Best Online Health Sciences Degree Programs

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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 fast-growing field.

Best Online Health Sciences Programs 2018-2019

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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.

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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Cox College Springfield, Missouri$9,60014%59%100%3Yes No Yes School website
2 Independence University Salt Lake City, Utah$18,02179%-100%10Yes Yes Yes School website
3 University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida$4,47843%50%73%8Yes Yes Yes School website
4 South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota$7,15557%91%60%5Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Weber State University Ogden, Utah$4,61158%-50%15Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Bryan College of Health Sciences Lincoln, Nebraska$13,85649%87%80%4Yes No Yes School website
7 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, Texas$5,21664%74%50%5Yes Yes Yes School website
8 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Stevens Point, Wisconsin$6,69815%81%62%8Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Towson University Towson, Maryland$6,56047%74%70%4Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Baptist College of Health Sciences Memphis, Tennessee$9,86483%54%51%2Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus, Ohio$9,16880%54%85%5No Yes Yes School website
12 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, Ohio$9,32258%76%72%13Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Winona State University Winona, Minnesota$7,10347%60%59%3Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, Arizona$8,69882%78%54%7No Yes Yes School website
15 Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan$11,14469%78%51%13Yes Yes Yes School website
16 University of Mississippi University, Mississippi$7,64465%78%64%14No Yes Yes School website
17 Davenport University Grand Rapids, Michigan$15,93693%78%41%15Yes Yes Yes School website
18 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska$6,84062%-32%5Yes No Yes School website
19 Wichita State University Wichita, Kansas$6,38574%86%50%5Yes Yes Yes School website
20 California University of Pennsylvania California, Pennsylvania$7,23814%96%58%2Yes Yes Yes School website
21 University of Florida Gainesville, Florida$4,47729%46%88%3No Yes Yes School website
22 Youngstown State University Youngstown, Ohio$7,84762%67%38%9Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Utah State University Logan, Utah$5,81458%90%58%3No Yes Yes School website
24 Missouri Southern State University Joplin, Missouri$5,31169%94%39%4Yes Yes Yes School website
25 National University La Jolla, California$13,0164%-50%16Yes Yes Yes School website
26 University of Maine at Fort Kent Fort Kent, Maine$6,60068%81%48%2Yes Yes Yes School website
27 University of Colorado Colorado Springs Colorado Springs, Colorado$6,62446%93%50%6Yes Yes Yes School website
28 University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri$8,28664%75%71%7No Yes Yes School website
29 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse, Wisconsin$7,58524%74%69%3No Yes Yes School website
30 Bowling Green State University-Main Campus Bowling Green, Ohio$9,09669%76%56%2Yes Yes Yes School website
31 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Green Bay, Wisconsin$6,29828%73%53%5Yes No Yes School website
32 Dakota State University Madison, South Dakota$6,98461%83%43%3Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Cleveland State University Cleveland, Ohio$9,63645%87%42%2Yes Yes Yes School website
34 University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, Massachusetts$14,59065%60%77%2Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky$9,00061%91%40%8Yes Yes Yes School website
36 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, Louisiana$5,18049%62%40%11Yes Yes Yes School website
37 University of Wisconsin-Superior Superior, Wisconsin$6,53527%76%46%3Yes Yes Yes School website
38 Alaska Pacific University Anchorage, Alaska$19,90097%55%58%2Yes No Yes School website
39 Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia$6,33065%85%55%12Yes Yes Yes School website
40 Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick, New Jersey$11,40846%57%86%11No Yes Yes School website
41 The University of West Florida Pensacola, Florida$3,73564%41%55%6No Yes Yes School website
42 Washburn University Topeka, Kansas$7,64464%-38%8Yes Yes Yes School website
43 West Texas A & M University Canyon, Texas$4,98943%60%44%6No Yes Yes School website
44 University of Vermont Burlington, Vermont$15,09692%69%76%3No Yes Yes School website
45 Fort Hays State University Hays, Kansas$3,78973%91%44%5No Yes Yes School website
46 Albany State University Albany, Georgia$3,88814%50%44%2Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Eastern Oregon University La Grande, Oregon$6,07383%97%37%3Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Texas Woman's University Denton, Texas$4,95048%86%47%9No Yes Yes School website
49 Granite State College Concord, New Hampshire$7,2006%-21%15Yes Yes Yes School website
50 University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, Wisconsin$9,27335%53%85%2No Yes Yes School website
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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Barton Community College Great Bend, Kansas$2,30469%29%39Yes Yes Yes School website
2 Western Nebraska Community College Scottsbluff, Nebraska$2,28073%25%6Yes No Yes School website
3 Seward County Community College Liberal, Kansas$1,88842%38%15Yes Yes Yes School website
4 State Fair Community College Sedalia, Missouri$3,60020%22%29Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Pratt Community College Pratt, Kansas$1,88872%29%10Yes Yes Yes School website
6 North Central Missouri College Trenton, Missouri$3,27030%37%29Yes No Yes School website
7 Arkansas Northeastern College Blytheville, Arkansas$2,15642%28%3Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Pitt Community College Winterville, North Carolina$1,82416%10%21Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, Minnesota$4,8247%34%41Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Albany Technical College Albany, Georgia$2,1406%39%3Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Collin County Community College District McKinney, Texas$2,4603%13%6Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Sinclair Community College Dayton, Ohio$3,16944%16%15Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Dakota College at Bottineau Bottineau, North Dakota$3,46941%28%12Yes No Yes School website
14 Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen, Arkansas$2,44521%37%3Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, Washington$3,32830%32%6Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, Minnesota$4,900-37%18Yes No Yes School website
17 South Piedmont Community College Polkton, North Carolina$1,728-16%5Yes Yes Yes School website
18 Camden County College Blackwood, New Jersey$3,3302%15%9Yes Yes Yes School website
19 Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown, South Dakota$2,61622%67%11Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville, Georgia$2,136-21%3Yes Yes Yes School website
21 Central Maine Community College Auburn, Maine$2,76028%27%3Yes Yes Yes School website
22 Northeast Texas Community College Mount Pleasant, Texas$3,00016%16%6Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Wallace State Community College Hanceville, Alabama$3,51023%35%17Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, Minnesota$4,8745%22%21Yes No Yes School website
25 Cosumnes River College Sacramento, California$6,6002%25%6Yes Yes Yes School website
26 Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield, Maine$2,76034%35%7Yes No Yes School website
27 Great Falls College Montana State University Great Falls, Montana$2,4965%15%24Yes Yes Yes School website
28 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, Wisconsin$4,00221%51%14Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Century College White Bear Lake, Minnesota$4,770-13%7Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, Iowa$4,71037%56%6Yes No Yes School website
31 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, Wisconsin$3,911-35%13Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Marion Technical College Marion, Ohio$4,08024%10%2Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Davidson County Community College Thomasville, North Carolina$2,08114%30%3Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Ridgewater College Willmar, Minnesota$4,791-41%2Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Minneapolis Community and Technical College Minneapolis, Minnesota$4,611-14%3Yes Yes Yes School website
36 Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay, Wisconsin$3,91116%42%6Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Hibbing Community College Hibbing, Minnesota$4,68111%30%3Yes Yes Yes School website
38 Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland, Wisconsin$3,9106%58%3Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Spokane Community College Spokane, Washington$2,68812%24%3Yes Yes Yes School website
40 Everett Community College Everett, Washington$3,39315%28%6Yes Yes Yes School website
41 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, Wisconsin$3,96512%46%3Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Herkimer College Herkimer, New York$4,2707%36%6Yes Yes Yes School website
43 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, Wisconsin$4,17117%59%3Yes Yes Yes School website
44 Kirtland Community College Roscommon, Michigan$4,74044%21%6Yes Yes Yes School website
45 Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny, Iowa$4,41015%22%8Yes Yes Yes School website
46 Passaic County Community College Paterson, New Jersey$4,29013%13%9Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Monroe Community College Rochester, New York$4,1009%23%3Yes Yes Yes School website
48 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, North Dakota$4,02524%43%12Yes Yes Yes School website
49 Niagara County Community College Sanborn, New York$4,0802%28%2Yes Yes Yes School website
50 Madisonville Community College Madisonville, Kentucky$3,74424%44%9Yes Yes Yes School website

