Education for the All-Around Healthcare Professional
The field of health sciences encompasses information technology, medical science, health education, and clinical healthcare roles. Individuals who have interest in a wide range of clinical and non-clinical job opportunities—from dentist to epidemiologist, and everything between—can complete online health sciences degrees that offer more flexibility than campus-based programs. This guide outlines different online health science degree options and potential career paths in this
Best Online Christian Colleges: Ranking Top Universities for 2018-2019
Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors
Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
Each college must have at least one online program 1
Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000
Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with
affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.
1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.
2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.
A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
Before enrolling in a health sciences degree program, prospective students must first consider all of the options available to them. Whether their interests lie in nutrition, healthcare management, or another area within this field, it’s important for prospective students to find a school that offers their desired concentration and level of study. Taking into consideration factors like cost of enrollment, class size and program count, we have listed the top health sciences
degrees and programs that are offered both online and on-campus to help students find the right school. Check out the top options for the 2018-19 school year below.
Cox College's online Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Imaging is structured to prepare students for careers in medical imaging. Students choose 1 of the 6 specialties in the program: computed tomography (CT), diagnostic medical sonography (DMS), DMS echocardiography (ECH), interventional radiography (IR), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or health care leadership. The courses in the DMS specialty are not
available online, but all others are. The program can be taken via 1 of the 3 available tracks: entry-level, specialty or completion. The entry-level track is for those with minimal college-level education who acquire an associate degree in radiography and obtain radiology certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART) before progressing through the bachelor's program. The specialty track is designed for students already registered in
radiology or a similar imaging field and who already hold associate degrees. The completion track is for registered radiographers and other special imaging fields who simply want to complete their diagnostic imaging credentials. Aside from the application, admission requirements include successful completion of an academic degree or radiologic technologist license and transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 3.0 in an academic degree or imaging program.
Students interested in studying health sciences may pursue the Bachelor of Science in Health Service Management degree at Independence University. This fully online program is designed to prepare students for hospital or health care supervisory or management positions. The coursework combines health sciences training with business fundamentals, such as
information technology and marketing. The 180-credit program has an accelerated structure that enables students to complete the program in 38 months. Admission is rolling, with courses starting every month, and admissions are determined after interviews with the admissions director, who makes the final approval. Prospective students who are interested in applying should submit their online application and transcripts and meet with a financial planner to discuss
tuition options. Students at IU receive individual mentorship and advisement from faculty and advisers and an online admissions course to prepare students for the online course environment. Enrolled students receive equipment, materials, textbooks, new tablets and laptops at no extra cost.
At University of Central Florida (UCF), students may earn a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. Though not a fully online program, it is a hybrid of delivery formats as some courses in the program may be available via distance learning. The 120-credit program is offered in 2 tracks: health sciences and pre-clinical, with each of those tracks making up 28 hours of the
total requirements. The pre-clinical track is intended for students who plan to go into graduate-level clinical programs, such as physical therapy, medicine or pharmacy. To obtain the bachelor's in the health sciences track, students must maintain overall GPAs of at least 2.5, while pre-clinical students need to keep their GPAs at or above 3.0. To apply, students submit their online applications, official transcripts from all schools attended and scores from the SAT
or ACT. The program additionally requires 2 years of 1 foreign language in high school or 1 year of college foreign language study.
South Dakota State University offers students who are interested in health science the option to earn an online Bachelor of Science in Community and Public Health or an online health science minor. The 120-credit BS program
combines online and face-to-face courses. This program trains students in health education and promotion to prepare graduates to develop, implement and assess health programs and advocate for certain health issues. The health sciences minor is comprised of 18 credits, and depending on the course, instruction is conducted online, in classrooms, in labs and in the field. This minor, which addresses public health principles and strategies, encourages students to apply
health concepts gained from a range of life sciences to serving the health needs of the community. Admission is handled on a rolling basis throughout the year, and interested students should submit, along with their applications, their high school transcripts, any college transcripts if transferring and ACT scores. Students should have ACT composite scores of at least 18 or cumulative GPAs of at least 2.6.
