One of the hardest decisions when it comes to going to college is what major you are going to choose.
When students know that they are interested in the medical field but aren’t sure exactly what career they would like yet, they choose health sciences because of its vast opportunities for different careers.
It is a great major for the medical field because you are not closed off to just one or two specific jobs and it helps you take the classes you need to go to any sort of professional or medical school if you are interested.
Most students with a health science degree are interested in medical/professional school actually.
The other great thing about this major is that you can decide if you want to switch into a different major that has anything to do with science or the medical field, your classes will probably still transfer over into a new major just fine.
Overall, it is a great major to introduce you to the medical field and open up different paths and opportunities for you to take after you are done with your undergraduate courses.
What Careers are in Health Science?
The most popular careers after getting an undergraduate in health sciences are an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a physician assistant, and a doctor (attending medical school).
If you are interested in choosing one of these paths, you should attempt to figure it out as early on in your undergraduate career as possible. You can start by shadowing and talking to your advisors to see which route makes the most sense for you.
It is important also because each of these paths requires different courses that must be taken in undergrad to even apply. It is also important to realize that applying to any sort of professional school is going to cost money for each school you apply to.
You also have to have a certain amount of volunteer hours during undergrad to apply to each of these paths.
If you are interested in this path, during undergrad you will be “Pre-OT”.
Some of the prerequisite classes for occupational therapy include medical terminology, human development, anatomy, physiology, sociology, psychology, statistics, and kinesiology.
Normally the minimum GPA requirement is around a 2.8 – 3.2 and GRE score is around 290, but a 3.6- 4.0 and a 300- 315 is recommended to get into your top school.
You are also normally required to have a minimum of 40 volunteer hours but other students applying will have around 100, so it is best to aim higher so that you can stand you own against the competition.
It also looks good if you are involved on campus and in extracurriculars throughout college. A median salary for an occupational therapist is usually somewhere around $80,000 but it has a large range and a large growth after you are in the field.
There are 156 accredited occupational programs in the United States.
Best Schools for Occupational Therapy
Boston University was named number one in the nation for occupational therapy programs in 2017 by the US news and world report.
They offer undergraduate, graduate, and graduate research programs in occupational therapy. Most of the classes through this program will consist of around 30 students so it is a close-knit learning environment.
It is a 3-year intensive program. For this specific program, you have to apply by December 7th of your senior year at the latest. The non-binding early decision application deadline is September 15. Tuition is around $30,000 per semester
Washington University in St. Louis
Since 2016, Washington University has had a 100% passing rate on the NBCOT certification. They have many different types of programs depending on what career you would like to have after graduate school.
You can either get a master’s which is a two-and-a-half-year degree that will allow you to prepare to become a practitioner in any practice area. A master’s degree is required for entry into the profession of occupational therapy.
You can also get a doctorate which is a three-year program and will help you if you are interested in management, teaching, or clinical research. They also offer a 3-2 program which offers students to graduate in five and a half years with their bachelors and their masers.
This is an amazing program and opportunity because it saves you time and money and you are learning from great educators.
Each semester is usually around $16,400 and each fieldwork (two are required for this university) is about $8,000.
If you are interested in this path you will be “Pre-PT”. It is important nice again to figure this out as soon as you can so that you are prepared and have enough time to take all of the prerequisite courses to be able to apply to these programs.
Some examples of the prerequisite classes that are needed for physical therapy programs are anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, and physics. Each school and program may have different requirements and minimums when it comes to GPA, but the average GPA for students getting accepted into these programs is usually around 3.5.
You also want to be prepared to have references to turn in with your applications. You are also going to need a lot of volunteering hours. It is a good idea to start looking int other different schools you might apply to and what their requirements are so that you can best decide how many service and volunteer hours you may need.
Also, it is important to remember that most professional schools do a background check on you before accepting you. The median salary of a physical therapist is usually around $90,000.
Best School for Physical Therapy
University of Pittsburgh
The program for physical therapy at the University of Pittsburgh is one of the most highly ranked and oldest programs. You can get your master’s in physical therapy, your doctorate in physical therapy, or your Ph.D. in rehabilitation science.
