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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects strong job growth in many fields related to health science. Salaries are wide ranging and can depend on many factors, including education, location, and experience.
The need for healthcare workers is growing largely because baby boomers are living longer and need extended healthcare. Colleges and universities have responded to the demand for new providers with educational programs that prepare workers for a variety of careers.
As an interdisciplinary degree, there are many health science specialties or concentrations a student can pursue, with salaries to match.
The need for healthcare workers is growing largely because baby boomers are living longer and need extended healthcare.
What Is Health Science?
Health science is a field that combines many healthcare disciplines under one umbrella. Core courses in a health science program might cover ethics, the basics of healthcare administration, or current trends in the industry. With that common base, students then pursue a specialty. A short list of specialties includes:
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the health science careers you can pursue and the salaries you can earn, according to the BLS.
Hospitals and clinics rely on administrators to keep an organization running smoothly. Administrators work throughout a hospital or clinic. Some work in finance and make sure that the financial resources are well managed. Others work in healthcare informatics and see to the technological needs of the staff. Most upper administrative and management roles will require a master’s degree.
Administrators ensure their department or organization is up to date with current laws, regulations and technologies. They may also seek out inefficiencies or redundancies and work with doctors and nurses to correct problems. Ultimately, an administrative executive helps to keep the ship of healthcare afloat and on course.
Epidemiology is a key component of public health. An epidemiologist uses statistical models to study how disease spreads. For instance, they may try to predict how and where a virus will spread next. With that information, healthcare professionals can work to treat patients and curb the spread.
An epidemiologist might work in a hospital and create programs that halt the growth and proliferation of viruses and bacteria in the facility. Thus, they are working alongside a variety of healthcare professionals and need a health sciences degree to give them a common language and understanding.
Pharmacy technicians are found in nearly every pharmacy in the nation. They work in hospitals, drugstores, and supermarkets. These professionals usually have an associate degree or a certificate. Due to the expanding demand for pharmaceutical products, this field is growing. With a health science degree, a pharmacy technician can excel in a pharmacy setting or expand into other areas of healthcare.
Healthcare communications specialists work at hospitals and other facilities, where they translate medical jargon into layperson’s terms to write news releases, newsletters, and other content. Some even write grants for researchers. Communications experts keep the public aware of what is happening at the facility, including new advancements and successes in treating diseases.
This field bridges the gap between engineering and biology to help care for and heal patients. For instance, a biomedical engineer might work on the best stents or prosthetic limbs for amputees. Biomedical engineers also design artificial hearts, install and support medical machinery, and work with any sort of technology or device that serves to support human biology.
Biomedical engineers work in a wide range of places, from hospitals, where they might be in charge of maintaining diagnostic equipment; to private company laboratories, where they design and test new products for market. Most often they have master’s degrees, but there are plenty who have fruitful careers with an undergraduate degree.
Medical Laboratory Technician
Every doctor relies on a laboratory to send specimens to a lab for analysis. They need to know if tissues are diseased or the status of a patient’s blood. Lab technicians perform routine diagnostic tests and maintain sterile conditions in their labs. Half of these professionals work in hospitals, and others work in doctor’s offices and diagnostic laboratories.
Many medical lab technicians have an associate degree or post-secondary certificate, but others hold a bachelor’s degree.
Occupational therapists (OTs) work to help people recover from a health crisis such as a stroke or heart attack or get back on their feet as they recover from addiction. They also work with patients who might need to find new ways to do things due to dementia or paralysis.
Occupational therapists may help patients relearn everyday tasks such as taking a shower or brushing their teeth. Other occupational therapists may follow a social work path and help recovering drug addicts or people with mental illness find a job.
You can find OTs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and rehabilitation centers. They also work with people in their homes, and some venture to Third World countries where their expertise is needed.
Physical therapists (PTs) use exercises and hands-on therapy to help patients regain body movement and manage pain following an injury, accident, illness, or health event such as a stroke. They develop individualized care plans for each patient to help them not only improve mobility but also prevent further injury. They may also work with patients who have lost limbs and need to adapt to prosthetics.
PTs often work in hospitals, but they also see patients in their homes and in long-term care facilities. They may also work with patients in a gym or with a sports team.
Value of Earning a Degree
Professionals in the health sciences, from those with an associate degree to those with a master’s, are commanding competitive salaries as their fields grow.
Earning a degree can help push your personal and professional growth to the next level, and health sciences is a great place to start.
Not only that, but healthcare professionals can reap the rewards that come with helping others. Even those who work in marketing or communications are part of that process, helping to spread information to those who may need assistance now or in the future.
Earning a degree can help push your personal and professional growth to the next level, and health sciences is a great place to start. With so much variety in the field, there is bound to be a program and concentration that suit your interests.