At Weber State University, students can earn an online Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) degree. The school claims it was the first in the world to develop an online MLS degree. Graduates are eligible to take the MLS certification exam administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). This 4-year degree is divided into 2 parts: first, students complete
the 2-year Associate of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), which prepares students to complete the ASCP's MLT certification exam, and then students complete the 2-year MLS program, which provides students with a thorough foundation of knowledge in laboratory science. Students of this program will not only conduct lab work, but they will also interpret results, conduct research
and create new methods for testing. Lab work must be completed under the supervision of a mentor in order to gain credit for that portion of the program. Prospective students may apply online at any time since WSU has an open-enrollment admissions policy. Admission is determined by official transcripts, completion of certain prerequisite coursework and a signed statement of support by a lab manager. Online students can also access an online orientation class that
familiarizes them with the delivery format and pace of the program.
The Bachelor of Science Health Professions degree completion program available from Bryan College of Health Sciences offers individuals with an associate degree in health care the opportunity to earn their bachelor's degree by completing additional general education requirements with an emphasis on courses in health care management. This
120-credit hour program requires application of health care-related credits earned in the student's associate degree program to allow for a shorter time to complete the bachelor's degree. In addition to the general BS in Health Professions, Bryan College offers the degree with a Respiratory Therapy track option . Both the General
and Respiratory Therapy tracks are available 100% online and with no required clinical hours. In addition to the health care-related associate degree prerequisite, applicants must submit 2 professional references to be admitted into either degree track program. Applicants whose first language is not English must also provide a TOEFL test score (550 paper, 213 computer, or 79 internet). Individuals applying for the Respiratory Therapy track must additionally hold
either a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) or Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) certification, and submit official college transcripts indicating an overall GPA of 2.5 or better.
The Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences degree program offered by Midwestern State University (MSU-Texas) is a fully online degree completion program designed for registered imaging technologists seeking to expand and advance their career options in the radiologic sciences. The program is not for students interested in entering the field for the first time. The BSRS program
consists of 120 total credit hours of coursework, including 42 credit hours of general education courses and 78 credit hours courses, 42 of which are professional certification credits. Students are awarded the required 42 professional certification credit hours for holding a current valid professional (ARRT, NMTCB or ARDMS) radiologic certification. To be admitted into MSU-Texas's BSRS program, a student must meet all MSU-Texas admissions requirements and all BSRS program requirements. BSRS program admission requirements include either current enrollment as a second year student in an accredited radiologic sciences program or current registration as an imaging technologist. Applicants must additionally have an overall GPA of 2.0 or better on all post-secondary coursework. All MSU online undergraduate students
pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they are located.
Designed with working adults in mind, the University of Wisconsin's Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Management prepares individuals interested in changing or advancing their current careers. Students of this 63-credit hour degree completion program learn about a range of health-related issues, including health behavior
strategies, health and wellness information technologies, and how to create effective health and wellness programs. All degree coursework is available fully online and delivered in an asynchronous format, allowing students to study and complete their assignments according to their own schedules. Degree completion time varies depending on the chosen course load, but the entire program can normally be completed in 3 years or less. Distant learner support services
include online library resources and career counseling, as well as access to faculty and advisors via email and phone. To be eligible for admission, students must have completed 60 credit hours of transferable general education coursework earned with a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Students must also complete 4 prerequisite courses (composition, psychology, biology and public speaking) prior to beginning the degree curriculum.
Towson University's Bachelor of Science in Allied Health degree completion programs are designed for currently practicing health care professionals interested in increasing their knowledge and skills in the field, thus allowing them to expand and advance their career opportunities. This degree program is offered in 6 specialization tracks, each available with some level of online coursework. The Advanced Respiratory and Administration/Management tracks, however, can be completed 100% online. Admission into TU's BS in Allied Health program requires an associate degree in an allied health major earned with an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher. Graduating with this degree requires completion of at least 120 credit hours of study, including up to 64 lower-division
credits transferred in from the student's associate degree program. A minimum of 32 upper-division credits must be taken through Towson University, and the final 30 credits must also be taken through TU. Most students will complete the entire degree program in 2 years.
