Best Online Associate in Health Science Programs

An associate in health science can prepare you for many entry-level roles. Learn more about the best online programs in the field.

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Published on January 19, 2022 · Updated on April 25, 2022

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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.

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.

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:

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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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

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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:

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. Parker University
    Location

    Dallas, TX

    Parker University prepares students for the growing healthcare field with a 100% online learning option. To expedite learning, Parker offers online associate health science students the option of taking one four-week course at a time to work through their classes.

    An easy admissions process encourages students to fill out a transcript authorization form to apply. Prospective students must possess a high school diploma or GED. Required courses cover medical terms, health management, healthcare computer systems, health statistics, and disease prevention.

    Program Snapshot

    • Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $660
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  2. Northwest Technical College
    Location

    Bemidji, MN

    Tuition

    $11348

    NTC tells students they don't use a "cookie-cutter approach" to learning. Students seeking an online associate in health science design their own learning path by choosing from 32 classes to make their 12 elective selections. The classes focus on many areas including aging health, child health, pharmacology, and nursing training.

    A quick admission process includes the online application and providing transcripts and proof of a high school or GED diploma or other college education.

    Program Snapshot

    • Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $205
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online or on campus
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  3. Riverland Community College
    Location

    Austin, MN

    Tuition

    $9472

    An education in health sciences at Riverland Community College offers expanded learning possibilities across the state of Minnesota through the statewide Health Sciences Broad Field Articulation Agreement. This means a guaranteed transfer to one of seven schools once the students meet the criteria if they choose to pursue a bachelor's degree.

    The curriculum focuses on the general education of anatomy, physiology, psychology, and sociology. Admission requirements include an application, transcripts, and an online orientation.

    Program Snapshot

    • Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $210
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous (online), synchronous (in person)
    • Format: Online or in person
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  4. Northland Community and Technical College
    Location

    Thief River Falls, MN

    Tuition

    $10406

    Northland Community and Technical College hosts four campus locations in Minnesota but also offers online learning. This college also takes part in the Minnesota Articulation Agreement to make transferring credits easy.

    Students seeking an online associate in health science get the required list of classes but can choose three elective courses from an extensive list of healthcare-related courses. Critical care, surgical tech, pathophysiology, and cultural diversity round out some of the unique elective options. For admission, students send in an online application and an advisor will contact them for the next steps.

    Program Snapshot

    • Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $205
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online and in person
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  5. Casper College
    Location

    Casper, WY

    Tuition

    $6438

    Casper College allows students to get the broad associate in health science online along with several emphasis options. Students can choose from pre-pharmacy, pre-radiology, or pre-respiratory, among others. The school touts its Health Science Simulation Center, which gives students a unique learning opportunity.

    Students must apply six months out from their preferred start date. School transcripts or proof of a GED diploma is required, as well as SAT/ACT scores. Students should check with the health science area of preferred focus to confirm if specific classes will be asynchronous.

    Program Snapshot

    • Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $145 (in-state), $355 (out-of-state)
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  6. St Petersburg College
    Location

    Clearwater, FL

    Tuition

    $3477

    St. Petersburg college embeds a certificate in healthcare services into its online associate in health science degree. No admission requirements exist for this program as the college has an "open-door policy" for all high-school graduates.

    An academic pathway program guides students in course selection and choosing the right order for their personalized course load. Costs do include an online learning fee of $15 per credit hour.

    Program Snapshot

    • Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $111 (in-state), $387 (out-of-state)
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
    • Instruction Style: Synchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  7. Los Angeles Pacific University
    Location

    San Dimas, CA

    LAPU, a Christian institution, offers an online associate in health sciences. Students take classes in general education, healthcare, and sIx credits that focus on biblical literature. The entire university exists 100% online.

    LAPU personally guides each student through the admissions process, starting by providing an enrollment counselor. Students need a high school diploma or equivalent and related transcripts.

    Program Snapshot

    • Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $450
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  8. Thomas Nelson Community College
    Location

    Hampton, VA

    Tuition

    $6627

    Thomas Nelson's online associate in health science comes with three distinct tracks for students. Public health, exercise science, and pre-professional tracks set students up for the next step in their education. Free online tutoring helps students thrive in this online learning environment.

    An open admission policy allows students 18 and older with a high-school degree or equivalent to apply for free. Thomas Nelson works in collaboration with Northern Virginia Community College in a Shared Services Distance Learning Agreement.

    Program Snapshot

    • Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $156 (in-state), $332 (out-of-state)
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 62
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  9. Roane State Community College
    Location

    Harriman, TN

    Tuition

    $4293

    Roane State offers an associate of applied science in health sciences. Students make one visit to the campus for orientation, and the rest of the learning is online. Online learning courses come with a fee of $68 per credit hour.

    Students must follow multiple application steps for admission to the health science program, with a final decision on admission coming from the Allied Health Programs Admissions Committee.

    Program Snapshot

    • Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $171 (in-state), $705 (out-of-state)
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
    • Instruction Style: Synchronous
    • Format: Hybrid
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Health Science Programs

Is an associate degree in health science worth it? true

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? true

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? true

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?

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?

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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