Is a Health Science Degree Worth It?
A health science degree offers a great return on investment. Learn how you can make a difference with a health science degree and enjoy a lucrative career.
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Are you looking for a degree that can lead to a flexible and financially rewarding career? Then for STEM-lovers looking to make a difference in the world, a health science degree may be the right fit.
Graduates with health science degrees can secure well-paying jobs in:
Professionals work as claims reviewers, medical records administrators, medical laboratory technicians, healthcare interpreters, and clinical social workers.
The interdisciplinary lessons covered in a health science major give graduates multiple career paths in a thriving industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects STEM occupations to increase by 8% from 2019-2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Those working in STEM jobs also earn a median annual wage higher than the median for all other occupations.
Keep reading to learn how you can make a difference with a versatile health science degree and secure a high-paying job.
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What to Know About Getting a Health Science Degree
What is health science? A health science degree requires students to complete their core education credits in:
- Human anatomy and physiology
Students studying health science often focus on different fields through concentrations or electives. Concentrations include, but are not limited to:
- Biomedical science
- Healthcare administration and leadership
- Social and behavioral sciences
This versatile degree offers many career advantages, lucrative salary potential, and varied job opportunities.
A Health Science Degree is Versatile
Graduates who hold a health science degree can access many job opportunities in healthcare, unlike more specific degrees. For example, the interdisciplinary curriculum of a health science degree prepares students to work in:
- Law and health policy
- Business or nonprofit
"A degree in health sciences allows individuals numerous lucrative career routes while also making a positive impact on society," said Summer McGee, president of Salem Academy and College and Ph.D. in bioethics and health policy.
STEM jobs make a median annual salary of $89,780. Careers in healthcare are experiencing a 15% growth rate, outpacing all other occupations, according to the BLS. Employers in healthcare expect to add 2.4 million job opportunities from 2019-2029.
You Can Make a Difference With a Health Science Degree
Earning a health science degree gives graduates a chance to make a difference in the world at a pivotal moment in history. The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our society's priorities and heightened the importance of healthcare.
"Because 65% of Gen Z wants to personally create something to change the world — health is an industry ripe for radical change, and this makes a health sciences major a great choice for them," says McGee of the generation born between 1997-2012.
According to the Pew Research Center, more Gen Zers attend college and have college-educated parents than millennials. Some 57% of people 18-21 years old attend college, while 52% of millennials in 2003 and 43% of Gen X in 1987 attended higher education institutions.
A Bachelor's in Health Science Prepares You for Ample Job Opportunities
Every college degree comes at a financial cost, but pursuing a bachelor's in health science degree offers a great return on your investment in a field rich with opportunity. Gainful careers await health science majors at all education levels.
"While many individuals who obtain an undergraduate degree in health sciences go on to pursue a master's, it is not required for many health-science career paths, unlike other majors," says McGee.
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in health science find jobs as:
- Health educators
- Patient care advocates
- Registered dietitians
- Registered radiologic technologists
- Research assistants
Depending on the job, graduates may need additional certification.
Is a Degree in Health Science Worth It?
A health science degree features an interdisciplinary education that does not pigeonhole students in one job. This well-rounded education allows graduates many choices in their career paths.
"Many college students don't know exactly what they want to do in the future and want to ensure their degree provides career path flexibility," says McGee.
Jobs open to bachelor's degree-holders, such as health educators and community health workers, earn a median annual wage of $42,000, while radiologic and MRI technologists make around $63,710 a year.
Beyond financial stability, health science degrees prepare graduates for fulfilling careers.
"We are seeing a pattern within students — they want to have a career that provides financial security while also allowing them to make a difference. A health science degree offers both," says McGee.
Is a Degree in Health Science Right for Me?
Health science degree graduates share common goals and traits. McGee points out that graduates with a health science degree need to be problem-solvers, big thinkers, and visionaries.
As students build their competencies in core concepts, such as writing, critical thinking, oral and written communication, the interdisciplinary classwork in a health science major provides the foundation needed for many occupations in healthcare.
Many health science majors also offer specialized training in concentrations like anesthesia technology, radiologic technology, and radiation therapy. Students can further hone their skills through credentials in healthcare informatics and business, and technical communications.
The Bottom Line
Today's problems require professionals with a well-rounded education and a passion for making a difference. As of June 2021, the BLS reported 1,683 job openings in education and health services.
With a firm foundation in math, science, communication, and the social sciences, health science majors have an edge when entering the job market. Graduates can increase their marketability by studying a specific area of healthcare.
Whatever field you study, consider McFee's advice: "Find your passion and pursue it tirelessly." She adds, "Find a challenge in health science that you are passionate about solving — then, look into the skills needed to tackle that challenge and develop those during your educational journey."
Meet Our Contributor
Dr. Summer McGee is the current president of Salem Academy and a former founding dean of the School of Health and Sciences at University of New Haven. McGee holds a Ph.D. in bioethics and health policy from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in philosophy and a BA in bioethics from Indiana University Bloomington. She also is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education Management Development Program.
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