Baptist College's Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health Administration program prepares graduates for employment in healthcare management positions in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities, clinics, physicians practices and with health insurance companies. BC offers students 3 study options for this degree. Both the 4-year and accelerated 3-year
options are designed for students with little or no prior college experience. The 19-month degree completion option allows working adults and others to transfer in 60 or more previously earned college-level credits. All options are presented in a blended format that combines fully online and in-person class coursework. Freshman (with 0 to 29 transferrable college-level credits) admission requirements include submission of official high school transcripts indicating a cumulative GPA, and either ACT or SAT test scores. Minimum GPA is dependent on specific ACT/SAT minimum test scores,
and vice-versa, as set out in the admissions webpage. Applicants must additionally have completed 4 years of English, 2 years of laboratory science, and 2 years of college prep classes while in high school. Transfer students with 30 to 60 transferable college-level credits are required to have earned an overall 2.7 GPA on all college coursework, while transfer students with 60 or more transferable credits must have an overall GPA of 2.5 on all college
Ohio State University's online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree is geared for students seeking careers in dentistry, medicine, physical therapy and other areas of health care, as well as those already in the field who are interested in advancing in their current positions or expanding their career options. Graduates are also prepared to continue on with their education into professional
and graduate degree programs. Additionally, completion of coursework qualifies students to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. Admission into the program is determined on a holistic basis through an evaluation of a variety of elements, including high school performance, completion of OSU's minimum college prep requirements, standardized test scores, and others. Earning OSU's BS in
Health Sciences degree requires 120 credit hours of coursework that can normally be completed in 4 years or less, depending on the number of transfer credits applied to the program. Students entering with a previously-earned health care-related associate degree can complete the program in as little as 2 years. All coursework is available 100% online.
The University of Cincinnati's online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences: Behavior and Occupational Studies degree program provides individuals currently employed as occupational therapy assistants the opportunity to advance their professional careers. Graduates with this degree are prepared to pursue jobs as
both employees and sole-practitioners in a wide range of environments, including hospitals, clinics, schools and patients' homes. Completion of the degree program requires 120 credit hours of coursework in subjects such as anatomy, exercise physiology, medical terminology and cognitive psychology. Program completion time is 2 to 4 years, and varies depending on the number of college-level transfer credits (up to 68 credit hours) applied and the individual student's
chosen course load. All classes are available 100% online. Completion of the coursework required for this degree additionally qualifies students to simultaneously earn a minor in Psychology from UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. To be admitted into UC's BS in Health Sciences: Behavior and Occupational Studies degree program, a student must possess an associate degree in Occupational Therapy Assisting (OTA) with a minimum overall GPA of 2.67 awarded by an
Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) accredited program. Applicants must also hold a valid COTA license.
Winona State University's Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Care and Leadership degree completion program is offered in 2 options, both of which can be completed entirely online. The Health and Wellness Management option is designed for students interested in a career in health and wellness without necessarily having
any previous experience in the field. Graduates often enter careers in community health and wellness education. The Health Leadership option is for students with either a health-related associate degree or experience in the health care field. Graduates typically pursue jobs in health and medical management. Both options are offered in 2-year and 3-year degree completion formats. Admission
requirements for both options include a previously-earned associate degree and a minimum of 60 transferable credits. Applicants must first be admitted to WSU, and then are evaluated for admission into the degree program based on criteria that includes total credits earned toward the General Education Program, overall GPA, and length of previous work experience.
Northern Arizona University's online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences: Public Health degree program provides students with a broad overview of the processes and concepts of public health. Careers pursued by graduates with this degree include health educator, researcher, emergency response planner and prevention program coordinator. Graduates also go on to
pursue additional education and training leading to careers as physicians, nurses and college instructors. To earn this degree, students must complete 120 credit hours of coursework with a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Degree completion time varies depending on the individual's chosen course load and number of transfer credits accepted toward degree requirements, but students normally complete their studies in 4 years or less. Coursework for the degree is done fully online.
