Health science is a broad field that focuses on applied sciences to improve healthcare for humans and animals. Those who major in health science have broad opportunities within the workforce and, as such, a health science salary tends to be commensurate with one’s experience and education.
Professionals in the field generally perform research or work as clinicians, applying their knowledge to improve healthcare, cure illnesses, and gain better insight into how humans and animals function.
What You Will Study
As a student majoring in health science, you can choose to continue your education through to a PhD. Here’s an overview of what you will learn at each step of the way.
A Bachelor’s in Health Sciences (B.H.Sc.) draws knowledge from a broad range of disciplines in mathematics, engineering, technology and natural sciences, all of which can be utilized in practice, research, clinical studies and health education. Bachelor’s programs are designed to help you gain extensive knowledge and the skills necessary to work in many healthcare settings.
Depending on the specific area of study, the Master of Health Science (M.H.Sc.) degree offers specialization in one of more than 50 different fields including: nutrition science, anatomy, health policy, pharmacy, physiology, biostatistics, neurophysiology, applied microbiology, and immunology, amongst others. Areas of focus also include advanced study and research (academic MHS programs) and health care administration, which is vital for managing public health. Health care administrators go on to be leaders of medical offices, hospitals, or even work in governmental health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The Doctor of Health Science (D.H.Sc.) is a postgraduate doctoral degree that typically takes 4-6 years to complete. PhDs in health sciences contribute to the process of preparing tomorrow’s leaders to meet the demands and challenges of a rapidly changing and growing industry. A doctorate in health sciences prepares you to teach or perform research at universities.
Benefits of a Health Science Degree
Health science is a particularly complex discipline that offers challenging, yet rewarding career options. With over 80 different positions and strong predicted growth rates of employment within the industry, healthcare professionals not only experience well-paying jobs, but they also hold some of the most gratifying careers because they get to help others.
Career Opportunities and Salary Expectations
With an undergraduate degree in health sciences, you can work in many positions, including the following:
Career Outlook: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical and health service managers is $98,350. The career is expected to grow 20% by 2026, giving it a faster-than-average growth rate.
Job Duties: Planning, directing and coordinating behind the scenes to keep hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other medical services running efficiently. Medical and health services managers are responsible for adopting changes in regulations, healthcare laws and technology.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for a claims reviewer is $64,690. The career is expected to grow 1% by 2026, giving it a little-or-no-change growth rate.
Job Duties: A claims reviewer, also known as a claims adjuster, appraiser, or examiner, evaluates insurance claims. They decide whether an insurance company must recognize and authorize health-related claims, and if so, by how much.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for health educators is $45,360. The career is expected to grow 16% by 2026, giving it a faster-than-average growth rate.
Job Duties: Teaching, instructing or advising people about behaviors that support wellness. Educators promote and put into action strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. Community health specialists collect and analyze data to discuss health concerns with specific populations or communities. Educators can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including: hospitals, nonprofits, government offices, private doctors’ practices, or as teachers in the classroom.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for pharmaceutical/medical devices sales reps is $78,980. The career is expected to grow 5% for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, including those in medical sales. An even better indicator for medical device sales is the projected 13% increase in jobs for physicians and surgeons, since they are usually the ones prescribing or inserting the medical devices. Sales reps also receive commissions on top of their salaries, which adds significantly to their income.
Job Duties: To sell pharmaceuticals and medical devices to customers, explain the features of these products, negotiate prices and answer any questions customers may have about the products. Medical devices can include anything from lab and diagnostic equipment to pacemakers and disposable needles. Medical device sales representatives contact physicians, hospitals and other medical professionals to discuss the advantages and features of their latest products. Most sales reps specialize in a specific product line, serving cardiology, orthopaedics, dermatology, dentistry and all other branches of health sciences.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for medical laboratory technologists and technicians is $51,770. The career is expected to grow 13% by 2026, giving it a faster-than-average growth rate. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in a medical laboratory technology program, some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed. For specific state-by-state requirements, visit The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.
Job Duties: A medical and clinical laboratory technician conducts a series of lab tests on a patient ordered by a doctor. They analyze body fluids, tissue and cells using laboratory equipment and computers. A laboratory technician’s work is crucial to a patient’s wellbeing. To become a laboratory technologist a four-year medical laboratory degree program is needed. Technologists generally earn higher pay than technicians do and have more career opportunities.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for health and safety engineers is $88,510. The career is expected to grow 9% by 2026, giving it an average growth rate.
Job Duties: Health and safety engineers develop and design procedures, equipment and systems to protect people and improve health or prevent diseases. The main duties of a health engineer are to inspect health and safety regulations and scrutinize products for potential hazards. Potential employers may include government, construction and technology companies.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for biomedical engineers is $88,040. The career is expected to grow 7% by 2026, giving it an average growth rate.
Job Duties: Biomedical engineering bridges the gap between biology and engineering. For example, biomedical engineers might work on developing stents, prosthetic limbs, design artificial hearts, or install and support all sorts of medical equipment to support health wellness.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for dietitians and nutritionists is $59,410. The career is expected to grow 15% by 2026, giving it a much-faster-than-average growth rate.
Job Duties: Dietitians and nutritionists specialize in promoting health and manage disease in the area of food and nutrition. Dietitians and nutritionists typically advise people on what and how to eat in order to achieve an individual health-related goal or simply live a healthier lifestyle. Some common duties include, assessing patients’ nutritional needs, counseling on healthy eating habits, developing personal meal plans, on-going evaluation and management of patients’ plans, creating educational material to promote health, and staying up to date with the latest nutritional research.
Only nutritionists registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) may legally declare themselves as registered dietitians (RDs).
