Best Online Associate in Health Science Programs

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An associate in health science program offers students the opportunity to develop their skills in the health sciences and qualify for entry-level positions in several healthcare fields. The typical program takes about two years of full-time study to complete. Most programs require around 60 credits.

Graduates who earn an associate in health science from a top online school often pursue careers in medicine, nursing, physical therapy, health information management, dietetics, pharmacy technology, and allied health.

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Salaries for graduates vary by position. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical records and health information specialists earned a median annual salary of $45,240 as of May 2020. During the same year, medical assistants made a median annual wage of $35,850.

Read on to learn more about common courses for this degree, careers for graduates, and program admission requirements.

Best Associate in Health Science Location Tuition
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
Laurus College San Luis Obispo, CA
Eastern Gateway Community College Steubenville, OH $3,528
Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS $7,893
Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, WY $5,647
Ross College-Sylvania Sylvania, OH
East Mississippi Community College Scooba, MS $6,951
Herzing University-Kenosha Kenosha, WI
Fortis College-Centerville Centerville, OH
Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, MN $9,992

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

An associate in health science program is especially suited to licensed vocational nurses and licensed practical nurses or veterans with medical training who want to pursue a non-nursing associate degree in a healthcare field. It is also suitable for college students interested in the health science field who don't want to pursue a four-year degree.

Most associate in health science programs require approximately 60 credits and take around two years to complete. However, some colleges offer accelerated 18-month tracks.

Curricula generally include core courses, general education courses, and concentration-based electives. Some of these concentrations are geared toward helping students prepare for a bachelor's degree. Concentration options often include the following:

Other concentrations prepare students who want to enter the job market after graduation. They include the following:

  • Electronic health records
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Nonprofit grant writing

Students must generally complete around 20 courses and earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0. Learners are also required to complete several proctored exams.

Associate in health science students can often choose between a general program and tracks related to specific medical fields like nursing. These tracks offer the same general outline but include specialized courses. Depending on their specializations, students may be required to complete a capstone project or internship in a professional healthcare setting.

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Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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

Nutrition

A nutrition course develops students' knowledge of nutrients and their effects. Covered topics may include food science, production, and legislation. This course is an integral element of any health-related program.

Anatomy

Any student planning to enter into a healthcare profession must take an anatomy course. Anatomy teaches about the human body and how it functions. It also involves studying the human body's structure, including organs and tissues.

Microbiology

A microbiology course explores microorganisms and the diseases they produce. It also delves into the metabolic and genetic structures of microscopic organisms.

Disease Prevention

A disease prevention course often goes together with a nutrition course. This course helps students learn how to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent diseases.

Physiology

Physiology is a branch of biology that focuses on how body organs and organ systems function. It also deals with how organs relate to one another and how they respond to challenges.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Health Science Program?

Admission requirements for online associate in health science programs vary depending on the student's preferred specialization and the school. However, there are some basic requirements that all prospective associate in health science students must meet.

  • High School or GED Diploma: Students must demonstrate high school completion or its equivalent by submitting official transcripts. Students should have some previous study in math- and science-related subjects.
  • Application: In some cases, prospective students are required to write a college application essay. These essays demonstrate applicants' writing skills and tell the school a little more about an applicant's professional goals.
  • Placement Testing: While many community colleges do not require ACT or SAT scores, students may need to complete the ACCUPLACER test to determine placement for general education courses.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Some online programs require the students to submit letters of recommendation from former high school teachers or employers with their applications.

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

Career Outlook

The BLS projects 16% job growth for healthcare occupations between 2020 and 2030, which doubles the average projected growth rate for all occupations during that period.

Many graduates with an associate degree in health science pursue careers as medical assistants, for whom the BLS projects 18% job growth between 2020 and 2030.

According to the BLS, healthcare support occupations paid a median annual wage of $29,960 as of May 2020. Graduates can enter a variety of healthcare and healthcare-adjacent fields, including sociology, medicine, and public health.

Career Paths

Healthcare Administration Assistant

This occupation involves assisting more advanced administrators in managing facilities, department resources, and entire healthcare systems. These professionals answer phone calls, maintain medical records, perform transcription, and provide information to staff and patients. Working in these entry-level administration jobs can be the first step in a healthcare career.

Median Annual Salary: $37,350

Healthcare Information Specialist

Healthcare information specialists collect and organize health information and ensure that it is stored correctly. These professionals must be able to communicate with doctors about the health records they are managing. They also need to be confident in their computer skills.

Median Annual Salary: $45,240

Medical and Health Services Managers

These professionals coordinate business operations for healthcare facilities and companies. They usually need a bachelor's degree in a relevant business or healthcare field, so associate degree-holders must continue their education to earn these positions.

