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.
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:
- Athletic training
- Pre-occupational therapy
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?
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.
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.
A microbiology course explores microorganisms and the diseases they produce. It also delves into the metabolic and genetic structures of microscopic organisms.
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 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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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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Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Health Science Programs
Is an associate degree in health science worth it?
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?
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?
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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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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