Best Online Associate in Health Science Programs of 2021

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By The BestColleges Rankings Team

Published on August 12, 2021

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Health science offers an interdisciplinary view of health and disease through the lenses of natural, social, and behavioral sciences. Students learn important skills in critical and analytical thinking that can apply to many careers.

There is currently a great demand for health science professionals across the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 15% job growth for healthcare occupations between 2019 and 2029, a rate much faster than average. Healthcare jobs that only require an associate degree are also in demand; for example, the BLS projects 19% job growth for medical assistants during that same timeframe.

On this page, readers can learn more about the top online associate in health science programs, including potential classes and careers. Readers can also explore common program requirements and learn about salary outlook for careers in this field.

For more information, consult our associate in health science program guide.

What Are the Best Online Associate in Health Science Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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#1 Casper College Goodman, MS
#2 Northwest Technical College Casper, WY
#3 Northland Community and Technical College Bemidji, MN
#4 Parker University Thief River Falls, MN
#5 Riverland Community College Dallas, TX
#6 St. Petersburg College Austin, MN
#7 Excelsior College Clearwater, FL
#8 Los Angeles Pacific University Albany, NY
#9 Roane State Community College San Dimas, CA
#10 Century College Harriman, TN

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2021 Best Accredited Online Associate in Health Science Programs

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Casper College View School Profile Goodman, MS

Wyoming's oldest junior college, Casper College matches accomplished faculty members with small class sizes to create a supportive, close-knit learning environment. This institutional philosophy extends to the school's associate of science in health science program, which prepares graduates for further study or entry-level positions in the healthcare industry.

The Casper College program includes only one required course, which provides a survey-style introduction to healthcare systems and services. Students enjoy wide latitude to design their own study path, choosing electives that match their personal and professional interests.

Casper College's academic advisors guide students to a customized course lineup that meets their career development objectives. The school also offers eight other specialized and career-focused health science programs, which many associate degree-holders go on to pursue.

Northwest Technical College View School Profile Casper, WY

Northwest Technical College's associate of science in healthcare sciences program requires 60 credits, including a 12-credit concentration track. Learners select their concentration classes with the help of an academic advisor, and configure the program for entry in a specialized practice area or to study at the bachelor's level.

Required courses examine a critical set of essential health science topics, including anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and microbiology. Degree-seekers must also take a career-focused course that covers common job opportunities and the education and knowledge bases required for entry.

Electives explore more focused subject matter, with recommended classes teaching key skills like CPR and professional specialties, such as nursing assistantship and pharmacology. Upon graduation, matriculants have additional one-on-one sessions with advisors who guide them toward their next steps: job market entry, additional associate degrees, or enrollment in four-year health science programs.

Northland Community and Technical College View School Profile Bemidji, MN

Minnesota's Northland Community College provides a valuable learning experience through its career-oriented programs, training future professionals to meet workforce needs. This Higher Learning Commission-accredited school features an online associate of science in health sciences (broad field), which prepares graduates for a rewarding career path.

The rigorous curriculum introduces essential health sciences concepts and offers numerous courses to learners interested in exploring specific careers. Taking a practical view of the healthcare employment landscape, the program also prepares learners to transition into four-year programs. Northland maintains advantageous articulation agreements with numerous schools in the Minnesota State University system, creating immediate transfer opportunities.

Graduates are qualified for a wide range of entry-level opportunities, including careers as nurses, social workers, health educators, exercise scientists, and institutional health advocates.

Parker University View School Profile Thief River Falls, MN

Parker University's associate of science in health sciences uses an interdisciplinary approach that allows students to explore many different topics and perspectives. The program's purpose-built design makes it ideal for learners who want to train for health-related careers but have not yet committed to a particular professional path.

The 60-credit curriculum includes required courses in a broad cross-section of the academic disciplines, including mathematics, natural sciences, and health and behavioral sciences. Students also complete 28 credits of health science specializations such as institutional management, public and community health, physical fitness, and statistical analysis.

Based in Dallas, Parker University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It has operated as a private nonprofit school since its founding in 1982.

Riverland Community College View School Profile Dallas, TX

Riverland Community College celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2020 and is a member of the Minnesota State higher education system. Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the school features a well-regarded associate program in health sciences that blends online and face-to-face learning.

Comprehensive learning outcome objectives reflect the program's multidisciplinary perspective. Students begin with introductory courses in biochemistry, statistics, and healthcare ethics. Later semesters build on these foundational proficiencies through required courses, such as human physiology and anatomy, biology and microbiology, and nutrition.

The program requires some on-campus attendance. Students pay low tuition rates, and can also take advantage of a flexible and convenient monthly payment plan.