The master’s program is a one-year program where you can choose a concentration in musculoskeletal physical therapy or neuromuscular physical therapy. The doctorate program in the number one rated DPT program in the U.S.
This program includes over 90 weeks of clinical internships. This program is a three-year program where your third year consists of a yearlong clinical internship.
This program also has a five-year employment rate of 100%. The Ph.D. in rehabilitation science is an interdisciplinary degree which means you choose another degree as well.
You can choose from paths like health management, occupation therapy, physical therapy, etc. If you wanted to get your Ph.D. in rehabilitation sciences and physical therapy you would simply have to complete 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree.
Tuition and fees per year are around $80,000 for in-state students and $100,0000 for out of state students.
University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is a 3-year clinical doctoral program. It is a small cohort and only accepts a select few number of people.
Students who do end up completing this program have the option to apply to the Ph.D. program in rehabilitation sciences as well. Students in this program work very closely with the professors and spend a lot of time on research projects and clinical research.
A common path for students in health sciences or any science programs in undergrad is to be a physician’s assistant. It is the next best thing to a doctor.
A physician’s assistant is a medical professional why has the power to diagnose illness, prescribe medicine, create a treatment, and serve as a healthcare provider.
Physicians assistants must have a master’s degree. There are over 230 programs for physician assistants at universities in the U.S. These programs are usually around three years. The starting salary is usually around $90,000 and the median salary id usually around $105,000.
Best Physician Assistant Schools
Duke’s program combines two of their great colleges; the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Duke University School of Medicine. Once again for these types.
Of programs, they are very competitive and there are a lot of things you need to do to apply. Double-check with each university that you are fulfilling their minimum number of volunteer hours and taking their prerequisite courses.
Students in this program will complete a total of 109 credit hours including 58 preclinical hours and 51 clinical hours. Tuition cost for the current clinical year PA who will be graduating in May 2020 is $41,844 divided into three equal installment
Careers Straight Out of Undergrad in Health Sciences
If you are not interested in the professional trach of graduate or medical school after graduation, there are some jobs that you will be able to obtain simply with your bachelor’s degree.
Some of the most popular is a cardiovascular technician, anesthesia technician, dental hygienist, occupational therapy or physical therapy assistant, and a surgical technician.
Best Universities for Health Science in Undergrad?
Northeastern University is in Boston, MA and is around a $30,000 net price. It has been rated the top school for healthcare administration degrees. It is a private university and a huge research school.
Princeton Review continuously ranks Northeastern University as one of the best schools for internships. The curriculum is focused on liberal arts, natural sciences, and social sciences. Seniors are also required to participate in a capstone project.
The University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign
This university is located in Illinois. This specific university is a flagship of the University of Illinois, it has a net price of around $17,000.
It is a public university and is actually home to the nation’s second-largest university library. Field experience is also something every student will have access to.
Another great school or health science majors are California State, Long Beach.
Remember that in the end, you are probably going to be going to graduate school so you will have an opportunity to go to school in another place and you are going to be spending more money either way.
This is important to think about when choosing undergraduate universities.
Become a Nurse with a Health Science Degree
Something that a lot of people do not know is that you do not have to go to undergrad as a nursing major to be a nurse. With any science degree, you can actually apply to get your master’s in nursing.
The great thing about this is that it is an accelerated two-year program with lots of clinical and it will put you a step ahead of your peers when you go to graduate because you will have your masters when they only have their bachelor’s more than likely.
Some of the best schools for a nursing master’s program are John Hopkins University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Emory University, and Columbia University. Most Nurses with masters have salaries of at least $90,000.
What Classes do you take as a Health Sciences Major?
If you are interested in going into the health sciences, you could first look into the best schools for your major and then the best schools for research.
Research can really add to your overall undergrad experience and help you tremendously when it comes to applying to professional schools and standing out among your peers.
The more experience that you can get the better. Volunteering and researching are your best options.
The curriculum of a health science major is going to include classes like biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, epidemiology, and general education courses that differ at every college or university.
Overall, a health sciences degree is a great degree that can lead to many different paths. Just make sure that you do your research so that you can take the many different paths one can offer you.
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