Health science refers to the application of science to health with the goal of understanding function, improving health, and curing disease in humans and animals. An associate in health science prepares graduates to work in diverse roles in the healthcare industry.
Students who enroll in onsite or online associate in health science programs learn how to improve individual and public health through the lens of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
An associate degree in health science can lead to entry-level jobs in a variety of settings and roles. Graduates may work in hospitals, community service organizations, or research laboratories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an additional 2.4 million new healthcare jobs between 2019 and 2029, making healthcare the nation's fastest-growing industry.
Most programs prepare students for transfer to a bachelor's program in a related field, such as nursing, dietetics, nutrition, social work, exercise science, or health education. Some learners use this degree to explore opportunities in the healthcare industry and solidify a career path.
Should I Get an Associate in Health Science?
Graduates with an associate degree in health science help meet this increasing demand by filling entry-level positions in numerous healthcare sectors.
As baby boomers age, the need for healthcare professionals increases. Graduates with an associate degree in health science help meet this increasing demand by filling entry-level positions in numerous healthcare sectors. Possible roles include medical assistant and medical records and health information technician.
The BLS projects 19% job growth for medical assistants between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average 4% growth rate for all occupations. During this same period, the BLS projects 8% job growth for medical records and health information technicians.
Most on-campus and online health science associate programs require 60 credits and take full-time learners two years to complete. Some schools offer accelerated tracks that enrollees can complete in 18 months.
Associate in health science programs can also lead to advanced degrees in the health sciences. Students may select concentrations in areas such as nursing, health education, and social work.Check out the Best Online Associate in Health Science Programs
What Will I Learn in a Health Science Associate Program?
A health science associate program includes general education courses, concentration-based electives, and core courses. These core classes provide an overview of the health science field. Enrollees may study ethics, healthcare systems, and medical terminology.
Most health science associate programs include courses in nutrition, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and disease prevention. Enrollees select concentrations that allow them to focus their education. Most schools offer concentrations that prepare students for a bachelor's degree. These specializations include pre-nursing, pre-occupational therapy, pre-radiology, and athletic training.
Schools also offer concentrations for students entering the workforce following graduation. Some of these concentrations include emergency medical technician, electronic health records, nonprofit grant writing, and pharmacy technician. Students graduate with the skills required to help people live healthier lives and to support community health providers.
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What Can I Do With an Associate in Health Science?
Graduates with an associate in health science go on to pursue careers in administration, nonprofit community services, hospitals, private health services, research, and insurance.
Degree-holders can pursue entry-level positions as medical assistants, medical records and health information technicians, and pharmacy technicians. Many graduates continue their education and earn bachelor's degrees in fields like healthcare informatics, healthcare administration, athletic training, and nutrition.
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How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Health Science?
Annual salaries vary based on title, experience, and employer. According to the BLS, medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $35,850 in 2020, while health information technicians earned $44,090 and chemical technicians earned $49,820.
Graduates who go on to earn a bachelor's degree increase their earning potential. According to the BLS, professionals with a bachelor's degree earn about $18,770 more annually than those with an associate degree.
Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Health Science Programs
- What is health science?
A broad, interdisciplinary field, health science applies STEM to restoring health, preventing disease, and understanding how animals and humans function. Examples of health sciences include conventional Western medicine, alternative medicine, and Eastern medicine.
- How much does it cost to get an associate in health science?
The cost of an associate in health science degree varies by school and student residency. Tuition and fees range from about $9,000 for in-state enrollees to over $35,000 for out-of-state students. Additional costs include books, housing, and meals. Many schools offer financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships.
- Is an associate in health science worth it?
Yes. An on-campus or online associate degree in health science prepares students for entry-level positions in the healthcare industry. Graduates find positions in hospitals, clinics, research labs, nonprofits, and insurance companies. Many students continue their education and earn a bachelor's degree.
- What can you do with an associate degree in health science?
Students who earn an associate degree in health science may enter the workforce in numerous fields, including administration, research, and social services. Degree-holders may work as medical assistants, health information technicians, chemical technicians, or pharmacy technicians. Many students go on to pursue a bachelor's degree.
- What is the difference between an associate in health science and an associate in public health?
While both degrees offer similar STEM courses that lay the foundation for healthcare through the lens of science and research, the interdisciplinary nature of the associate in health science degree offers students a broad education in healthcare sectors.
An associate in public health prepares graduates for entry-level careers in public health and covers topics essential to community and service organizations. Learners study substance abuse, public health administration, and community health.