However, graduation requires completion of an in-person supervised fieldwork experience in an approved professional health setting. Admission requirements include either a 3.0 overall GPA on all previous college-level coursework, or overall 3.0 GPA on last 30 college credits taken, or 2.5 overall GPA on all previous college-level work and 3 years of public health profession work experience. NAU offers 7 other BA in Health Sciences degrees that can also be earned online in majors that include Allied Health, Medical Assisting, Respiratory Care and Surgical Technology.
The Bachelor of Science in Allied Health program, offered by Ferris State University, is a "+2" degree completion program designed to help students with an associate degree in healthcare pursue professional advancement in their chosen field. Individuals with both professional certification and a bachelor's degree in allied health
enjoy greater employment opportunities, as well as the ability to continue on to a graduate degree program, further expanding their career choices. To earn this degree, a student must complete 121-122 credit hours of study consisting of general education and major-subject coursework, 30 credits of which must be earned from FSU. Coursework is offered 100% online in an asynchronous format that allows students to login and complete their studies at anytime convenient to
their busy schedules. In most cases, completion of the entire degree program can be accomplished in 2 years or less, depending on the number of previously earned college-level credits transferred into the program and the individual student's chosen caseload. Admission into FSU's BS in Allied Health degree program requires an associate degree in a health-related major earned with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better. Students currently enrolled in a health-related
associate degree program may also be admitted.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center's online Bachelor of Health Science degree is available with 3 track options: Health Care Practitioners, Health Care Operations and Health Care Generalist. The Health Care Practitioners track consists of 10 courses and is designed for students who have previously earned an associate degree in
a health-related field. The Health Care Operations track consists of 20 courses and is designed for students without any clinical or health-related background. The Health Care Generalist track (10 courses) is for students who are part of Mississippi's Complete 2 Complete program that helps students with some previous college work complete their degrees. Admission requirements include 60 credit hours (90 for the Generalist track) of previous college coursework completed with an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher. All coursework is presented in an online, asynchronous format. However, students are required to appear on-campus twice during the course of their studies: once for
an orientation meeting at the beginning of the program, and again to present their capstone project at the end of the program. The time required to complete all degree work varies depending on the track option and whether the student chooses to study on a full-time or part-time basis. Most students opt for part-time study, which typically requires 2 years or more for degree completion.
Davenport University offers 2 health care-related bachelor's degrees that can be completed fully online. The Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to develop and manage health care data and reporting systems. Graduates with this degree are eligible to sit for the Registered Health
Information Administrator (RHIA) exam. The Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration qualifies graduates for entry-level management positions in a wide range of health care environments, such as integrated health care systems, physician private practices, long-term care facilities, and insurance carriers. Both online degrees can be completed in 4
years or less, depending primarily on the number of previously earned college-level credits transferred into the program. Additionally, the BS in Health Information Management program offers a 1-year RHIT-to-RHIA degree completion option. Freshman admission into either degree program requires a high school diploma or documentation of home-schooling (minimum 2.0 overall GPA), or GED (minimum score of 145). A standardized test (SAT, ACT, or Accuplacer) with acceptable
test score is also required. Transfer students within 5 years of high school graduation must meet all of the above freshman qualifications. All transfer students must submit official college transcripts indicating successful completion of college-level English and math. Detailed admissions information can be found in the DU Undergraduate Catalog.
Bellevue University's fully online Bachelor of Arts in Health Science degree program applies a multi-disciplinary approach, integrating theory with hands-on learning to the subjects of health, illness and disease prevention. Graduates earning this degree normally pursue career opportunities throughout the health care profession in positions in long-term care, public health
and clinical technology, and at nonprofit agencies and medical offices and clinics. The degree is offered with 2 emphases. The Science Emphasis focuses on the life sciences and is a good option for students interested in careers in the medical professions. The Eldercare Emphasis is for students interested in entering the growing eldercare services market, preparing them for the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards. Admission requirements for
BU's BA in Health Science program include a high school diploma or equivalent (GED or home school letter of completion). Applicants transferring from another postsecondary institution must additionally provide official transcripts from each college or university attended. Earning the degree requires completion of 127 credit hours of study, including general education, major subject, and elective coursework. Degree completion time is normally 4 years, but may be more
or less depending on the number of credits transferred into the program and the student's chosen course load.
