What Can You Do With a Health Sciences Degree?
You’ve likely been considering a career change for a while. You want a career that pays the bills – doesn’t everyone? But, like many people, you want more than that. Not everyone has the chance to make a difference when they go to work every day. That’s what you want to do. What better industry to pursue than healthcare?
Of course, healthcare is a field that encompasses many possibilities. Add in a health sciences degree and opportunities overflow. You can work directly with patients, indirectly with patients, with a lot of blood or with no blood at all. Certain positions require certificates, diplomas or degrees and various levels of experience.
With so many options it can be easy to be confused or overwhelmed. That’s why we’re here to help. Keep reading to get acquainted with all of the career paths available in the health sciences industry.
Pick your perfect healthcare career path
The first step in narrowing down your healthcare career options is deciding whether you’d prefer to work with patients directly or indirectly. As you may guess from the names, those who work in direct patient care are hands-on with patients, while those in certain indirect patient care jobs rarely, if ever, see a patient face to face.
Direct patient care careers include the obvious ones such as doctors or nurses. This also includes medical assistants, phlebotomists, pharmacy technicians and surgical technologists. Healthcare professionals who have indirect contact with patients include health information technicians, medical administrators, health information managers and medical billers and coders.
Another important thing to decide before choosing your perfect healthcare career is how you feel about blood. It might sound surprising, but there are healthcare jobs that don’t require you to have a high tolerance for the red stuff.
You likely already know positions where working with blood is common. These include doctors, nurses, surgical technologists and, of course, phlebotomists. Working with blood is a personal decision and if it’s not for you, there are still plenty of other healthcare jobs you should consider. Medical jobs without blood include pharmacy technicians, medical administrators, physical therapy assistants and health information technicians.
You should also take some time to consider where you’d eventually want to work. While there are numerous healthcare positions in hospitals, that’s not the only environment in need of healthcare professionals. Consider whether other locations, such as nursing homes, doctor’s offices or rehab centers might be a good fit for you.
Opportunities to get in the door quickly
Once you’re excited about your future healthcare career you likely don’t want to wait years and years to actually start that career. Lucky for you, healthcare is an area with a wide range of educational requirements. Some, like surgeons or anesthesiologist, spend a long time in school – as they should. Other healthcare professionals can acquire the formal education they need in a much shorter time span.
Earning an associate degree, diploma or certificate can get you out the door in two years or less. Healthcare jobs you may be eligible for with those educational credentials include registered nurses, medical secretaries, medical assistants and pharmacy technicians.
Healthcare education is an area where credentials can often stack – meaning you can earn a certificate, then return to achieve an associate degree and later earn a bachelor’s degree. For example, you could earn a phlebotomy certificate and then earn a health sciences associate’s degree, followed by a healthcare management bachelor’s degree or even a health and wellness bachelor's degree.
Of course, that’s just one example – healthcare allows for several ways of earning all of the credentials you will need on the path to achieving your dream career. The flexibility of stackable credentials means you’re able to continue your education while simultaneously gaining the professional experience you’ll need to advance your career.
Decide what’s best for you
Searching for a healthcare career can be difficult. You are now aware of the multiple factors to consider – your desired working location, whether you’d prefer direct or indirect patient care and if you can work with blood daily.
Don’t let these decisions weigh you down. Instead, think of them as opportunities. Because you can’t make a difference with a healthcare career if you don’t have one. A health sciences degree can be a great place to start.
Download your complimentary copy of the Healthcare Career Outlook to learn more about job duties, growth projections, earning potential and educational requirements for the positions that interest you most.