Median Annual Salary: $104,280

Medical Lab Technician

Medical lab technicians collect fluid and tissue samples from the patients for tests. These professionals often specialize in areas like phlebotomy, immunology, and cytotechnology. Medical lab technicians are sometimes assistants to medical lab technologists.

Median Annual Salary: $54,180

Physical Therapy Assistant or Aide

Aides and physical therapy assistants work under the supervision of a physical therapist. They help these patients with their physical exercises and might provide services like massage and stretching.

Median Annual Salary: $49,970

Health Science Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

According to the BLS, bachelor's degree-holders earn around $18,770 more per year than associate degree-holders. Many students who graduate with an associate degree in health science pursue a bachelor's degree in the following fields:

  • Bachelor's in Health Informatics: This program exposes students to health science, informatics, and computer science. This degree can lead to many career options, including medical records or health records specialist, health services manager, and information systems manager.
  • Bachelor's in Public Health: Graduates educate the public on a variety of health concerns. They have proven to be essential workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Bachelor's in Health Education: Health education is currently among the most in-demand fields in the healthcare sector. The BLS projects 17% job growth for these professionals between 2020 and 2030.

How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Health Science Program?

Cost

Students need to factor in all costs of an online program. While tuition rates vary, some schools charge more for online learning than on-campus. Others offer significant discounts for in-state learners, and private universities are often more expensive than public schools. Keep in mind that online learners save on costs like room and board and transportation.

Program Format

If you plan to hold down a full-time job while studying, you might benefit from asynchronous online courses, which do not include set class times. If you prefer interacting with peers and professors in real time, synchronous courses may be a better fit. You can also enroll in full-time, part-time, or accelerated programs.

Location

Some online courses require on-campus activities like attending practical and laboratory lessons, so students should confirm course requirements before enrolling. As such, it may make sense to enroll at a school near you, even if you plan to take courses online.

Accreditation

Accreditation demonstrates that a school meets specific educational standards. Proper accreditation can help students get financial aid, transfer credits to other institutions, and improve their employment prospects. You cannot receive federal financial aid from unaccredited schools.

Student Support

Students need to consider online programs that offer the same student services that on-campus students receive. Services like student mentorship programs and internships go a long way in helping the students gain experience in their respective fields.

Best Accredited Online Associate in Health Science Programs

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Best Online Associate in Health Science Programs

  1. Casper College
    Location

    Goodman, MS

    Tuition

    $5723

    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.

  2. Northwest Technical College
    Location

    Casper, WY

    Tuition

    $6438

    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.

  3. Northland Community and Technical College
    Location

    Bemidji, MN

    Tuition

    $11348

    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.

  4. Parker University
    Location

    Thief River Falls, MN

    Tuition

    $10406

    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.

  5. Riverland Community College
    Location

    Dallas, TX

    Tuition

    $23950

    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.

  6. St. Petersburg College
    Location

    Austin, MN

    Tuition

    $9472

    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.

  7. Excelsior College
    Location

    Clearwater, FL

    Tuition

    $3477

    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.

  8. Los Angeles Pacific University
    Location

    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.

  9. Roane State Community College
    Location

    San Dimas, CA

    Tuition

    $19936

    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.

  10. Century College
    Location

    Harriman, TN

    Tuition

    $4293

    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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Health Science Programs

Is an associate degree in health science worth it?

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Yes. An associate in health science offers many career opportunities in the health sector and is among the most marketable associate degrees, with several career options. Students can often find online programs that offer an asynchronous, part-time format that fits around personal and professional obligations.

How fast can I get an associate in health science degree online?

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It depends on your schedule. Associate in health programs typically take two years to complete. However, you may be able to graduate in 18 months by enrolling in an accelerated program that includes courses over the summer.

Is an online associate degree in health science credible?

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Yes. An online associate degree in health science is just as credible as an on-campus degree from the same institution. Since most program tracks are theoretical, lab time is usually not required. This means that as long as you pass all the requirements for the degree, your mode of study doesn't really matter.

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

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It depends on the career path you choose. For example, if you become a healthcare administration assistant, you can make a median annual salary of $37,350. You can earn a median annual salary of $45,240 as a medical records or health information specialist.

Keep in mind that salary potential depends on location, employer, and experience, among other factors.

Is an associate degree in health science in high demand?

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Yes. The BLS projects 16% job growth for all healthcare occupations between 2020 and 2030. During the same period, the BLS projects 18% job growth for medical assistants, a common career choice for graduates with an associate degree in health science.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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