If you love science and want to make a direct impact on people’s lives, you might consider pursuing an associates in health science.
An AS degree in health sciences is a strategic option for students who want to explore different areas of healthcare and are eager to begin their careers. Graduates of these programs are often ready to embark on entry-level careers in this essential and growing field.
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Read on to learn more about the curriculum and professional opportunities associated with this degree path.
Online Associates in Health Science Degrees
An AS in Health Science is a strategic option for many kinds of students. Whether you’re a working professional hoping for a career change or a high school graduate who’s passionate about healthcare, this degree path may be a good fit.
Health science is an interdisciplinary degree program that provides students with an overview of several different topics. Some of the subjects you can expect to study include:
- Disease prevention
- Health information
Associates programs also require you to complete a series of general education courses to help you develop strong skills in communication, mathematics, and social sciences. You may also have the opportunity to tailor your health science degree with career-specific electives.
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If you have a clearly defined career goal, you can choose to focus on a specific concentration during your academic program. This may help you gain the necessary qualifications for your preferred positions in the field.
Some of the concentrations offered by associate degree in health sciences online programs include:
- Healthcare administration
- Pharmacy technician
- Health information technology
- Interdisciplinary care management
If you would prefer a broader perspective on health science, most programs also offer a general health sciences degree with no specific concentration.
You may be able to transfer most or all of the credits from your associate degree in order to complete your bachelor’s more quickly.
Other health science students feel prepared to take on a position immediately after completing their degrees. An associate’s degree may help you secure an entry-level job in a variety of fields, including:
- Physical therapy
- Nutrition and fitness
- Pharmacy technology
- Health information management
- Allied health
Employers like hospitals, clinics, community health centers, and government agencies seek professionals with expertise, education, and interest in these areas of health science.
Health Science Careers and Salaries
One of the advantages of completing an associate degree in health science online is that it can open doors to a wide range of careers in healthcare. Many graduates of these programs take on entry-level positions in their area of interest and eventually advance in their careers.
Graduates of health science associate’s programs often become technicians, assistants, or aides in specializations like nursing, physical therapy, and medicine. Others take on roles in pharmacies or manage patient records and documents in healthcare facilities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the potential careers for health science professionals who have completed associate degrees.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||$77,740|
|Radiologic and MRI Technologists||$61,980|
|Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians||$60,570|
|Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians||$57,800|
|Health Information Technologists and Medical Registrars||$55,560|
|Physical Therapy Assistants and Aides||$49,180|
|Medical Records Specialists||$46,660|
|Medical Secretaries and Administrative Assistants||$37,450|
Many of these positions offer opportunities for growth. Many professionals also use an associate degree as a foundation for further educational study.
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Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that these areas of employment also have positive job outlooks. For example, over the next ten years, medical assistants are projected to experience growth at a rate of 16%, which is much faster than average. Employment for healthcare occupations overall is expected to grow by 13%.
Associate of Health Science Curriculum & Courses
There is no universal curriculum for a health science associate’s degree program. Most colleges will require general education courses, such as mathematics and public speaking, as well as a number of major-specific classes.
Some common courses include:
- Anatomy and Physiology: This course explores the structures and function of the human body, including topics like metabolism and homeostasis.
- Computer and Internet Literacy: In this course, you’ll learn essential skills for operating computer programs, software, and Internet applications that are commonly used in healthcare settings.
- General Psychology: You’ll receive an overview of psychology with a focus on understanding personal and societal applications of psychological concepts.
- Ethical and Legal Issues of Healthcare: The goal of this course is to help you gain a deep understanding of legal and ethical issues and compliance.
- English Composition: In this class, you’ll learn foundational skills for clear written communication, including using correct grammar and rhetorical strategies.
- Chemistry: This class is a survey of general chemistry, biochemistry, and organic chemistry, and it provides crucial knowledge about therapeutic processes.
- Medical Terminology: In this class, you’ll learn the definitions and use of terminology that commonly appears in medical records and reports.
- Human Disease: In this course, you’ll learn about the causes, signs, and symptoms of various diseases as well as how to prevent, diagnose, and treat them.
- Nutrition: In this course, you’ll examine the principles of optimum nutrition, including socioeconomic and cultural influences on nutrition.
- Healthcare Informatics: This course centers on the use of technology and informatics to evaluate and improve public health.
Students with an interest in a particular career concentration will likely take electives that are tailored to those goals. Possible course elective options include medical administrative assisting, cardiovascular technology, pharmacology, and radiology technology.
How to Choose an Online Health Science Associate Degree Program
Selecting the right college program can seem overwhelming at first because there are so many available options and factors to consider. As you evaluate different programs, these are some of the key points that can help focus your research:
- Program format. Some online programs offer classes that are asynchronous, meaning that you complete the work at the time that works best for you. Other programs offer classes that are synchronous and have specific meeting times for lectures.
- Cost. The cost of tuition can vary significantly between private and public schools. It’s also helpful to determine whether you will be paying in-state or out-of-state tuition. Schools may also offer varying financial aid opportunities.
- Accreditation. Accredited schools are generally of higher quality. Degrees from regionally accredited schools are most widely recognized by employers and other accredited institutions.