Wichita State University's Bachelor of Science in Health Science degree program is designed for students interested in continuing on to clinical studies in fields such as medicine, nursing, physical therapy and pharmacy once they have earned their degrees. The program is offered in a blended format, meaning that some courses are completed online
while others are taken on the WSU campus. Earning the degree requires a total of 120 credit hours of coursework, a minimum of 60 or which must be earned at a properly accredited 4-year institution, and 45 of which must be earned from upper-division courses. Either 24 of the last 30, or 50 of the last 60 credits must be completed through WSU. Students must additionally maintain an overall WSU and program minimum 2.0 GPA, and earn at least a C- grade in all major
courses. All coursework is normally completed in 4 years (8 semesters), although individual completion times depend on the total number of credits transferred into the program, as well as the student's chosen course load (full-time or part-time). Freshman admission into WSU's BS in Health Science program requires a high school diploma, GED, or home school equivalent, and completion of the Kansas Qualified Admissions Pre-College Curriculum with a minimum 2.0 GPA (2.5
GPA for out-of-state students). Freshman applicants must also submit ACT (composite score of 21 or better) or SAT-I (minimum combined 1080 score) test scores, or alternatively, have finished in the top 1/3 of their high school graduating class. Transfer students with 24 or more college credit hours must have a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA on all previous college coursework. Full admission details can be found on WSU's Undergraduate Admission Requirements webpage.
Students in California University of Pennsylvania's fully online Bachelor of Science in Science and Technology Multidisciplinary Studies program have the opportunity to customize their own paths of study according to their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) career interests. This 120-credit, degree-completion program enables
students to transfer up to 90 credits from previous colleges attended or earn up to 30 credits for prior nontraditional learning experiences (such as work). The program includes a professional technical core of STEM courses with a capstone experience that brings all learning together. To apply, transfer students must submit their applications, high school and college transcripts and optional ACT or SAT exam scores. Pending admission, which is done on a rolling basis
year round, students then have their prior credits examined to determine how many credits will transfer. Online students don't pay fees for on-campus services and they may receive reduced non-resident tuition rates. Students proceed through the program in cohorts, or with the same group of students, and they gain access to resources such as math, writing and study skills assistance.
The online Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Behavior degree at University of Florida prepares students to work in such positions as health education specialist, environmental health technician, public health information officer or drug rehabilitation specialist. This 120-credit program can be completed in 4 years, and students must maintain GPAs of
2.0 (2.5 in certain subject-area, or critical-tracking courses) throughout the program and complete a 15-credit internship in order to earn the degree. Interested students should submit, along with their applications, high school transcripts showing GPAs of at least 2.0, qualifying ACT or SAT scores and records of good conduct at prior schools attended. Admission takes place on a rolling basis throughout the year. Online students do benefit from significantly lower
tuition than both in-state and out-of-state residents attending on-campus classes. UF offers numerous resources for online students, including opportunities to join club activities and networking events, a wealth of online library tools and free Microsoft Office software.
Founded in 1908, Youngstown State University is a research institution with approximately 11,400 students. Degree seekers can take advantage of YSU's online Bachelor of Science in Allied Health. All courses can be completed online with no on-campus obligation. Major core courses include Preventive Public Health Care, Epidemiology,
Quantitative Methods in Health Sciences and Management Skills for Health Professionals. Graduates of this program move on to pursue careers in medical and pharmaceutical sales, education, management and public relations. Applicants must submit their ACT or SAT scores and have a high school GPA of 2.0 or higher. Competitive applicants have a 17 or 920 on the ACT or SAT, respectively. Students need to complete 120 credit hours for graduation. YSU's program can also
function as a degree completion program for entering students with an associate degree in a health-related field. Those students can be admitted at junior-level status and complete the bachelor's degree in as few as 5 semesters.