Earning Your Health Sciences Degree Online

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 completely online.

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:

High school

Excelled in natural science and mathematics; volunteered at a local clinic on weekends.

Bachelor’s Degree

Completed 4-year Bachelor of Science in biochemistry at an accredited school.

Internship

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.

Professional Experience

Secured position as a medical scientist with a pharmaceutical company.

First Publication

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.

  • Associate
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s

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:

Healthcare Economics

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.

Nutrition

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 program:

  • 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.

Accreditation: The Seal of Approval

Students seeking a health sciences degree must confirm the school or college is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) and the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Both of these accrediting parties set high standards for health sciences degree programs. Graduating from an accredited online program tells a prospective employer that the candidate has completed training from a school that maintains a high standard of education.

  • 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
Step 1

Obtain High School Diploma or GED

4 years
Step 2

Complete an Bachelor’s Degree Program

4 years
Step 3

Earn CEHS credential

1 year
Step 4

Obtain Real-World Experience

1+ years

Step 5

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.
  • Joining professional organizations such as the National Healthcare Association (NHA) or the American Public Health Association (APHA).

What Can I Do with a Health Sciences Degree?

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.

Career Description 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. $35,900 Associate’s Degree; Certification
Medical Laboratory Technologist Collect samples and perform various tests under the direction of a physician or surgeon. $49,130 Bachelor’s Degree
Health Educator Educate patients and populations about health-related topics and develop and evaluate programs in a healthcare setting. $42,450 Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree; Certification
Medical Scientist Specialize in an area of research; may be involved with clinical trials and scientific investigation projects. $79,930 Doctorate Degree
Epidemiologist Investigate sources of disease and injury in human subjects; may be involved with research projects and community education $67,420 Master’s Degree

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014)

Health Scientist Licenses & Certifications

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:

Online Health Education Degrees:

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.

Online Nutrition Degrees:

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.

Online Health Services Degrees:

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.

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