A health sciences degree is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on various aspects of health, encompassing both scientific and non-scientific disciplines. It’s designed to provide a broad understanding of health-related subjects, preparing students for a range of careers within the healthcare industry and related fields. 

This type of degree can serve as a stepping stone for various health professions and career paths within healthcare or as a foundation for further specialized study in medicine, nursing, public health, healthcare administration, or other allied health professions. Health sciences graduates may go on to attend medical school, nursing school, occupational therapy program, physical therapy program, or another graduate program to further their education, or they may start work right away.  

Career Paths with a Degree in Health Sciences 

Unlike some more specialized degree paths, a degree in health sciences can act as a strong foundation for a wide range of health science career paths in healthcare settings, research institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and even industries like pharmaceuticals and medical technology. For a student with an interest in improving healthcare systems and the lives of those who access them, there is almost certainly a career path that will spark that student’s passion.  

Health Informatics 

Health informatics is a multidisciplinary field that combines healthcare, information technology, and data management to improve the quality, efficiency, and delivery of healthcare services. It involves the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of healthcare information to support patient care, research, administration, and decision-making.  

Professionals in health informatics include health information managers, clinical informaticists, data analysts, IT specialists focusing on healthcare systems, and informatics researchers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand in the health informatics field is expected to increase 16% between 2022 and 2032, which is much faster than the average for all professions.  

Students who complete a degree in health sciences are well prepared to enter the field of health informatics. Health informatics professionals may work in a hospital setting or a private clinic, or they may even start their own consulting business. 

health professional speaking with patient wearing a mask

Public Health 

As the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated, there is a significant need for experts in public health. Public health professionals work to protect and improve the health of communities and populations through various means, focusing on preventive measures and health improvement. Their work spans several areas, including: 

  • Disease prevention and control, monitoring disease trends, investigating outbreaks, and implementing strategies to prevent the spread of illnesses 
  • Health promotion, designing and implementing programs to encourage healthy behaviors and lifestyles 
  • Community health education, educating communities about health risks, disease prevention, and access to healthcare services  
  • Policy development, advocating for health policies and regulations at local, state, and national levels to improve public health outcomes 
  • Environmental health, addressing environmental factors that impact health, such as air and water quality, sanitation, and occupational health hazards 
  • Epidemiology and research, studying diseases within populations to identify patterns, causes, and risk factors 
  • Healthcare access and equity, working to ensure equal access to healthcare services and addressing disparities in health outcomes among different populations 

Public health professionals can work in various settings, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, healthcare institutions, research institutions, and international health organizations. Their ultimate goal is to improve the overall health and well-being of populations by addressing health issues at a broader level, focusing on prevention, education, policy, and community engagement. 

Health Policy and Administration 

A career in health policy and administration involves managing and influencing the policies, regulations, and operations that shape healthcare delivery and public health initiatives. Professionals in this field work at the intersection of healthcare, government, and public policy to improve the efficiency, accessibility, and quality of healthcare services. In the United States, health policy workers may work on the government side, or they may work for private insurance companies, lobbying the government for policy changes.  

It is more important than ever that public health policy can meet the needs of the aging population in the U.S., making this a career that is sure to see growth in the coming years. 

pharma rep with a tablet speaking with a doctor

Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Sales 

Working in pharmaceutical and medical device sales can be a dynamic and rewarding option for those who earn a health sciences degree. This career path blends aspects of healthcare, sales, and relationship building and also has a high earning potential. In addition to financial incentives, this career path offers the opportunity to make a significant impact by providing healthcare professionals with innovative solutions and the chance to work in a dynamic and fast-paced industry.  

However, it can also be challenging, requiring resilience in the face of rejection, the ability to handle regulatory hurdles, and the need to continually adapt to industry changes. Success often depends on strong interpersonal skills, product knowledge, adaptability, and a passion for both healthcare and sales. 

Healthcare Management 

A career in healthcare management involves overseeing the administrative and operational aspects of healthcare facilities or organizations. Healthcare managers are responsible for the overall administration of healthcare facilities, which includes hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and healthcare systems. They provide leadership, set goals, and ensure the efficient operation of the organization.  

According to the BLS, the demand for healthcare management professionals is expected to grow 28% between 2022 and 2032, which is much faster than the average for all professions. With many positions requiring just a bachelor’s degree for healthcare management, the median annual pay of $104,830 makes this an attractive field for health sciences graduates.  

Medical Writing and Communications 

Medical writers play a crucial role in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries by translating complex scientific and medical information into clear, concise, and understandable content for various audiences.  

Medical communications are another field that came under public scrutiny to a greater degree during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it is a future public health crisis or ongoing management of endemic issues like flu, vaccinations, or heart disease, medical writers can help communicate critical health information with the public. Medical writers may be involved in:  

  • Creating educational materials 
  • Writing regulatory documents 
  • Developing marketing and promotional content for healthcare professionals 
  • Designing healthcare content for websites, blogs, and newsletters 
  • Editing and reviewing medical documents written by other professionals, researchers, or physician 
  • Collaborating with subject matter experts, researchers, and healthcare professionals to communicate complex medical concepts effectively 

Medical writers need a strong foundation in science, medicine, or a related field, along with excellent writing skills and the ability to convey complex information in a clear and concise manner. They often collaborate with multidisciplinary teams, which requires a deep understanding of scientific terminology and research methodologies to effectively communicate technical information to diverse audiences.  

researcher wearing a white lab coat using a microscope

Research and Clinical Trials 

Research and clinical trials jobs encompass a wide range of roles involved in conducting research studies to advance medical knowledge, develop new treatments, and evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications, therapies, and medical devices. Health science degree graduates may choose to start a career as a coordinator for these types of studies, or they may go on to pursue a graduate education that could support a career as a clinical research scientist, biostatistician, or principal investigator. Research and clinical trials are an essential part of the healthcare system, and this career can be a good fit for anyone who loves hands-on research.  

This is not an exhaustive list of the different careers available to students who pursue a health sciences degree. If you want to learn more about earning a health sciences degree, Russell Sage College offers public health education that New York students can use as a solid foundation for a variety of careers in healthcare. Contact Sage for more information or to apply.