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for radiation therapists is $80,570. The career is expected to grow 13% by 2026, giving it a faster-than-average growth rate.
Job Duties: A radiation therapist works in coordination with radiologists to treat cancer and other diseases in patients. Under the guidance of radiologists and oncologists, radiation therapists administer radiation therapy to locate tumors, measure the volume of radiation given and manage on-going treatment reports.
While an associate’s degree may be suffice in some settings, most therapists hold a Bachelor of Science in Radiation.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for radiologic and MRI technologists is $60,070. The career is expected to grow 13% by 2026, giving it a faster-than-average growth rate.
Job Duties: Also referred to as radiographers, they perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x-rays. Technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images. Some of the main duties include: adjusting and maintaining imaging equipment, working in coordination with physicians on what areas of the body to image, preparing patients for procedures, protecting the patient from over-radiation, operating specialized equipment, as well as maintaining patient records.
One can become a radiologic and MRI technologist with an associate’s degree; however, you must be licensed or certified in most states.
Continued Education and Careers
For those who earn their degree beyond a Bachelor’s degree, more high-level positions become possible to hold, which also boast higher salaries.
Career Outlook: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for physician assistants is $104,860. The career is expected to grow 37% by 2026, giving it a much-faster-than-average growth rate.
Typical Education Level: Complete a 2-3 year master’s-level PA program; pass the PANCE licensing exam.
Job Duties: Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons and other healthcare workers. They are licensed to diagnose, treat and prescribe medication for patients. They generally work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics and other healthcare settings.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for occupational therapists is $83,200. The career is expected to grow 24% by 2026, giving it a much-faster-than-average growth rate.
Typical Education Level: Master’s degree
Job Duties: Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. About half of occupational therapists work in offices of occupational therapy or in hospitals. Others work in schools, nursing homes and home health services. Therapists may spend a lot of time on their feet while working with patients.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for physical therapists is $86,850. The career is expected to grow 28% by 2026, giving it a much-faster-than-average growth rate.
Education: Doctoral or professional degree
Job Duties: Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. These therapists are often an important part of the rehabilitation, treatment and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries. Physical therapists typically work in private offices and clinics, hospitals, homes and nursing homes. They spend much of their time on their feet, actively working with patients.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for chiropractors is $68,640. The career is expected to grow 28% by 2026, giving it a much-faster-than-average growth rate.
Education: Doctoral or professional degree
Job Duties: Chiropractors receive special training in caring for patients with neuromuscular problems. They use manual adjustment techniques and manipulation to treat health concerns, such as back, spinal misalignments and neck pain.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for Pharmacists is $124,170. The career is expected to grow 6% by 2026, giving it an average growth rate.
Education: Doctoral or professional degree
Job Duties: Pharmacists distribute prescription medications to patients and educate on their safe use. They may also oversee the medications given to patients, conduct health screenings, and provide immunizations. Pharmacists can work in pharmacies, as well as hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for podiatrists is $127,740. The career is expected to grow 10% by 2026, giving it a faster-than-average growth rate.
Education: Four-year graduate program in Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)
Job Duties: Podiatrists specialize in the diagnostics of foot, ankle and lower leg problems through physical exams, x-rays, medical laboratory tests and other methods. They may also perform surgery for the lower extremities and provide treatments to help the patient with recovery and mobility.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for an APRN is $110,930. The career is expected to grow 31% by 2026, giving it a much-faster-than-average growth rate.
Education: An undergraduate degree in nursing is required before entry into a master’s program in APRN.
Job duties: Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are specialized nurses who provide primary and speciality care to patients in one of four roles: nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists. The scope of practice may vary from state to state.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for epidemiologists is $69,660. The career is expected to grow 9% by 2026, giving it an average growth rate.
Education: Master’s degree in Epidemiology
Job Duties: Epidemiologists explore patterns and causes of disease in humans drawing on knowledge from biology, math and statistics. They monitor the spread of diseases and seek to reduce the risk and probability of negative health outcomes by developing solutions and possible treatments. Epidemiologists generally work with local and state health agencies training and educating policymakers about diseases and infection, while others go on to work in the private sector, such as pharmaceutical companies.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for audiologists is $75,920. The career is expected to grow 21% by 2026, giving it a much-faster-than-average growth rate.
Education: Doctoral or professional degree
Job Duties: Audiologists specialize in the diagnosis, management and prevention of a patient’s hearing impairment or ear problems. An audiologist primarily employ the use of audiometers, computers and other devices to help patients with issues such as vertigo, methods of communication, like sign language and lip reading, and prescribing hearing aids.
Career Outlook: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for pathologists is $76,610. The career is expected to grow 18% by 2026, giving it a much-faster-than-average growth rate.
Education: Master’s degree
Job Duties: Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, evaluate, diagnose, treat and work to prevent communication and swallowing disabilities. SPLs work with a variety of patients, including those who suffered from a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay and Parkinson’s disease. Working closely with pediatricians and psychologists, SPLs also play a crucial role in the treatment of autism.
Where You Can Earn Your Degree
If you aspire to be a health sciences professional, then you can get started by earning your Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree at a college or university. However, if you’re not sure the traditional classroom is right for you, you can earn your degree online in Health Science, Community and Public Health at University of the People. The tuition-free program is designed to prepare students for the complex and evolving health care landscape and open the door to the aforementioned careers.
UoPeople’s Bachelor of Science in Health Science is an online, 39-course degree program, offering students a comprehensive understanding of industry health principles and standards, as well as a highly flexible environment in which to study. With nothing more than an internet connection, you can get started today!
As you can see, there’s a lot you can expect from a health science salary as the opportunities are expansive. Regardless of the career you choose, you can rest assured knowing that you will be giving back to people and helping to enhance their quality of life by offering proper healthcare.