be a great benefit to those who already have an associate’s degree and want to advance in a career or change course. If you completed a two-year degree in a clinical field such as surgical technology, you can return to school and take the academic courses online.
What to Consider in an Online Program
If you want to take most or all of your classes online, be sure to weigh your needs and priorities against what the school offers. While all online courses are more flexible than campus classes, not all are equally flexible. Some courses may require that you sign in at specific times to attend virtual lectures or you might need to participate in scheduled chat room discussions.
Other schools have an asynchronous structure that allows you to log in at any time to retrieve class materials or to submit work, provided it meets a midnight deadline. This asynchronous system is often what students are seeking, as many have irregular work schedules or live in time zones that make attendance to events highly inconvenient, if not impossible.
Many health science programs require externships that give students real world experience along with their academic studies. In fact, these practicums are often considered capstone experiences that will help mold the first stages of your career. Discuss your externship with your online advisor. Though your online school’s headquarters may be many states removed from where you are, they may be able to help you set up an appropriate experiential learning course that will send you into the job market fully prepared.
As a budding health sciences professional, you will want the best advice you can get as you work through a degree. Make sure your program offers academic advisement so you can take the courses you need to stay on track for graduation—and which promise to prepare you for the working world and perhaps more education later on.
If you are considering graduate school after you’ve been in the workplace for a while, discuss your plans with your advisor. Some graduate programs have specific courses they require for admission. Make sure you complete those courses while you are already working through a degree program, as no one likes to complete undergraduate courses when they are ready to move into post-graduate work.
When you research online institutions, one key element to consider is accreditation. This is vital to your later success. When a school is accredited, you will be assured that the program is top-notch and that it will garner the respect and esteem you expect from a credential. Once you have completed an accredited program, you will also be able to transfer or apply credits to the next level of your education. Some specific specialties have their own professional accrediting boards above and beyond your school’s regional accreditation. Some of those specialties and accrediting agencies include:
- Pharmacy Technician: Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)
- Medical Assistant: either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- Physical Therapist Assisting: Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
Why Study Health Science Online
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career paths in the healthcare industry are growing at above average rates. This increasing growth is attributed to two sources of demand: the aging Baby Boom generation and the increase in insurance availability under the Affordable Care Act.
An online health science degree will educate you in the ever-changing issues that are relevant to the field. Your core courses will provide an overview of the industry and its basics, then from there, you can move into a specialty field. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to be a doctor or nurse to work in a hospital. In fact, the healthcare industry needs a wide range of professionals to help support patient care.
When you study health sciences, you can apply your talents to a specific field of healthcare. After you graduate, you will be focused in an area of an industry that is in need of talented, driven people familiar with the mission of healthcare.
Careers in Health Science
The sky is the limit in healthcare industry careers. There are job options for nearly every sort of student, whether you’re highly technical or want to work with people. If you are interested in management, you could pursue a specialty in healthcare administration. Hospital administration is responsible for streamlining their organization to ensure both financial solvency and that the chief mission of patient care is attended to. Under the umbrella of healthcare administration, you can find a number of jobs, such as:
|Healthcare Informatics (IT)||Cybersecurity|
Each of these jobs serves patient needs by assuring that financial and medical records are accounted for and that there are enough doctors and nurses on duty to meet daily care requirements. Your business, technical or organizational skills will be a great benefit to everyone in a clinic, long-term care facility or hospital.
If you are civic minded, you could pursue a specialty that is part of government such as public health. Public health administrators are often found in state, local and federal government. Epidemiologists are generally found in government agencies. Both job types might be called to inform public policy or even to mobilize assistance in the event of a public healthcare emergency.
For those who are less technically oriented and who desire a career in a humanities based field, there is the possibility to work as a public health educator, or as a writer in healthcare communications. Both of these fields rely less on technical prowess, yet make a huge difference in the lives of patients and scientists alike.
Other possibilities may include the following careers:
|Biomedical Engineer||Occupational Therapists|
Get Started Today
The healthcare industry presents many challenges and opportunities, but can make a huge difference in people’s lives and to the well-being of society. You can be part of it if you decide to enroll in an online health sciences program. With such flexible education options and the ready availability of online health science degree programs, the time to begin working toward your new career is now.
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