- Support services and resources. You may want to look for student support options like accessibility, tutoring, career guidance, and academic advising.
- Concentrations. Some schools may offer specific concentrations that are well-suited to your career goals.
After conducting your research, you may find that there are several strong contenders. Meeting one-on-one with a member of the department or an admissions counselor may help clarify your choice.
Associates in Health Sciences Admissions Requirements
Some of the most common admissions requirements for an online associate’s in health science program include:
- Transcript. Colleges require an official transcript from your high school.
- Recommendations. You can ask former teachers or mentors to write letters describing your strengths.
- Test scores. Some programs may require SAT or ACT scores, though a growing number of schools do not.
- Personal statement. You may be required to write an essay explaining your interest in the program.
In addition, you will be asked to complete an official application and may have to pay an application fee as well.
Associates Degree in Health Sciences Accreditation
As you research health science degree programs, it’s strategic to look for ones that come from regionally accredited schools. Accreditation is a status that indicates that a higher education institution has a met a high bar of excellence in academic quality.
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Regional accrediting bodies require schools to pass rigorous assessments, which helps ensure that you will receive the best possible education. Credits from regionally accredited schools are also more likely to transfer to other programs. This is especially important if you are considering transferring to another college to complete your bachelors degree.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
As you explore college programs in health science, you can also seek out various forms of financial aid. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a good place to start, as it determines whether you are eligible for federal aid. Your state may also have aid programs available.
If you are currently employed, especially if you work in a role related to healthcare, your employer may offer tuition assistance or reimbursement to support your growth as a professional. It could also be beneficial to seek out scholarship programs. You can speak to the financial aid office at your school of choice and do some independent research to find scholarships designed for your degree or circumstances.
What Is a Health Science Associate’s Degree?
A health science associate’s degree is designed to give you an overview of important topics like technology, math, data analysis, and medicine. This degree is often a strategic choice for students who want to work in healthcare but do not want to spend the time getting a bachelors. It is also appealing to working professionals who are wanting to transition into a new career.
Many health science programs give students the chance to customize their degrees. For example, if you hope to take on a leadership role, you may want to pursue a concentration in healthcare administration and management.
Is Health Science Hard?
The field of health science combines many different aspects of healthcare and scientific study. Typical areas of study include:
- Regulations and compliance
- Information systems
- Human diseases
The level of difficulty of a health science program may also depend on your chosen concentration. It’s helpful to evaluate your abilities and interests when determining whether an associates degree in health science is right for you.
What Can You Do with a Health Science Associates Degree?
Some graduates with a health science associates go on to become direct care providers, while others work behind the scenes operating technology, analyzing data, and managing patient records.
A health science associate’s degree can also help prepare you to work as a technician or aide in nursing, radiology, or physical therapy. It also serves as a strong foundation for a career as a pharmacy technician, medical assistant, or medical secretary. Some graduates use their associate as a stepping stone toward a bachelor degree.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate’s Degree in Health Science Online?
The amount of time it takes to complete a health science associates degree may differ based on your enrollment status and academic calendar.
On average, most associate programs have a 60 credit hour requirement. Students who are enrolled full-time in an associate in health science program will likely finish their degree within 2 years. If you are a part-time student, it may take longer for you to graduate.
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If you are hoping to enter the workforce more quickly, some colleges offer accelerated health science tracks that make it possible for you to earn a degree in as few as 18 months.
What’s the Difference Between a Health Sciences Associate Degree vs. Bachelor Degree?
Although they are focused on the same subject, associates and bachelors degrees in health sciences offer different benefits.
|Associate’s in Health Sciences||Bachelor’s in Health Sciences|
Students who complete an associate’s program may immediately take on a healthcare position or use it as a jumping off point for further education.
Is an Associate in Health Science Degree Worth It?
Yes, an associate in health science degree is worth it for many students. Earning an associate degree in health science is also an opportunity for you to explore your interests and learn which health specialization you prefer.
Graduates are often well-qualified for a range of entry-level careers in the growing field of healthcare. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that healthcare occupations overall are projected to see 13% job growth over the next ten years.
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Entry-level careers in this field include medical assistants, physical therapy assistants and aides, health information technologists, medical records specialists, and medical sonographers.
Universities Offering Online Associates in Health Science Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
American Public University offers an online program for an Associate of Applied Science in Health Sciences. Its interdisciplinary curriculum combines concepts from biology, physics, chemistry, and genetics. The program spans 60 credit hours total and allows students to transfer in up to 45 approved credits from outside institutions. Classes start for incoming students each month.
APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Casper College offers an Associate of Science in Health Science. The program utilizes a fully online learning format. It offers emphases in athletic training and preprofessional studies in nursing, occupational therapy assistantship, pharmacy technology, radiology, or respiratory therapy. It also offers a preprofessional study emphasis for medical lab technicians. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours to graduate.
Casper College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Century College offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences. This program is designed for those pursuing careers and further education in fields like exercise science, nutrition, nursing, health education, rehabilitative sciences, or healthcare management. The curriculum consists of 60 total credit hours. Students can attend using a mix of daytime, evening, and online classes.
