If you have a deep passion for helping people live healthier lives, then you have chosen the right field of study. Doctors and nurses might be the ones labeled “heroes” in the health care industry, but there’s actually a diverse field of trained professionals working behind the scenes to operate clinics, hospitals, and other health organizations. An online bachelor’s degree in health sciences can offer students who are intrigued by these behind-the-scenes occupations an opportunity to move into this growing area. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts dramatic growth in the health care field in the coming years, so there will likely be no issue finding work for those trained in health sciences. Also, given the United States’ aging population, there will be more people in need of care and medicine.
Health science covers a broad field of many disciplines and focuses on the ways in which nutrition, exercise activity, and other factors influence and interact with human health. Health science also looks at the way the health care industry applies concepts like technology, engineering, and mathematics to medicine. This degree lays a great foundation for students interested in careers in nursing, counseling, medical technology, pharmacy, and other areas involving disease treatment and prevention and direct patient care.
How Much Can I Earn?
Since the health care sector is predicted to experience dramatic growth in the coming years, schools are adding more health science programs to their curriculums. These usually include a hands-on practicum, or onsite trainings and internships. Many programs also offer fully online options, to provide students the freedom to pursue their education at their own pace, on their own schedule, and in a setting flexible enough to allow them to balance full- or part-time jobs, family commitments, and social lives. The self-paced format of most online health science degree programs is a huge plus for mid-career professionals or part-time students who also work - something not often found with most campus-based learning programs. Online students follow the same rigorous course of study as their on-campus peers, thus they enjoy the same level of opportunities post-graduation.
The University of Missouri - Columbia’s fully online health science bachelor’s degree prepares students for a variety of health care careers, such as clinical data managers, health educators, and pharmaceutical sales representatives. Others go on to pursue advanced degrees in other areas. Students can complete their coursework without ever setting foot on campus. However, some science classes required for a graduate-level degree might only be available on campus.
The online health sciences program covers topics like health professions, public health principles and practice, and research methods. Students also complete a required clinical ethics course and a hands-on capstone project. They have their choice of 18 credits for electives, which provides the flexibility to tailor learning toward specific career interests within the health care field.
The program includes 120 credit hours. Admission requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 and submission of either SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students may bring up to 56 credits to the program, which greatly reduces the number of hours needed for completion at the University of Missouri - Columbia. A tuition discount is available for military veterans, military dependents, active duty military members, and students who hold degrees from community colleges.
The online BS in health science program from the University of South Dakota includes six concentrations:
- Pre-Professional Studies
- Health Care Studies
- Health Care Advancement Studies
- Undergraduate Clinical Informatics
- Undergraduate Public Health
- Undergraduate Research
Required coursework includes Major Issues in Health and Human Services, Healthcare Delivery, and Technology in Care Delivery, to name a few examples. Graduates of USD’s online health sciences program either go on to entry-level jobs in the expanding health care field or continue their studies in a graduate-level program.
The health care advancement studies program focuses on working health professionals who already have an associate degree. The undergraduate clinical informatics concentration focuses on the use of electronic health records to improve our health care system. The public health track educates students for careers in epidemiology research and issues in public health access. Lastly, the research option prepares students for research in various aspects of health and medicine, including epidemiology, health disparities, and biostatistics.
Founded in 1862, USD is the oldest college in the state and has educated more than 70,000 alumni.
The Ohio State University’s 100% online bachelor’s degree in health science gives students the foundational knowledge they need for a broad range of careers in health care. Students also have the option to take general education courses at OSU, or transfer credits from elsewhere, to save money on tuition.
OSU health science students take classes on individual differences in patient populations, health promotion and disease prevention, and the application of ethical decision making in health care. The program allows students to choose a minor from topics such as medical laboratory science and integrative approaches to health and wellness. The program is a part of the OSU Medical School, so students have access to world-renowned faculty and mentors at one of the top public universities in the United States. Tuition rates are lowest for online students based in Ohio.
The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours, at least 30 of which must be completed at OSU. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA and submission of either SAT or ACT scores.
The college consistently ranks as one of the top universities for online degrees, with over half a million alumni across the globe. It currently enrolls more than 68,000 students across all of its campuses.
Northern Kentucky University offers over 70 associate and bachelor’s degrees and enrolls around 14,000 students per year. The school’s fully online BS in health science allows students to complete the program in as few as 12 months. The program aims to enroll working professionals who already have an associate degree. Students can complete the rest of the courses needed for a bachelor’s degree online.
The courses and lectures work well for distance learners who don’t have the time to come to campus. Students take courses in health informatics, healthcare management, and issues in chronic disease management.
Distance learners in this degree completion program develop a deep understanding of health science, which is both practical and applicable to the health care industry. Students are called upon to analyze health data and ethical and legal issues, and to discuss relevant research in the industry.