Located in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, online students at Utah State University can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Promotion. Students in this program can choose an emphasis in Community Health or Health Science. Graduates of this program are prepared to help their communities and individuals understand healthy lifestyles and improve
their overall level of wellness. With a curriculum grounded in both the biological and social sciences, online students complete a diverse curriculum with courses such as Human Anatomy, Foundations of Community Health, Human Physiology and Health Services Administration. In most cases, full-time students can complete this degree in as few as 4 years. Incoming students should have a 2.5 high school GPA or higher and a 17 or 900 on the ACT or SAT, respectively.
Competitive applicants have 4 years of high school courses in English and math as well as a history of coursework in the social sciences, lab-based sciences and a foreign language. Degree seekers can take advantage of USU's global engagement programs, academic advising services, IT service desk and counseling and psychological services.
Missouri Southern State University is a public institution established in 1937. Online students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Business/Life-Health Science Option. In total, degree seekers need to complete 124 credit hours, which includes 30-33 flexible
elective credits. Students in this program acquire a minor in General Business to diversify their new skillset with courses such as Principles of Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Microeconomics, Principles of Marketing and Using Information Systems. Incoming students must submit their ACT or SAT scores, high school transcripts and complete a FAFSA. Students over the age of 21 don't have to submit standardized test scores. Transfer credits from other
accredited universities may be applied toward this bachelor's degree. Transfer students' transcripts are considered on a case-by-case basis by the registrar. Online students at MSSU receive academic advising, financial aid guidance, career support coaching and technology support.
National University is a private non-profit school with approximately 24,000 students. Founded in 1971, NU offers an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Allied Health for online students with an optional concentration in Health Informatics. This degree prepares students for a variety of professions in the health care industry,
primarily those that support and assist physicians and other primary health care specialists. Graduates of this program typically work in health centers and rehabilitation facilities and assist professionals who treat diseases, disorders and illnesses. Through a curriculum of 4-week courses such as Health Care Research, Case and Outcomes Management, Informatics for Health Professionals and Introduction to Biomedical Statistics, NU students acquire a foundational
understanding of health care trends, evidence-based practice methods and health care informatics that make them valuable professionals in the industry. For graduation, students must complete at least 180 quarter units, 45 of which must be taken through NU. Prospective students should have a high school GPA of 2.0 or higher and submit their ACCUPLACER test results in mathematics and English. Online students at NU who are active duty military receive a significant
Students that currently have a full-time job or are responsible for taking care of a family may not have the opportunity to attend campus on a full-time basis. Enrolling in an online health sciences degree program can provide some flexibility in a student’s schedule and make it easier for the student to complete their degree program in a timely manner.
The online health sciences degree program may be comprised of a series of lectures, webinars, online presentations, and a virtual classroom setup that students are required to log in to several times throughout the week. If the specific degree program requires clinical experience or has a practicum component, students may need to schedule time on weekends or after working hours to fulfill their hands-on training requirements. Still, the majority of the courses can be taken
Students need to be comfortable using web-based software programs and technology to access a virtual classroom, interact with students and instructors through online discussion forums, and communicate with their instructor via email regularly. Some teachers may assign group projects so students need to be comfortable collaborating with others in an online space.
Earning Your Health Sciences Degree: Milestone Map
Health sciences degrees prepare students for non-clinical roles in healthcare, such as a health educator or community health worker. Preparation for this career path can start as early as high school when a student excels in math and science courses, and chooses to volunteer at an area healthcare facility or community center during the summer. The following is a sample educational track for a health sciences student:
Excelled in natural science and mathematics; volunteered at a local clinic on weekends.
Completed 4-year Bachelor of Science in biochemistry at an accredited school.
Completed school-approved internship for credits and work experience; obtained references from employer.
Online Master’s Degree
Completed online program in health sciences with a specialization in medical research.
Secured position as a medical scientist with a pharmaceutical company.
