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Best Online Health Science Bachelor's Degrees

Oct 19, 2021

Online Health Science Degree Overview

Earning an online degree in health science can be an efficient and affordable way to reach your career goals in the healthcare field. The online degree format can cut the cost of traditional degree programs and minimize the time that most on-campus programs require. A bachelor's degree with a health science major can lead to a fulfilling career in public health, health education, healthcare administration, and more.

Online Associate Degrees in Health Science

An online Associate of Science (AS) in Health Science will focus on courses like biology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, sociology, and some survey courses in topics like public health issues or healthcare management. Elective classes may include nutrition, epidemiology, professional writing, and more. Sixty credit hours, including both general education and major courses, are typically required for an AS in health science.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Health Science

An online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Science involves courses in biology, anatomy and physiology, epidemiology, and medical terminology. Survey courses in public health, professionalism and leadership, medical ethics, and analyzing data will also be a part of the degree program. Health science degrees are usually divided into several tracks or concentrations, the most common being healthcare administration, public health (or health education and promotion), and pre-professional studies.

Online students do have the same access to resources, tutoring, and advising that on-campus students have, which enables them to avoid the costs of living on campus (such as housing and dining) while still enjoying the full benefits of the program of study. Online programs also allow students to transfer credits or prior training to speed up their progress. Students may transfer credits from an incomplete degree, a finished associate's degree, or even military training instead of starting from scratch. Online students at some schools even have the opportunity to complete an internship for elective credit that will help them get the real-world experience they need. Furthermore, online programs may allow students to choose an accelerated program for both bachelor's and master's degrees by taking classes that count for both degrees at the same time. Often, students have many different options of start dates, making the programs extremely accessible.

Online Master's Degrees in Health Science

Online Master of Science (MS) in Health Science degrees are very common and accessible. While students with a pre-professional track in undergraduate school may seek an online master's degree in fields such as nutrition or therapy, a master's in health science itself is useful to students who wish to advance their careers and salaries in healthcare administration and public health. Many students who plan to become doctors may consider an MS in health science preceding a doctoral program in their chosen field.

Like the BS in health science, an MS in health science may involve several different tracks, such as healthcare administration, public health, health education, and health informatics. Within those tracks, students will learn about health policy, biostatistics, healthcare management, information technology, nutrition, disease prevention, and more. These courses of study are accessible to students who already hold bachelor's degrees or who are in an accelerated program; there are also benefits for service members that may include lowered tuition costs or credit for military training.

An online MS in health science typically comes in at about 30 credit hours, and is taken over abbreviated semesters (generally 8-12 weeks) at the student's own pace. Programs can be completed in as little as one year with a course load of 15 credit hours per semester.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Health Science

Doctor of Health Science (DHSc) degrees are available online, but students should note that residencies of a few weekends to several weeks may be required in order to complete the program. The DHSc is designed for professionals who have already completed master's programs and have experience in the field, whether that be in clinical, educational, or management settings. The typical time to finish this degree is about three years, at the end of which students should be able to think critically about the state of healthcare, health policy, and standard of care, and express orally and in writing what changes may be needed and what practices should be implemented moving forward. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal may be a program requisite.

Doctoral degrees in health science involve a heavy leadership component and rely on scientific writing, research, and data analysis. Additionally, as the programs are designed for upper-level collaboration with other professionals for the purpose of moving the healthcare industry forward, students will hone interpersonal and professional skills, teaching ability, and their understanding of medical and social ethics. All of this training prepares students for a career with great responsibility, which in turn rewards them with excellent job security and median salaries far above the national average.

Online Certificates in Health Science

Some colleges and universities offer certificates in health science, also called post-baccalaureate degrees or graduate certificates. They may have names like ''Health Care Quality Graduate Certificate'' or ''Graduate Certificate in Nutrition''. Colorado State University, Northwestern Health Sciences University, and George Washington University also offer certificates that may serve to boost your career in health science or propel you toward further education in the health and medical fields. Notably, George Washington University offers graduate certificates in integrative medicine, clinical research, multiple branches of medical laboratory science, and multiple areas of healthcare administration and management.

