Best Online Health Sciences Degree Programs

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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 fast-growing field.

Best Online Health Sciences Programs


    Best Online Health Sciences Degree Programs

    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 factorsData Sources:

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Each college must be accredited
    • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
    • 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

    Ranking Factors:

    • Affordability
    • Quality
    • Flexibility
    • Program

    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.Notes:

    • 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.

Top 10 Best Online Bachelors in Health Sciences Degree Programs

Rank School Location
1 Cox College Springfield, MO
2 Independence University Salt Lake City, UT
3 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
4 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD
5 Weber State University Ogden, UT
6 Bryan College of Health Sciences Lincoln, NE
7 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX
8 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Stevens Point, WI
9 Towson University Towson, MD
10 Baptist College of Health Sciences Memphis, TN
Advertisement is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

  1. Cox College

    Springfield, MO



    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.

  2. Independence University

    Salt Lake City, UT



    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.

  3. University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL



    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.

  4. South Dakota State University

    Brookings, SD



    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.

  5. Weber State University

    Ogden, UT



    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.

  6. Bryan College of Health Sciences

    Lincoln, NE



    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.

  7. Midwestern State University

    Wichita Falls, TX



    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.

  8. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

    Stevens Point, WI



    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.

  9. Towson University

    Towson, MD



    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.

  10. Baptist College of Health Sciences

    Memphis, TN



    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 coursework.

Top 10 Best Online Associates in Health Sciences Degree Programs

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:

  1. High school
    Excelled in natural science and mathematics; volunteered at a local clinic on weekends.
  2. Bachelor’s Degree
    Completed 4-year Bachelor of Science in biochemistry at an accredited school.
  3. Internship
    Completed school-approved internship for credits and work experience; obtained references from employer.
  4. Online Master’s Degree
    Completed online program in health sciences with a specialization in medical research.
  5. Professional Experience
    Secured position as a medical scientist with a pharmaceutical company.
  6. 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

    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.

  • Bachelor’s

    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.

  • 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.


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 GED4 years
Step 2 Complete an Bachelor’s Degree Program4 years
Step 3 Earn CEHS credential1 year
Step 4 Obtain Real-World Experience1+ years
Step 5 Complete Online Master’s Degree Program2 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.

Health Information TechnicianOrganize and maintain health information data; use classification systems and work within databases and registries.$35,900Associate’s Degree; Certification
Medical Laboratory TechnologistCollect samples and perform various tests under the direction of a physician or surgeon.$49,130Bachelor’s Degree
Health EducatorEducate patients and populations about health-related topics and develop and evaluate programs in a healthcare setting.$42,450Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree; Certification
Medical ScientistSpecialize in an area of research; may be involved with clinical trials and scientific investigation projects.$79,930Doctorate Degree
EpidemiologistInvestigate sources of disease and injury in human subjects; may be involved with research projects and community education$67,420Master’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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