9 Health Science Jobs For Health Science Degree Holders

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Health science prepares degree holders for a wide range of health care professions. Learn more about some of the most common health science jobs.

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A degree in health science opens the door to a wide range of health care professions and environments – from operating rooms to clinics to health administration offices. But, what health science jobs best suit your unique interests and personality? 

In this article, you will learn more about what health science degrees are, what you can do with them, and find nine common health science jobs you can pursue. Health care is a fascinating career cluster, with many professions to appeal to all kinds of professional and personal interests. 

Health science degree: What they are and what you can do with them

A health science degree can prepare you for a career in health care. Learn more about what a health science degree is and what you can do with it below. 

What is a health science degree?

Health science is a form of applied science that studies health, health care, medicine, nutrition, and the nature of diseases. In contrast to other scientific fields, such as biology or chemistry, health science is specifically concerned with applying science to improve health outcomes for both humans and animals. 

Typically, Individuals who have studied health science as undergraduates receive a bachelor’s of science (BS) degree. However, some universities might offer a bachelor’s of art (BA) degree in health science, which usually has a stronger interdisciplinary emphasis than its more technical BS counterpart.

 What skills does a health science degree teach you?

Health science degrees teach a wide variety of skills. While some of these skills are targeted to specific health care occupations, many can be transferred between different fields. Some skills you can expect to learn through a health science degree include: 

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  • Problem-solving 

  • Critical thinking 

  • Researching 

  • Lab work 

  • Information management

  • Communication and teamwork

Read more:  What Is the Difference Between a BA and a BS Degree

What can you do with a health science degree?

A health science degree prepares you for a wide variety of health care careers, including those with a patient-care, research, or administrative focus. In effect, individuals who study health science are often as well-prepared to pursue clinical positions, such as registered nurse or surgeon, as non-clinical ones, like public health analyst or health care administrator.

Health science is also a common major for those hoping to enter medical school. In the US, most universities don’t offer a specific pre-med major to undergraduates. Instead, many students major in a related field, such as health science, biology, or chemistry, and take a pre-med track that prepares them for medical school with relevant courses. A health science major often strongly overlaps with approved pre-med track courses, making it a potentially helpful major for those hoping to enter medical school. 

Read more: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What’s the Difference?

Health science degree jobs 

A health science degree prepares you for a wide variety of health care careers. To help you explore career options, the list below has been broken down into nine common nonclinical and clinical health science careers. Explore these options to see what you can do. 

Non-clinical 

Non-clinical health care positions are all those health science jobs that don’t provide medical attention, diagnosis, or treatment. Instead, non-clinical health care workers use their knowledge and expertise to educate others, ensure that health care facilities run smoothly, and create health care-related materials. 

1. Health care administrator 

Health care administrators, or health services managers, manage health care facilities, clinics, departments, or medical practices. In addition to the direction of medical and health services, health care administrators must do everything from setting goals to hiring supervising staff and keeping facilities up to date with current guidelines. Employers typically expect applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, but will likely prefer those with a master’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for health care administrators is $101,340 [1]. 

2. Medical records and health technician 

Medical records technicians maintain patient records and organize their information to ensure compliance with health care system standards. Although many employers don’t require them to have anything more than a high school diploma, many employers prefer medical records technicians with a bachelor’s degree in a related field and a certification. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median annual salary for medical record technicians is $45,240 [2]. 

3. Medical writer

Medical writers compose a wide variety of scientifically-oriented pieces for health care publications, businesses, and organizations. Writing includes regulatory and research documents, journal articles, web content, news pieces, promotional materials, and educational literature. Employers typically prefer writers with a related educational background, such as Biology or health science.  According to Glassdoor, the median salary for medical writers is $97,757 as of June 2022 [3]. 

4. Health educator

Health educators, or health education specialists,  teach both individuals and communities about health and well-being with a view toward improving both. As a result, they must design educational programs that promote healthy behaviors, such as through dietary and exercise changes. Employers typically expect health educators to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as health science or health promotion. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health educators make a median salary of $48,860 [4]. 

Read more: What Is a Health Educator?

Clinical

Clinical health care jobs are all those health care jobs that require you to work directly with patients or within clinical laboratory settings. In other words, these are the jobs that most people imagine when they think about health care, such as physicians and nurses. Though many of these professions require more advanced education, training, and qualifications, a health science degree will likely introduce you to the core concepts for each. 

1. Physician

Physicians diagnose illnesses or injuries and devise treatment plans. As highly trained health care professionals, physicians are qualified to perform physical exams, perform diagnostic tests, take medical histories, and prescribe medication. To practice, physicians must be a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), which can only be obtained by attending medical school. According to the BLS, physicians make a median salary equal to or greater than $208,000 [5]. 

2. Registered nurse (RN)

Registered nurses (RN) support physicians and provide care for patients such health care environments as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and schools. As medical professionals, RNs are qualified to dress wounds, administer medication, and create plans of care, among other duties. Typically RNs have either a bachelor’s degree or associate degree, but regardless of their educational background all must be certified and licensed to practice legally. According to the BLS, RNs make an annual median salary of $77,600 as of 2021 [6]. 

Read more: How to Get Into Nursing School: Your Guide to a Degree

3. Veterinarian 

Veterinarians diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions related to animals. As medical professionals, veterinarians are also qualified to prescribe medication, operate medical equipment, perform surgeries, and treat wounds for animals. To legally practice, veterinarians must have received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DMV) and become licensed by the state in which they practice. According to the BLS, veterinarians make a median annual salary of $100,370 as of 2021 [7]. 

4. Medical technologist

Medical technologists, or clinical laboratory technologists, test and analyze body fluids, such as blood samples, and body tissue. Working in laboratory settings, medical technologists record data, operate special equipment to analyze samples, and discuss results with physicians. Typically, they must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as health science or biology, and some states require that they be certified or licensed. According to the BLS, medical technologists make a median annual salary of $57,800 [8]. 

5. Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists support dentists and help patients care for their oral and dental health. During their day-to-day work, dental hygienists must do everything from cleaning teeth to taking x-rays and conducting oral examinations. Typically, dental hygienists must have an associate degree, but some employers may prefer those with a related bachelor’s degree. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for dental hygienists is  $77,810 [9]. 

Get started with Coursera.

The tools, methods, and approaches used to deliver quality health care constantly change. Whether you are just starting your career or are an established professional, you might consider taking an online course to gain or hone your skills. The University of Minnesota’s Integrative Nursing Specialization, for example, teaches coursetakers how to practice and apply specific integrative therapies in their work, using research evidence and safety and quality considerations.

If you're ready to take the next step in your education, earn your Master's - Public Health from the University of Michigan or Global Master of Public Health offered through the Imperial College London on Coursera, and enjoy the flexibility of taking classes remotely and at your own pace.

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Article sources

1. BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical and Health Services Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-1.” Accessed June 1, 2022. 

2. BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical Records and Health Information Specialists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-1.” Accessed June 1, 2022. 

3. Glassdoor. “Medical Writer Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/medical-writer-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm.” Accessed June 1, 2022. 

4. BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-1.” Accessed June 1, 2022. 

5. BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physicians and Surgeons, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm#tab-1.” Accessed June 1, 2022. 

6. BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Registered Nurses, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm.” Accessed June 1, 2022. 

7. BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Veterinarians, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinarians.htm#tab-1. Accessed June 1, 2022.

8. BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm#tab-1.” Accessed June 1, 2022. 

9. BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Dental Hygienists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm#tab-1.” Accessed June 1, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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