Post-baccalaureate degrees and graduate certificates may be completed completely online and within one year. In that time, you will take a mixture of core and elective courses that may include biosciences like microbiology, epidemiology, and pathology, as well as introductory classes in pharmacology, biostatistics, and more. Or, you may choose a program that is focused on clinical research, methodology, data analysis, and medical ethics. Generally, you can complete these programs at your own pace with no on-campus requirements.

The Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Health Science

If you're a prospective undergraduate student or a healthcare professional interested in advancing your career with a bachelor's degree, the following ranking of the country's best online health science bachelor's degrees will be an excellent resource for you. We've taken a comprehensive look at countless data from sources such as the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics, comparing and contrasting different online health science bachelor's programs based on criteria such as accessibility, affordability. We also dug into concentrations, course offerings, professional outcomes and unique features. So, if a rewarding healthcare career is calling to you, or if you are simply interested in exploring different educational options in the healthcare field, Study.com's online health science bachelor's degree ranking is the perfect place to start!

1. Florida Gulf Coast University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,118 67% 50% 77% Yes Yes AP Credits

At Florida Gulf Coast University of Fort Myers, Florida, students can enroll in the university's Bachelor of Science in Health Science program, whose upper-division courses are offered through web-based distance learning. Florida Gulf Coast's health science program is notable for its strong interdisciplinary focus, providing online students with a highly comprehensive, in-depth curriculum in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, all as they apply to human health. This degree program is also exemplary in its emphasis on practical, professional skills needed to excel in a variety of health and administrative careers, providing students with a firm leg-up in future job searches. Florida Gulf Coast University also offers online bachelor's students access to robust financial aid packages, which include scholarships, grants, and work-study programs.

2. Nicholls State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,898 88% 49% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences at Nicholls State University is another resource for potential healthcare professionals who already have an associate degree or relevant certification training in a particular allied healthcare field. Though located in Thibodaux, Louisiana, Nicholls State offers its Preprofessional concentration as an online learning program, corresponding to the requirements of working healthcare professionals in need of a more flexible academic schedule. One of the many great amenities that Nicholls State provides its online health sciences students is a thriving group of clubs and organizations including the Student Dietetic Association, the Allied Health Club and the Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society.

3. Northern Kentucky University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,296 90% 46% 99% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Northern Kentucky University offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Science degree that's designed for students with an associate degree in healthcare who want to pursue professional careers within the industry. Located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University offers its health science B.S. fully online degree program, designed specifically for professional adults looking to advance their health careers, but who need a flexible schedule and remote learning environment. In fact, it can be completed in as few as 12 months. The school's online M.S. in Health Informatics and M.S. in Health Science provide seamless ways to transition to graduate studies.

4. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,768 82% 44% 97% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Through its School of Allied Health, Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Allied Health, designed specifically for current healthcare professionals who already have an associate's degree, or equivalent, in a relevant field. This program is notable for its superb convenience in application and enrollment, allowing students to transfer general education credits and up to 30 credits of clinical work to fulfill the academic requirements. Affordability is also a bright spot here - students pay just $100 per credit hour for all classes once they've enrolled in 12 credits per semester.

5. Presentation College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$21,375 90% 34% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

Presentation College of Aberdeen, South Dakota comes up next with its innovative and convenient online Bachelor of Science in Health Science degree. Presentation College's health science program is notable for the flexibility that it affords its students in terms of curriculum structure, allowing students to mold the program to their particular strengths, career plans and interests for graduate study. The program offers students both a generalized curriculum and opportunities to focus on specialized fields (ideal for students who already have specific interests or skill sets). Despite its online structure, this B.S. program also includes core laboratory courses designed to provide even remote learning students with the benefits of hands-on lab coursework.

6. Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7695 91% 35% 93% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Weatherford, Oklahoma's Southwestern Oklahoma State University features a Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Science degree through its Allied Health Sciences program. Given its core focus on working medical professionals, Southwestern Oklahoma State allows the majority of the program's coursework to be completed online, to ensure that students can accommodate the program within the context of their preexisting healthcare careers. In fact, students enrolled in the program can apply up to 30 hours of their professional program coursework to the completion of the degree, making Southwestern Oklahoma State the only university in Oklahoma to offer this feature in a health science program. Online students are also able to partake in crucial experiential learning via clinical assignments, practicums, and job shadowing programs.

7. The University of West Florida

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5,776 31% 46% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

Pensacola's University of West Florida provides prospective health professionals with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science degree, which is available completely online. This program is notable for its emphasis on specific skills and abilities required in contemporary healthcare industry careers, including those with hospitals, public health organizations, and health insurance companies. The University of West Florida has also designed its online bachelor's program with student convenience in mind-students, who are mostly working adults, have a great deal of freedom in crafting their own academic schedules and completing their degree in the specific timeline that best suits their particular needs.

8. University of Colorado - Colorado Springs

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,728 87% 45% 81% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Helen and Arthur Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs offers an online Bachelor of Science in Health Care Science that is based around upper-level courses in allied health practice. That makes this degree an excellent option for students who are already working professionally in allied health careers. Because of its prospective student body, the program is notable for its generous credit transfer options; students can transfer up to 40 credits to the program from healthcare certificate or allied health training programs, such as those in dental hygiene, respiratory therapy, and surgical technology. Once enrolled, the students will engage in a vibrant, comprehensive curriculum, learning both advanced topics in the biological, mathematical, and social sciences and essential skills specific to allied health careers.

9. The University of Missouri - Columbia

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,477 81% 71% 89% Yes Yes AP Credits

Missouri Online-the online learning component of the University of Missouri at Columbia-has a Bachelor of Health Science degree that's offered entirely online. We found it to be a great fit for any prospective student interested in non-clinical healthcare careers, due to its firm emphasis on healthcare industry practices, ethics, and experiential learning. The program provides students with the necessary knowledge of both biological and behavioral health sciences and includes numerous, detailed seminars on health science and healthcare practice. Online students will even partake in immersive capstone courses to complete their program, which may include self-paced internships in healthcare industry professions.

10. University of South Dakota

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,332 86% 59% 94% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of South Dakota's Vermillion campus offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree, made available as an online program through the university's USD Online medium. What makes USD's online health science bachelor's so notable is its unique division into six different academic pathways for different student interests. Specifically, students may choose to focus on the options of Pre-Professional Studies, Health Care Studies, Health Care Advancement Studies, Undergraduate Clinical Informatics, Undergraduate Public Health, and Undergraduate Research. These six options mean that a wide variety of different types of students-from pre-existing healthcare professionals to those who are just starting their healthcare careers-can find a place within the program and construct their own course of study in a convenient online format.

11. University of the Incarnate Word

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$32,576 94% 51% 99% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences at the University of the Incarnate Word provides students with two distinct concentrations to choose from during their academic experience. First, there is the program's administration concentration, which also provides options for certification in various healthcare careers such as a certified medical administrative assistant and a certified billing and coding specialist. Secondly, there is the program's general studies concentration, into which students may transfer credits from previous allied health or military training programs. Though the University of the Incarnate Word is located in San Antonio, Texas, its Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences is provided as a 100% online degree program, based around convenient eight-week courses within six different annual terms.

12. West Texas A & M University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,135 69% 45% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

Through its College of Nursing and Health Sciences, West Texas A & M University has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. Both degrees are offered on-campus in Canyon, Texas, as well as through an entirely online curriculum for working professional adults and other remote students. One of the more distinguishing aspects of West Texas A & M's health sciences bachelor's programs is their eight areas of specialization, each preparing students for different types of healthcare careers. Depending upon their interests, students can choose to specialize in business management, business administration, accounting and finance, health promotion, cognitive health, adolescent and youth health, public relations, and public policy.