To be eligible for this program, students must have earned an associate degree in a health care discipline with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.3. The program encompasses 120 credit hours.
NKU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Rutgers University’s online health science degree offers three concentrations:
- Aging Studies
- Healthcare Management
- Psychiatric Rehabilitation
Students learn what it’s like to work in a collaborative professional environment and always to put the interests of patients first. They have the option of choosing from full 15-week courses or a limited number of courses offered in 8-week sessions. Both options are available to full- and part-time students. Rutgers expects most students to study part time, since the program targets working professionals. Students are allotted a maximum of eight years to finish the program.
Required core coursework includes topics such as health care organizations, cultural issues, and scientific inquiry. The remaining coursework depends on the student’s chosen track. Students also complete a four-credit field practicum tailored to their career interests. Rutgers allows distance learners to complete the practicum outside the state of New Jersey.
To be eligible for this program, students must have already earned an associate degree from an accredited allied health education program with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, though students applying for the psychiatric rehabilitation concentration must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. Candidates must also submit two letters of recommendation. Students in the program must complete 120 credit hours.
Arizona State University is unique, in that it prepares students with highly relevant information for the dynamic field of health care. The program offers coursework in Applied Medical/Health Care Ethics, Historical and Contemporary Issues in Health, and Cultural Aspects of Health. Graduates go on to careers in health education, community health, and wellness.
The online health science program is offered through the university’s College of Health Solutions. The degree is tailored toward students who already have an Associate of Applied Science degree.
The school’s partnerships with the Mayo Clinic, HonorHealth, Dignity Health, and Barrow Neurological Institute offer great professional networking opportunities for students.
The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours. Prospective students need a minimum 3.0 GPA minimum in competency courses and must submit either SAT (reasoning score of 1120 for Arizona residents, 1180 for nonresidents) or ACT scores (22 for residents, 24 for nonresidents).
The University of West Florida’s online health sciences program has three concentrations:
- General Health Sciences
- Healthcare Administration
- Public Health
The general health sciences option gives students broad knowledge of the health care field. Those who opt for the health care administration track develop leadership skills specific to health care organizations, while the public health option prepares students for careers in government and nonprofits to tackle health issues on a larger, more global scale.
The program is offered through the Usha Kundu, M.D. College of Health’s Department of Health Sciences and Administration. General coursework includes Understanding U.S. Healthcare, Introduction to Global Sciences and Current Topics in Health Informatics. Students also participate in a health science research lecture seminar.
The program follows an online structure for both local Pensacola students and distance learners. Faculty provide students with instruction on epidemiology, physiology, and resources for internships and research fellowships. This program is a good fit for students who want to break into health care, who already have a career they want to advance, or who wish to continue their studies into graduate school.
The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours. Admission depends on a minimum 2.5 GPA and submission of either SAT or ACT scores.
Western Kentucky University’s online bachelor’s degree in health science helps position students to achieve their goals, whether they are working professionals with an associate degree or fresh out of high school. The program offers two concentrations:
- Health and Social Welfare
- Preparatory Health Science
The Health and Social Welfare option imparts useful skills in topics such as social work, demographic shifts, and policy. This option is ideal for students interested in a career in community service or non-profit work. The Preparatory Health Services track is perfect for those who plan to go on to graduate school for an advanced degree.
WKU has an enrollment of more than 20,000 students and offers more than 80 majors to choose from. The interdisciplinary online health sciences bachelor’s degree blends biology, public health, and psychology to lay a strong health foundation for students. Core coursework includes Introduction to Epidemiology, Community Health, Healthcare Management, and Administration.
The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours, and admission requirements include a minimum 2.5 GPA and submission of either SAT or ACT scores.
The university is nationally ranked by Forbes and ranks among the top universities in the South, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
Indiana University - Bloomington has, without a doubt, the best online health science bachelor’s degree in the state. To begin, the program is welcoming of students from all backgrounds. Some already have an associate degree (up to 64 credits may be transferred in), while others are right out of high school. Either way, the admissions committee welcomes all applications.
IU has an enrollment of more than 40,000 students and is a flagship university considered a Public Ivy. Many programs within the university system, including other health departments, have received high rankings. The online health science program is extremely flexible, yet specialized enough to offer high value for students motivated for a career in health care. The program offers two concentrations:
- Health Administration
- Community Health Education
Core coursework includes Health Care Delivery and Leadership; Health Policy, Ethics and Legal Issues; and Epidemiology/Biostatistics and Population Health.
The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours and allows for the transfer of up to 64 credit hours. Admission requires submission of either SAT or ACT scores.
IU-Bloomington is ranked nationally and globally by prestigious organizations like the Association of American Universities and U.S. News & World Report.
