What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Health Science Program?
Health science master's programs prepare learners to thrive in the health science field. The rigorous curriculum introduces students to research methods, as well as how to evaluate critical research. Students also focus on concepts such as health policy, healthcare ethics, healthcare communications, leadership, and management. Professionals who want to pursue leadership roles in the field may choose a health science master's program that focuses on organizational management techniques.
What Common Courses Are Offered in a Master’s in Health Science Program?
- Leadership in Healthcare
Students in this class explore the behavior and organizational theory behind successful management and leadership in the healthcare industry. The course focuses particularly on self-analysis, communication strategies, and leadership and management techniques across healthcare environments.
- Health Informatics
This course reviews the resources, devices, and methods used to explore information in biomedicine and health. Students examine the development and history of health informatics, as well as issues in health computing and human-computer interactions.
- Healthcare Data Analytics
The healthcare data analytics course prepares learners to contribute to performance improvement efforts, as well as local data analytics concepts. Learners explore a variety of analytical concepts throughout their coursework.
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Information
The legal and ethical issues in health information course explores issues with confidentiality, privacy, and data security related to information management and technology. Course topics include information security, risk management, and service delivery.
- Healthcare Statistics
Degree-seekers explore the practical applications of inferential statistics in the health industry, allowing them to publish health research data to apply new concepts and knowledge in the field. Throughout the course, learners explore how to derive a data procurement plan while analyzing real-world data.
What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?
The exact requirements of a health science master's program vary by school and program. For instance, many programs require a capstone project, through which students synthesize the concepts, skills, and knowledge they developed during their program into one final project focused on a specific topic.
Conversely, other programs require learners to complete a thesis project. Like capstones, theses allow students to demonstrate mastery of the concepts they learned during their program. Instead of a project, however, the thesis requires students to complete a lengthy written paper.
What Specializations Are Available in a Master’s in Health Science Program?
Many master's in health science online programs offer specializations that give students the opportunity to narrow the focus of their degree. Some of the more common degree specializations are outlined below.
- Health Informatics
This specialization examines how to use information technology, computers, and other innovations to manage healthcare records and analyze data.
- Executive Leadership
Through the executive leadership specialization, students learn to develop and manage concepts, facilitate strategic decision-making and planning, and execute effective leadership strategies.
- Athletic Training
Students in the athletic training specialization develop their business and problem solving skills. The also explore injury prevention programs and ways to treat athletes.
What Can I Do with a Master’s in Health Science Degree?
Professionals who earn their master's degree in health science can pursue a variety of roles. For instance, graduates interested in technology can work as health informatics specialists, while those who desire an administrative career can work as healthcare administrators, nursing home administrators, or community health coordinators. The field also features a variety of management roles for individuals who want to be leaders in the profession.
Health Informatics Specialist
Health informatics specialists provide technical and administrative support to system users to help them through common problems. They also develop health information technology policies that meet specific regulations.
These professionals oversee staffing efforts, including hiring, training, and reviews. They also manage all of the financial operations for their organization, including annual reporting.
Community Health Coordinator
Often working in nonprofit organizations and for local governments, community health coordinators promote healthy lifestyles while planning, implementing, and monitoring health programs for local populations.
Nursing Home Administrator
These administrators manage care for residents in a nursing home. They oversee quality assurance processes in their facility and pay close attention to local, state, and federal laws.
Risk managers protect individuals and companies from liabilities. They also review the safety policies in place at a company and update them as needed to comply with laws and regulations.
How Much Can I Make with a Career in Health Science?
Across the health sciences field, professionals who hold their master's degree have more career opportunities and higher earning potential than those with only a bachelor's degree. For instance, medical and health services managers earn a median annual salary of nearly $100,000, while physician assistants and nurse practitioners can earn well over $100,000.
- Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health services managers are responsible for recruiting, hiring, and training staff members. They also develop attainable departmental objectives and goals for their team. These managers create work schedules, improve quality and efficiency of healthcare services, and monitor and prepare budgets.
Median Annual Salary: $99,730
Job Growth (2016-2026): 18%
- Health Educator
Health educators review different health behaviors that promote health and wellness. They review the needs of the communities and people they serve. They also create effective materials, programs, and events to educate individuals about health topics. Additionally, health educators teach people how to manage pre-existing health conditions and connect clients with information and services.
Median Annual Salary: $46,080
Job Growth (2016-2026): 11%
- Physician Assistant
These professionals review and record patients' medical histories, examine their patients, and order necessary diagnostic tests, including blood tests and x-rays, to diagnose their patients' illnesses or injuries. These professionals may coordinate outreach programs for patients. Some PAs work with nonprofits and organizations to discuss the management of diseases and promote overall health and wellness.