13. Western Kentucky University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,802 97% 48% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

Western Kentucky University's WVU Online program features a top-notch Bachelor of Science in Health Science that's ideal for students who are in need of a broader introduction to health science fields, and students who already have an associate degree or certification in a specific allied health career. The degree program offers three unique concentrations to fit a variety of career paths within the healthcare field as a whole: Health Services Leadership & Management, Health Sciences-Allied Health, and Preparatory Health Sciences. Depending upon their particular concentration, students can expect to take exciting courses in subjects such as health communication, healthcare ethics, leadership, health informatics, and finance.

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Health Science Specializations/Concentrations

As mentioned earlier, health science degrees are commonly divided into tracks such as healthcare administration, health education, and pre-professional studies. Some universities offer concentrations that focus on informatics, research, dietetics, gerontology, human development, therapeutic services, and more; keep in mind that these may be listed as separate majors or minors rather than concentrations under a health science major, but this is not always the case.

Curriculum/Coursework for a Health Science Degree

The curriculum for a BS in health science starts with a foundation in biology, anatomy and physiology, and intro courses in chemistry, epidemiology, and medical terminology. These will take up the first two semesters of the major (after completing general education classes and before beginning classes in a chosen specialization) for most students. Branching into different concentrations, students will then take classes in medical ethics, public health policy, medical records and billing, and professionalism. Some programs, such as the University of South Dakota's, may include classes in Medical Spanish; others may include courses on the Biology of Aging, Women's Health, and Health in Diverse Populations. Learn more about online courses in health science by clicking on this link.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Health Science?

A BS in health science takes 120 credit hours to complete, and while online programs allow students to work at their own pace, it is recommended that students take 15 credit hours per semester in order to finish in four years.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Health Science Degrees

It is important to make sure that the school you attend is accredited by an appropriate accrediting agency in order for your degree to be valid to an employer or an institution of higher learning. A list of regional accrediting agencies is available here; make sure to verify the status of your college or university by checking its website.

Furthermore, you may want to see that your program is accredited by an organization specific to the health sciences, such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the Council on Education for Public Health, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education, or another of the many accreditation agencies for health professions.

Health Science Licensure & Certification

While graduating with an online health science degree may provide you with a diploma, some fields require further licensure and certification. Even if one is not required, getting a license in your chosen field can prepare you for success in your career and earn you a position above the entry-level jobs of your peers who only have a bachelor's degree. Additionally, the CDC urges continuing education for public health workers, which includes becoming Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES). Both certifications are offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, and both will develop and deepen a health professional's understanding of public health issues.

A BS with an emphasis in a pre-professional field such as occupational therapy or dietetics does not grant a license to practice; required licensure varies by state, and the cost of earning or renewing a license will vary both by state and by occupation.

For example, the state of Florida mandates that occupational therapists hold a license. To earn that license, applicants must complete a program accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association, have six months of experience in a training program, and pass the exam approved by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Additionally, there is an application fee as well as an initial license fee. Each renewal also carries a fee, and licenses must be renewed every two years

Similarly, a license is required to practice in most fields of medicine, therapy, and nutrition. In public health, education, and administration, a license is encouraged and may or may not be required by an employer.

Health Science Career Information

A career in health science looks great in terms of job growth, job security, and income. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% growth between 2019 and 2029, and the median income for healthcare workers is over $68,000. Getting a bachelor's degree or higher will make a huge difference in your paycheck--while $68,000 is the average income for practitioners and technicians in healthcare, those who work in support roles (those that require associate degrees or certificates alone) make about $28,000 a year on average.

How to Become a Health Education Specialist

Becoming a health education specialist means getting paid to empower others. When people have the tools to get healthy, they can transform their lives, and you can play a vital role in bringing about that transformation.