Century College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Excelsior University offers an Associate in Science in Health Sciences. Courses cover key concepts like medical terminology, the US healthcare system, nutrition, and anatomy and physiology. The program’s 60 credit curriculum is housed entirely online. Graduates often pursue entry-level jobs in medical office administration, health insurance, community health services, human resources, and medical billing.
Excelsior University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Georgia Military College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Allied Health. The curriculum is designed to help students develop an understanding of the relationship between social behavior and public health. New students can select one of two yearly start dates for classes. Students must complete a minimum of 92 credit hours to graduate.
Georgia Military College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Los Angeles Pacific University offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences. Graduates often pursue careers as health educators, community health workers, and administrative services managers. The program spans 60 credit hours. Classes cover topics like nutrition and wellness, ethics in healthcare, human development, healthcare systems, and microbiology.
Los Angeles Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Northland Community & Technical College offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences Broad Field. This program may be an excellent option for students wanting to pursue careers in healthcare without a specific area of focus. Students can attend classes on-campus or online. Potential classes include Pharmacology, Developmental Psychology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Statistics.
Northland Community & Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Northwest Technical College offers an Associate of Science in Healthcare Sciences Broad Field. This curriculum combines fundamental theoretical knowledge with the technical skills required to succeed in diverse careers in the field. Students have the convenience of online and on-campus learning options. The program consists of 60 credit hours total.
Northwest Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Parker University offers an Associate of Science in Health Science. The curriculum covers essential topics for those pursuing work in settings like community organizations, research laboratories, or insurance companies. This program is housed conveniently online. On average, students can complete the degree in 2 years of full-time attendance.
Parker University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Pennsylvania Western University—Clarion offers an Associate of Science in Allied Health. This program may be an excellent next step for individuals hoping to take on support roles in healthcare and related settings. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours and 450 clinical hours in the field to graduate. All classes can be attended online.
PennWest Clarion is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Rasmussen University offers an Associate in Health Sciences. Students can select one of three specializations: Medical Administrative Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, or Medical Assisting. Many students can complete the program’s 91 required credits in just 18 months when attending full-time. Classes use a blend of on-campus, online, and field experiences.
Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Riverland Community College offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences Broad Field. This curriculum is designed to help students develop the skills and knowledge required to excel in a wide variety of health-related professions. Classes meet online and on-campus. Typically, full-time students can finish the degree requirements in four semesters.
Riverland is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Roane State Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Health Sciences. This program is designed for individuals holding a previously completed certificate in the discipline or credentialed practitioners interested in continuing their education. Potential courses include Medical Law, Management for Allied Health Supervisors, and Contemporary Issues in Healthcare. Classes meet primarily online.
Roane State Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
South College offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences. This interdisciplinary program includes coursework from subjects like biology, chemistry, physics, nutrition, and anatomy and physiology. Students can attend online or at one of six satellite campuses. On average, students can complete their studies in 21 months of full-time attendance.
South College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
South University offers an Associate of Science in Allied Health Science. This program aims to help students develop skills that are applicable across a broad spectrum of allied health roles. The curriculum consists of 90 credits and can be attended 100% online. Classes cover topics like computer literacy, medical terminology, anatomy, microbiology, nutrition, and human development.
South University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
St. Petersburg College offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences. The curriculum is designed to help students develop basic administrative and management skills for non-clinical roles in healthcare. This program utilizes a fully online learning format. Graduates often pursue careers as medical office specialists, clinical office assistants, and medical secretaries.
SPC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of the Incarnate Word offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences. Depending on their long-term professional goals, students can choose between general studies or administrative tracks of study. Both tracks require the completion of 60 credit hours. All classes are 8 weeks long and meet 100% online.
The University of the Incarnate Word is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Virginia Peninsula Community College offers an Associate of Science in Health Science. This program may be an ideal fit for students pursuing entry-level healthcare roles and related fields or further education in the discipline. The curriculum covers concepts like scientific inquiry, wellness, and human development. Students can emphasize in public health, exercise, or pre-professional studies.
Virginia Peninsula Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Weber State University offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences. Students can select a concentration in General Studies, Dental Hygiene, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Nursing, Radiologic Sciences, or Respiratory Therapy. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours to graduate. On average, students can graduate in 2 years of full-time study.
Weber State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Wilmington University offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences. This program is designed for students interested in pursuing entry-level positions in healthcare. Classes start for incoming students every 8 weeks. Students can select a specialization in Health Information Technology, Interdisciplinary Care Management, Health Promotion Fitness, or Healthcare Practice Management.
Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Getting Your Associates Degree in Health Science Online
An associates degree in health science can help open doors to entry-level careers in healthcare, including positions related to nursing, pharmacology, and administration. Health science professionals are in high demand by a variety of employers.
If you are interested in healthcare and want to make a difference in the lives of patients, earning a health science associate degree may be a good place to begin. You can start your academic journey today by researching online programs that offer your preferred concentration.
Enrolling in a health science associates degree program from an accredited school could be your first step toward a rewarding career in the growing field of healthcare.