Northern Arizona University sits atop the foothills in Flagstaff, Arizona. A public, research-focused university with over 30,000 enrolled students, its most popular degree programs are biology, education, and health and nursing.
NAU offers an online bachelor’s degree in Allied Health. To gain admission to this program, students must already have completed an associate degree in clinical health. The main goal of the degree completion program is to add additional skills and knowledge in disease prevention and leadership. The program includes several specialties:
- Paramedic Care
- Physical Therapist Assisting
- Respiratory Care
- Surgical Technology
- Public Health
- Allied Health
- Diagnostic Medical Imaging and Therapy
- Medical Assisting
The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours. Prospective applicants should have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and must submit either SAT or ACT scores.
NAU has been ranked nationally by Forbes and Washington Monthly among the top 100 schools in the nation. The school’s online programs are also well-respected, with the extension school including almost 100 online degree programs.
The University of Cincinnati offers over 300 degree programs and enrolls nearly 50,000 students. This research-focused university typically secures more than $400 million in funding annually.
UC’s degree completion program is geared toward students who already have health care education or work experience. If you’re a working occupational therapy assistant looking to further your education, for example, this could be the program for you.
UC’s online health science program has a clinical focus. Coursework includes topics such as biomechanics, pharmacology, nutrition, and pharmacology. This gives students a solid foundation of knowledge in occupational health care. UC even offers minors in areas like psychology. Core coursework includes Physics for Allied Health, Medical Terminology, and Musculoskeletal Anatomy.
The fully online program focuses on behavior and occupation studies, aiming to help students advance in occupational therapy-related fields. It works for both full- and part-time students, with every class available without ever setting foot on campus.
UC has been ranked nationally by Forbes and U.S. News & World Report.
The pattern with most online health science degree programs is that they either prepare students for graduate school or they give them broad knowledge and skills to enter nonclinical careers in health care. Luckily, the designers of the program at the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs created a degree program that caters to both needs specifically. The program offers two concentrations:
- Health & Wellness Promotion
- Pre-Professional Track
The Health & Wellness Promotion track provides students with broad knowledge of topics like community nutrition and health assessment. The Pre-Professional track helps students who know they want to go to graduate school meet the specific prerequisite requirements.
UCCS is one of the top-ranked schools in the Colorado school system. For students who have already completed an associate degree or certification, the school offers an online degree completion program where they can complete their remaining credit hours or choose to continue and specialize in a specific area. UCCS alumni go on to have careers as health services managers, lab scientists, radiation therapists, and more.
As a degree completion program, Nova expects potential applicants to have already completed general education credits. Entering students must hold at least an associate degree or post-high school professional certificate in a health-related field and have at least a 2.6 GPA. Program applicants must have also finished at least three credits of college-level writing classes.
The admissions committee looks for students who come from a diverse variety of academic backgrounds and professional experiences. Applicants must have to demonstrate that they have completed all admissions requirements within the five years prior to applying.
The program offers two concentrations:
- General Health
- Healthcare Administration
Examples of courses in the program include Health Care Ethics, Principles of Leadership, and Cultural Competency in Healthcare.
The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours, with at least 33 hours completed at Nova, along with a capstone project. Prospective students need a minimum 2.6 GPA in a health-related associate degree or professional certificate, and health care experience is preferred.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana, in Shreveport, offers one of the country’s top nursing programs. Formerly a teacher’s college, the school offers more than 50 degree programs and enrolls over 10,000 students.
NSU offers a fully online Bachelor of Applied Science in Allied Health degree. A degree completion program, NSU’s curriculum is geared toward students who already hold an associate degree in a health-related field and who are hoping to further their studies toward a bachelor’s or graduate-level degree. The program is broad and supplies students with foundational knowledge of and principles related to the health care field. Graduates of the online Bachelor of Applied Science in Allied Health program go on to careers as health educators, informatics specialists, clinical instructors, and much more.
The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours and allows allied health professionals to transfer general education and up to 30 clinical coursework hours.
NSU has been ranked regionally by U.S. News & World Report. It has partnerships with NASA and was one of the first schools to enroll in NASA’s Joint Venture Program, where students work with NASA scientists.
Eastern Washington University’s online Bachelor of Health Science degree gives working health care professionals who already hold either an associate degree or professional certificate the opportunity to further their education to the bachelor’s level. Students study in growing areas of health care like clinical education, health management, and public health. The program combines medical, organizational, social, and societal aspects of disease and health to give students a broad foundation.
The intent of the program is to serve as a pathway for students who already have some level of college education in a health-related field. The program is not a pathway for medical school, however.
Graduates of the program move on to careers with government agencies, nonprofits, health administration organizations, schools, public health programs, hospitals, and more.
The program requires students to complete 120 credit hours, with at least 30 upper-division credits earned at EWU. Admission requires students to have at least a health-related associate degree or professional certificate, and health care experience is preferred.