Step 1

First, you'll look for an online bachelor's degree program in health science with a health education promotion or public health track. If you have prior training or credits, you should transfer them in order to speed up your degree. Completing your education online doesn't mean you can't get hands-on experience. While studying online, you may want to seek out an internship or volunteer opportunity at a hospital, clinic, or non-profit. This will help you feel more confident in the field before you get out there; plus, it will boost your learning and your resume.

Step 2

After graduating with your bachelor's degree, you will need to get certified. You can take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). While a potential employer may not require certification, many employers do, and having the certification is a good way to test your knowledge and boost your resume regardless of what your employer requires. Being certified can also improve your career and salary outlook as a health educator.

Step 3

Apply for a position at a non-profit, doctor's office, clinic, hospital, or government organization. At 13%, the job growth for health educators is looking good, and the average salary for health educators is $46,018, according to Payscale. As a health educator, you should feel confident that your knowledge and skills will have a positive and lasting impact on your community.

How to Become a Biostatistician

Biostatisticians take data from genomic studies, databases, clinical trials, statistics, and more in order to make those data useful to the public. Essentially, biostatisticians digest information and make it accessible to agencies, organizations, and individuals to help them make informed decisions about public health policy, healthcare management, and personal lifestyle choices. If you enjoy working with data, you may consider joining this important work.

Step 1

Search for online health science bachelor's degree programs that have a particular focus on informatics, computer science, research methods, and data analysis. Some universities have an informatics track as part of the health science major, but others offer health informatics as its own major. Regardless, you will need to have a good understanding of biology and genomics as well as experience with databases.

Step 2

Although no certification is required for employment as a biostatistician, you may choose to further your knowledge by earning a Certificate in Applied Biostatistics or Biostatistics, which are offered by institutions such as the University of California, San Diego or Harvard University.

Step 3

Government agencies are excellent employers for biostatisticians, so you may want to begin your job search there. You may also work for a healthcare organization, agency, or consulting group. A career in biostatistics is well paid; according to BLS, in 2019 the average annual income for statisticians in the healthcare field was $80,920, while research and government jobs paid $102,500 and $106,670, respectively. Payscale reports that the average salary for biostatisticians in all fields is $77,248.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information for Health Science Degrees

Before enrolling in an online degree program, it's a good idea to see if your prospective college or university accepts the FAFSA. The Federal Application for Student Aid may qualify you for subsidized and unsubsidized loans, grants, and even scholarship money.

Additional tuition discounts are often available for students who are veterans or on active duty. Other scholarships may apply based on need, minority status, religious affiliation, gender, major, intended career, and more. For example, the Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship celebrates women in STEM fields with a $2500 award. Many scholarships require an essay application, but every dollar counts when it comes to student debt, so they are well worth the effort.

Concerning in-state and out-of-state tuition: different colleges offer different rates, so online degrees may be cheaper or costlier depending on the institution. Notwithstanding, online degrees tend to be less expensive simply because students avoid the fees associated with living on campus (housing, meal plans, etc.).

How to Choose a Health Science School & Bachelor's Program

Many students choose to study online because doing so is more cost-efficient than attending college on campus. When browsing online degrees in health science, it may be helpful to consider schools that offer special discounts (e.g., military tuition discounts) or whose tuition is affordable for you.

You will also need to factor in the concentrations that are available at different schools. For instance, some universities may not offer a pre-professional or informatics track, but if you are studying to prepare for medical school or to become a biostatistician, you should search for programs that offer the courses you need to succeed in those fields.

In the search for a program that fits your needs, be aware of any on-campus requirements. As mentioned earlier, some online programs may require in-person attendance at various times.

Finally, if you have prior education that you would like to transfer, make sure that your school will allow you to count your credits toward your degree. Many universities allow credit transfers, and some even count military training or other experience toward a degree. However, there is a chance that you will have to repeat classes, thus delaying graduation if your school has a rigid policy. It's a good idea to talk to an advisor before enrolling in a program.

Professional Organizations in Health Science

Professional organizations offer many benefits to their members. There are a number of professional organizations in the health science field. A handful are listed here, but be sure to check for more within your specialization.

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