Health Science Careers Worth Exploring

Many healthcare professionals study health science prior to entering grad school as health science is an excellent way for students to learn the connection between science and health and wellness. Students studying health science gain a wealth of knowledge about exercise science, global health, public health, and more.

Before delving into the wide-variety of health science related career paths, let’s take a look at exactly what health science is.

What is Health Science?

Health science is a unique major with a focus on both behavioral science and natural science. This is an interdisciplinary program that encompasses several sub-disciplines such as nutrition, biochemistry, epidemiology, psychology, sociology, and economics. Health science allows students to understand the human anatomy, various medical terminology, and healthcare ethics.

The health science program offers immense flexibility and career choices, making it perfect for students who are seeking a career in the healthcare industry but aren’t quite sure which job opportunity to pursue.

Health Science Career Opportunities

physician assistant students learning in the anatomy lab

Many health science graduates pursue careers in hospitals, medical laboratories, clinics, long-term care facilities, and rehabilitation facilities. Considering the environment you’d like to work in can greatly affect the type of field you go into. Some young professionals become clinicians where they directly work with patients while others work in a lab as a research scientist. From clinician roles to administrative work to positions in the public sector, there are countless opportunities in the health science field.

Physician Assistant (PA)

A popular career choice among health science graduates is a physician assistant. In this role, the physician assistant provides support to various healthcare teams and prescribes medicine, writes referrals, and examines patients.

Physician assistants may find themselves in the following medical specialties:

  • Orthopedic physician assistant
  • Radiology practitioner assistant
  • Pediatric physician assistant
  • Surgical physician assistant

One of the main roles of the physician assistant is to provide critical healthcare information to patients as well as diagnose and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician.

Physical Therapist (PT)

Earning a degree in sports, exercise or health science is the first step to becoming a physical therapist. Many students who complete their bachelor’s in health science continue their education including earning a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Physical therapy is considered one of the most rewarding careers! These professionals work with patients to improve their quality of life. Unlike other healthcare professionals, physical therapists often work with the same patients for months. During this time, physical therapists are seeing dramatic improvements in their patients and they often form close relationships.

Occupational Therapist (OT)

JWU students working with children in the sensory lab

Health science programs are another way for students to segue into a career as occupational therapists. Upon graduating with a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a program such as biology, psychology, or health science, graduates must enter a fieldwork program and pass a national certification exam.

Occupational therapists work with patients in all different settings ranging from classrooms to outpatient programs. These healthcare professionals help to improve motor skills, coordination and balance, allowing patients to regain independence and return to their normal routine.

Some of the ways in which occupational therapists help patients include:

  • Evaluate the patient and their environment to determine a treatment plan
  • Provide pain-relieving exercises and stretches for patients with chronic conditions
  • Identify equipment such as home safety devices that make home life more comfortable
  • Help patients with mental illness transition from outpatient treatment to living independently

Patients who suffer from traumatic injuries, broken bones, post-surgical conditions, burns, amputations, and chronic illness often work with occupational therapists.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Many health science majors continue their education to become a nurse practitioner. A master of science in nursing degree is needed as well as advanced clinical training, a state license and national certification.

Nurse practitioners have a multitude of responsibilities such as diagnosing and treating patients, prescribing medications, ordering lab tests, recording patients’ medical histories, performing exams, and more.  

There are numerous specializations that nurse practitioners can go into. Some popular specialty areas include:

  • Psychiatric
  • Family health
  • Pediatric
  • Women’s health
  • Drug and alcohol
  • Mental health
  • Surgical
  • Aged care

Nurse practitioners work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices and community health centers. Additionally, nurse practitioners have competitive wages and are projected to have a 45% growth rate between 2019 and 2029.

About JWU’s Health Science Program

JWU student in physician assistant lab working on computer

JWU’s health science program prepares students to continue their education in medicine, physical therapy and more. In this program, students first learn how science relates to health and wellness by introducing them to courses in nutrition, exercise science, psychology, sociology, global heal, public health, and economics.

Not only do many JWU graduates go into the professions above, they also become research assistants, research coordinators, medical laboratory technicians, microbiologists, and pharmacists.

Competitive Pathways

Through our Competitive Pathway Programs students can apply to JWU’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies or Occupational Therapy Doctorate. Students who meet eligibility requirements will receive a guaranteed interview by Physician Assistant or Occupational Therapy admissions staff.

Learn More About JWU’s Health Science Program