St. Petersburg College View School Profile Austin, MN

Based in Florida, St. Petersburg College delivers an associate of science in health sciences program with a focus on healthcare management and institutional administration. The degree prepares learners for entry-level careers, or for transfer into the college's bachelor of applied science program in health services administration.

The program embeds a healthcare services certificate in its structure to give students added value and practical training. The certificate-based courses explore the basics of medical terminology, disease pathology, pharmacology, and healthcare organizations. Students also cover legal and governmental compliance issues, and build proficiency with commonly used software and information management systems.

Prospective students benefit from inclusive acceptance policies that do not impose any specific admissions requirements. Learners can complete all coursework at their convenience thanks to an entirely online, asynchronous delivery model.

Excelsior College View School Profile Clearwater, FL

Founded in 1971 to meet the needs of distance learners, Excelsior College now specializes in online education. The institution holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and was one of the first colleges in the U.S. northeast to embrace fully online learning models.

The associate of science in health sciences focuses on career training and bachelor's degree transfer opportunities. Upon program completion, graduates can pursue entry-level careers in medical billing management, community health services, health insurance administration, and medical office management. Some learners can also transfer into four-year degrees in health sciences and healthcare management at Excelsior or other accredited colleges.

Transfer students looking to earn advanced standing for experience or existing college credits enjoy strong benefits at Excelsior College. Incoming learners can earn up to 53 credits for their previous coursework, healthcare licenses, and healthcare certifications. Degree-seekers who take full advantage of this offer may be able to graduate in as little as a few months.

Los Angeles Pacific University View School Profile Albany, NY

The associate of science in health sciences program at Los Angeles Pacific University emphasizes technical, technological, communications, and decision-making skills. Designed for learners seeking affordable, accelerated educational paths to new career opportunities, the degree leads to entry-level jobs in health information management, medical assistantship, and dental hygiene, among other options.

Of the program's 60 required credit-hours, 26 focus on mandatory health sciences courses that build a comprehensive knowledge base in human growth and development, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and statistics. Degree-seekers supplement these topics with classes in physical and biological sciences, quantitative reasoning, and liberal arts and humanities electives that broaden and enrich student perspectives.

Los Angeles Pacific University draws on a Christian worldview to deliver practical career-oriented educational programs that further ethical and spiritual values. Part of the Azusa Pacific University system, the institution holds regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Roane State Community College View School Profile San Dimas, CA

Tennessee's Roane State Community College features a unique program structure and a supportive learning environment. Students in the associate of applied sciences in health sciences degree path complete the majority of their work online, but participate in semesterly orientation sessions at the school's Oak Ridge campus.

Thanks to this hybrid structure, learners position themselves for strong academic success. Students can choose from two main degree structures: a certificate-oriented path that builds proficiencies in concentrated areas, and an experiential learning option. The certificate path includes 16-30 specialized credits of focused study, while the experiential path provides practical, hands-on learning opportunities.

Physical attendance requirements vary depending on which path the learner chooses. In either case, graduates are qualified for administrative and information management careers in healthcare. Alternately, alumni can proceed into four-year programs with advanced standing.

Century College View School Profile Harriman, TN

Century College offers a hybrid health sciences broad field associate in science degree that combines internet-based asynchronous learning with on-campus attendance at the school in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. The learning path provides a complete general education in health sciences, and conforms to the Minnesota State system guidelines for transfer into four-year baccalaureate programs.

The 60-credit program comprises 29 required credits in natural sciences, logic and reasoning, and mathematics. Electives topics facilitate complementary learning in subject areas like occupational training, communications, critical thinking, and the liberal arts and humanities.

Thanks to its broad, generalized approach, graduates hold eligibility for further study in a long list of healthcare-related areas. Suggested bachelor's degree transfer paths include specialized career training opportunities in athletic coaching, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, kinesiology, and therapeutic recreation. Alumni also qualify for pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy, and pre-med programs at accredited senior schools.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Health Science Program?

Students pursuing this degree often have a keen interest in the sciences and aspire to a career in healthcare.

An associate in health science typically requires around 60 credits and takes about two years to complete. Part-time students may need longer to graduate. Students pursuing this degree often have a keen interest in the sciences and aspire to a career in healthcare.

Graduates can find entry-level work or return to school for a four-year degree. Most colleges allow students to transfer all credits earned in an associate degree into a bachelor's program, cutting the time it takes to earn a bachelor's degree in half. Professionals with a bachelor's degree generally earn more than those with only an associate.

Students enrolled in an online associate in health science can often pursue concentrations and electives in areas such as health informatics, nutrition, healthcare administration, or pre-physical therapy.