Researched the effects of ADHD medication on youth and had results published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Online Program Options in Health Science
Individuals motivated to pursue a long-term career in the field of health sciences need to complete at least a bachelor’s degree to secure a job in the field. Degree programs can take anywhere from two to seven or more years to complete, depending on the level of study, certification training, and whether the student enrolls on a part-time or full-time basis. Since almost all courses can be completed entirely online, some students may manage maintaining a full-time course load
while working or taking care of a family. Some programs prepare students for certification and provide job placement assistance, making the online experience that much more rewarding.
Completing a 2-year associate degree in health sciences prepares students for entry-level positions in the healthcare field shortly after high school. An associate degree can also prepare students for a bachelor’s degree later in their educational career, if they choose to continue this path. The online associate degree program covers introductory courses in medical terminology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, nutrition, and a series of foundational courses found in other
types of healthcare degree programs.
Most employers prefer candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 4-year degree program provides comprehensive study of several key disciplines, including social sciences, natural science, human anatomy, and mathematics. In many cases, the health sciences department of a college or university
is affiliated with a hospital or community clinic, making it easier for students to seek out internship opportunities or obtain hands-on experience while completing their degree. Online students may be required to complete a clinical component to fulfill graduation requirements. Hands-on training requirements vary by school and can be a valuable addition to the educational experience. Some 4-year degree programs also offer specialized courses in preparation of the Certified
Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam, which opens students to a wealth of professional opportunities.
Health educators and healthcare professionals interested in taking on a leadership or managerial role within their organization may consider completing a master’s degree in health sciences online. These programs typically take at least two years to complete and are comprised of online courses, a comprehensive thesis or essay, and a final oral presentation. Students may have the option to specialize in a certain area, such as health professions education, public health
administration, or healthcare informatics. Completing a master’s program can open up new career opportunities in a competitive job market and also increase salary potential.
Health Sciences Programs: Learning Outcomes
Online courses in health sciences at the associate’s degree and undergraduate level typically include core courses in natural science, mathematics, and social science. Some degree programs offer academic pathways to prepare students for a graduate program, entry-level position, or specific non-clinical professions. They may focus on health care studies, clinical informatics, public health, heath care advancement studies, or research studies, for example. Master’s degree programs
may include a hands-on training component, health education curriculum development courses, and evaluation courses. Examples of courses offered in most online health sciences degree programs include:
An introductory course for healthcare administrators and those involved with the decision-making process on policies and procedures within an organization. Covers topics such as profitability, regulation, cost management, and pricing.
Legal and Ethical Considerations of Healthcare
Study of health care policy, legal issues, and ethical decision making in the healthcare environment. Also covers topics related to health care policy, legal and political factors that affect the health care system, and socioeconomic forces.
Healthcare Financial Management
Covers accounting and finance topics applicable to healthcare organizations. May include general and managerial accounting principles, financial accounting, financial management, and financing and investments. Provides students with a solid understanding of the healthcare financial environment.
Healthcare Delivery Systems
Study of the organization of health care systems in the United States and how health policies regulations, health insurance requirements, affect society today.
Introductory course covering all topics of nutrition and healthy eating habits for individuals at all life stages. Helps prospective educators learn key principles of nutrition for infants, pregnant women, and the aging population.
Finding Your Focus within Health Sciences
Since there are several options for specialization within the health sciences degree and opportunities to choose either clinical or non-clinical career paths, students need to take the time to consider what type of career they are most interested in as early.
For example, those who wish to focus entirely on non-clinical studies or research studies may fare well with an online bachelor’s degree that prepares them for a master’s degree specializing in research. Those who hope to pursue a career as a health educator may want to complete a bachelor’s degree program that prepares them for the CHES credential and offers graduate job placement opportunities. Here are some key things to consider when choosing an online health sciences
Decide which online degree program suits your lifestyle and educational goals.
Determine whether the degree offers specialization to prepare for certification, an advanced degree, research studies, or other academic pathways.
Confirm whether the degree includes an internship requirement or other in-person components.
Make sure you meet minimum GPA and other academic requirements.
Confirm that the online program is accredited by the CAHME and the CEPH (learn more about accreditation in the following section).
Inquire about support services specifically for online students, such as on-campus event invitations, technology support services, and career placement options.
Review federal and private financial aid options.
