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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the health care industry will produce 3.2 million new jobs in the U.S. by 2019. The BLS attributes the tremendous growth to advancements in medicine and medical technology in addition to the resultant increases in life expectancy.

Degrees in health sciences

Many positions in the field of public health require an advanced degree, but an associate degree in public health or public administration can potentially open the door to entry-level employment in the field. Most associate degree in public health or associate degree in public administration programs take between 18 months and two years to complete.

Specialized degrees in the health sciences include:

  • Emergency medical technology programs
  • Home health aide programs
  • Occupational therapy assistant programs
  • Physical therapist assistant programs

Path to a degree in health sciences

Associate degrees in public health or associate degree in public administration programs typically take between 18 months and two years to complete. Some of the courses a student might expect to take as part of a public health degree program or a publication administration degree program with an emphasis in public health include:

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Health education
  • Health policy and regulation
  • Ethics
  • Communication
  • Non-profit management

Electives

Depending on the chosen program's specialization, students may take coursework in the following elective areas:

  • Algebra
  • Anatomy
  • Biology
  • Physiology
  • Psychology

Depending on the program, supervised hands-on training with patients and relevant equipment may also be required. According to the BLS, certification may be required and varies by specialization and state. Internships may also make you a more competitive applicant.

What can you do with an associate's degree in health sciences?

An associate degree in public health, public administration, or a specialization within the health sciences can potentially open the door to engaging and meaningful entry-level employment in the field.

Discipline2013 median annual income*2012-2022 job growth projection
Emergency Medical Technicians $31,270 According to the BLS, employment of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is projected to grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022
Home Health Aides $21,020 Employment of home health aides is projected to grow 48 percent from 2012 to 2022 according to the BLS. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Occupational Therapist Assistants $55,270 The BLS projects that employment of occupational therapy assistants will grow 43 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Physical Therapist Aides $24,310 Employment of physical therapist aides is projected to grow 40 percent from 2012 to 2022, due in large part to the health needs of the large baby-boomer generation.
Social and Human Services Assistants $29,230 The BLS projects that employment of social and human service assistants will grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022, primarily due to an increase in the elderly population and rising demand for health care and social services.
Health Educators $49,210 N/A

A health science degree can be a step towards pursuing a career in this quickly growing field. After earning an associate's degree and spending some time working in a health sciences job, individuals can decide whether additional education is an appropriate next step to help them reach their career goals.

Sources

"EMTs and Paramedics," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/emts-and-paramedics.htm#tab-1

"Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm#tab-1

"Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm#tab-1

"Social and Human Service Assistants," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-and-human-service-assistants.htm#tab-1

"21-1093 Social and Human Service Assistants," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211093.htm

"Health Educators and Community Health Workers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm

"21-1091 Health Educators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211091.htm

"31-1011 Home Health Aides," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes311011.htm

"29-2041 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292041.htm

"31-2011 Occupational Therapy Assistants," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes312011.htm

"31-2022 Physical Therapist Aides," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes312022.htm

"Home Health Aides," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides.htm#tab-1

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