Median Annual Salary: $108,610
Job Growth (2016-2026): 31%
- Genetic Counselor
Genetic counselors work to identify specific genetic risks and disorders through the advanced study of genetics. They interview their patients to collect a comprehensive look at their individual and family medical histories. Genetic counselors also counsel patients and their families, as well as provide them with education and information about genetic risks and potential inherited conditions.
Median Annual Salary: $80,730
Job Growth (2016-2026): 27%
- Nurse Practitioner
Responsible for counseling patients and their families on how to maintain their health and manage illnesses and injuries, nurse practitioners record their patients' symptoms and maintain their medical history records to cultivate a comprehensive report of their overall health. These professionals prescribe medicine to their patients and create treatment plans specific to their conditions and needs. NPs also perform diagnostic tests and work with other healthcare professionals as necessary.
Median Annual Salary: $113,930
Job Growth (2016-2026): 26%
Online Master’s in Health Science Program Accreditation
Before enrolling in a master's in health science online program, students should understand the different types of accreditation, including regional, national, and programmatic. Regional accreditation features easy-to-transfer credits and qualifies students for most forms of financial aid. This form is regarded as more prestigious. Alternatively, transfer credits earned from nationally accredited institutions often get turned away at regional institutions.
In addition to regional and national accreditation, degree-seekers might encounter programmatic accreditation, a form of accreditation specific to a particular type of program. For health sciences degrees, learners might see programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
How to Pay for a Master’s in Health Science Degree
There are a variety of ways students can pay for their online master's in health science. Students can explore scholarship opportunities specifically created for those majoring in health sciences or related fields. They can also look for loan and grant opportunities by completing the FAFSA, as well as graduate assistantships and tuition discounts.
Techniques for Financing a Master’s in Health Science
Degree-seekers can take advantage of graduate assistantship opportunities that allow them to receive financial assistance for research and teaching experiences.
All students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before beginning their degree program. The FAFSA helps students to determine the amount and kind of financial aid they may be eligible for.
Some colleges and universities offer tuition discounts exclusively for online students. While most institutions feature tuition structures that elevate tuition costs for out-of-state students, some allow online students to pay the same price as in-state students regardless of residency, saving them a considerable amount on tuition.
Scholarships for Master’s in Health Science Students
- Bill and Mary Russell Healthcare Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Bill and Mary Russell Healthcare scholarship assists undergraduate and graduate students studying health sciences. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation with their application.
Amount: $1,000See Scholarship
- CBC General Mills Health Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation collaborates with General Mills each year to provide scholarships for African American students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in health science or services.
Amount: $2,500See Scholarship
- Frederick J. Krause Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Frederick J. Krause scholarship is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities who are focused on earning a degree in health science, health promotion, public health, disability studies, or disability research.
Amount: $1,000See Scholarship
- IOKDS Health Careers Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The IOKDS Health Careers scholarship benefits students attending accredited institutions in the United States and Canada. Candidates should earn a health science-related degree, with preference given to master's and doctoral students.
Amount: $1,000See Scholarship
- S. Evelyn Lewis Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Presented by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority National Education Foundation, this scholarship assists female undergraduate or graduate students who enroll in medical or health sciences programs and hold good academic standing.
Amount: $500-$1,000See Scholarship
Professional Organizations and Resources
Graduates of health sciences master's programs can pursue membership through a variety of professional organizations across many disciplines in the health sciences field. Depending on their area of expertise and interest, individuals can consider different organizations that align with their professional goals.
- This professional society is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare across the country. ACHE helps members achieve their professional goals by providing a learning center and professional resource center.
- This organization serves healthcare professionals who focus on health information management. AHIMA hosts several conferences and events each year.
- The premier organization representing nurses across the United States, ANA works to improve the quality of healthcare by supporting the nursing profession.
- Serving as the professional organization for public health professionals in the United States, APHA provides webinars, continuing education, advocacy, publications, networking opportunities, and resources.
- A nonprofit membership organization dedicated to empowering and supporting the nurses who care for newborns, women, and families, AWHONN provides members with advocacy, research, and education.
- NCHSE focuses on providing high quality healthcare, with an emphasis on leadership in healthcare workplaces.
- An independent professional society, SOPHE serves health educators, health academics, and education researchers interested in improving the healthcare of local and global communities.
- The premier professional organization for healthcare administration, AAHAM provides members with a variety of useful resources across the field.
- A nonprofit membership organization that serves nearly 40,000 members, HFMA represents controllers, accountants, and chief financial officers working in healthcare.
- This organization helps professionals improve patient access services, including scheduling and patient finance. NAHAM provides certifications, publications, and resources.