Learn about tuition costs for the entire program, including any travel or lab equipment purchases.
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
The mission of the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is to advance the quality of healthcare management education for all educational institutions. It develops and maintains certain criteria for educational standards, provides assistance and advising for continuous improvement, and serves as the accrediting party for graduate programs in health sciences and other healthcare degrees.
Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredits colleges and universities with programs centered on public health practice at the local, state, national, and international level. CEPH accreditation proves to an employer that the school has met certain educational standards and fulfilled all CEPH criteria for excellence in education.
From High School to Master’s: Health Sciences Track
Preparing for a career in health sciences can take anywhere from two to five or more years after graduating from high school. Here is a closer look at the enrollment timeline for students interested in graduating with an online degree in health sciences:
Time to Complete
Obtain High School Diploma or GED
Complete an Bachelor’s Degree Program
Earn CEHS credential
Obtain Real-World Experience
Complete Online Master’s Degree Program
2 to 3 years
Serving as a health researcher or community health worker can be a rewarding career path and knowing what area the individual wishes to specialize in early on in their educational career can put the professional on the fast track to success. Aspiring health sciences graduates can get a head start on their career by attending networking and career events while still in school, volunteering at an area clinic or other healthcare organization, and doing the following:
Seeking out internship opportunities at an area healthcare facility or healthcare organization during high school and college.
Requesting letters of recommendation from volunteer coordinators, college professors, and employers at every opportunity.
Completing an online self-study program to prepare for the CHES.
Completing professional development courses in their area of specialization to advance in their career.
The employment forecast for health sciences degree majors looks bright: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employment of health educators and community health workers is projected to grow 13 percent through 2024. Most employers prefer to hire candidates with a least a bachelor’s degree and certification may be required. Those who wish to advance in their career by
taking on a managerial role or pursuing clinical studies can explore master’s degree options with various specializations.
Individuals who do not want to work in an office or healthcare setting may consider science, technology, or administrative roles after completing a bachelor’s degree in health science. These candidates may find work in a medical laboratory, science lab, or explore careers in healthcare informatics. Others may pursue a career in healthcare administration where they are responsible for overseeing operations of a clinic or play a role in organizational decision-making processes.
Careers following the clinical route show steady job growth as well, with job openings up to 8 percent through 2024 for medical scientists and epidemiologists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
National Median Annual Salary (2014)
Minimum Education & Licensure
Health Information Technician
Organize and maintain health information data; use classification systems and work within databases and registries.
Associate’s Degree; Certification
Medical Laboratory Technologist
Collect samples and perform various tests under the direction of a physician or surgeon.
Educate patients and populations about health-related topics and develop and evaluate programs in a healthcare setting.
Bachelor's Degree or Master’s Degree; Certification
Specialize in an area of research; may be involved with clinical trials and scientific investigation projects.
Investigate sources of disease and injury in human subjects; may be involved with research projects and community education
Since the field of health sciences is fairly broad, individuals who choose to specialize in a certain area may seek out certification or licenses in that specific field. Some states offer state licensing programs for those who are seeking community health positions. Many employers prefer those seeking health educator positions to at least hold the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential and certain degree
programs offer preparatory courses for this specific certificate.
Similar Online Public Health Programs
If a degree in health sciences sounds appealing but doesn’t feel like your ideal option, consider some other related educational paths in the field of public health. A health sciences degree isn’t the only pathway to enter the various non-clinical sides of the healthcare profession. Alternative degree programs include:
Study of the theory and practice of healthcare in society today and challenges many individuals and communities face when trying to obtain healthcare and maintain optimal health at every stage of life. Graduate programs center on counseling, teaching, and providing consulting services to various populations.
Intensive study of the composition of food and how certain foods are metabolized by the body. Graduates may serve as a nutritionist or health and wellness advisor in their community, creating programs that ensure clients and patients are meeting their nutritional needs.
Prepare students for a career as a medial or health services manager, or healthcare administrative positions. These programs focus more on the business side of healthcare with financial management courses, leadership training, and the study of healthcare policies and procedures.