Some health science programs may require students to complete an internship at a healthcare or research facility. Readers should note that only some schools provide internships for students. Other programs require students to find their own internship placements.

Associate in health science programs primarily feature general education courses. Students take classes in the social, natural, and behavioral sciences to prepare for healthcare careers or further education.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Health Science Program?

An online associate in health science offers a science-based curriculum, featuring classes in disciplines like behavioral, social, and natural science. Students explore the fundamentals of areas like biology and chemistry while building key skills in problem-solving and critical thinking. Health science coursework prepares students for healthcare careers.

Healthcare Delivery Systems

This class focuses on healthcare delivery systems throughout the U.S. Students learn how cultural, economic, and political factors can influence the type and availability of healthcare for patients of all ages. Students examine relative healthcare costs and the role of private industry in healthcare delivery.

Healthcare Economics

Students learn about basic economic principles, such as profitability and market supply and demand, as well as how these economic principles impact the healthcare industry, federal and local healthcare legislation, and governmental regulation of healthcare. Students learn to evaluate economic strategies and make smart administrative decisions.

Healthcare Reimbursement

Learners explore how public policy and business strategy impact healthcare reimbursement for patients and healthcare professionals alike. This course covers supply and demand theory, insurance plans, reimbursement systems, and governmental regulations for reimbursement coverage. Students also gain practical skills in budgeting and financial planning.

Ethical and Legal Considerations of Healthcare

This course emphasizes the importance of ethical decision-making in healthcare. Learners explore existing and upcoming healthcare legislation and determine how these laws impact healthcare delivery and practice at the federal and local level. Students learn about ethical and legal challenges they may experience in different healthcare careers.

Healthcare Quality Management

All patients deserve quality care. In this course, students learn how to improve healthcare processes and track outcomes and performance metrics. This class imparts skills in reducing cost and waste in healthcare facilities while increasing the quality of care for patients of different ages and needs.

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What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Health Science Degree?

Graduates with an online associate in health science can continue on to a four-year degree or pursue careers in healthcare, research, and administrative services. According to the BLS, medical records and health information technicians earn a median annual salary of $42,630. The BLS also projects 8% job growth for these professionals between 2019 and 2029, a rate much faster than the national average.

The following list provides examples of common health science careers.

true Chemical Technician

Chemical technicians typically work in a laboratory setting and assist with chemical research, including pharmaceutical research. These professionals maintain lab equipment, prepare chemical solutions, and ensure that all lab experiments follow proper safety procedures. Chemical technicians may also help conduct experiments and record results by creating comprehensive reports.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants perform clinical and administrative tasks like recording patient history, scheduling appointments, and preparing samples for laboratory tests. These professionals often work in office settings in hospitals and physician offices. Medical assistants work closely with patients and medical staff alike and need excellent communication skills.

Medical Records and Health Information Technician

Medical records and health information technicians, also known as health information technicians, typically work in an office setting. These professionals review and organize patient records to ensure the accuracy of all forms and medical information. Health information technicians need skills in data collection, storage, and analysis.

Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists work in physician offices, hospitals, and clinics in close contact with patients and other medical staff. Phlebotomists draw blood for tests and transfusions. These professionals also prepare and clean equipment, including syringes and test tubes, and send collected blood samples to the lab for testing.

Physical Therapist Assistant or Aide

Physical therapist assistants and aides work under the direct supervision of a physical therapist to provide support and assistance to patients going through physical therapy. These professionals help patients through exercises and may provide additional services like massages and assistance with stretching.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Health Science Programs

Is an associate in health science worth it?

Yes. An online associate in health science prepares graduates for entry-level positions in healthcare, including administrative and technical careers. Graduates can work in hospitals, research facilities, and physician offices. Students can also use their associate degree as a stepping stone to a four-year degree in health science.

What can I do with an associate in health science?

Many graduates with an associate in health science continue on to a four-year degree. Most colleges allow students to apply credits earned in an associate degree toward their bachelor's degree, greatly reducing the time it takes to graduate. Other graduates enter the workforce, often pursuing positions in the healthcare industry.

Are health science majors in demand?

Yes. The BLS projects 19% job growth for medical assistants between 2019 and 2029. During the same period, the BLS projects 8% growth for medical records and health information technicians.

How much money can I make with an associate in health science?

Salary outlook differs depending on the career, the location of the job, and the professional's level of experience. Salaries for graduates with an associate in health science range from $34,800 for medical assistants to $49,260 for chemical technicians. Readers should note that professionals with a bachelor's degree typically earn more than those with only an associate.

What are the highest paying jobs with an associate in health science?

According to the BLS, chemical technicians earn a median annual salary of $49,260. Medical records and health information technicians make $42,630 per year.

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