Health science is a broad multidisciplinary field that offers a good base for graduate education. It combines a number of different aspects of health, disease and health care, such as the bio-medical, organizational, psychosocial and societal. Here are five possible options for graduate education once you've attained your degree in health science.
Health Sciences to Medicine
Medicine probably offers the widest scope for advanced education after you attain your degree. You have the option to become a doctor of medicine, a doctor of osteopathy, a chiropractor or a veterinarian. As a physician you have the option to specialize in internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, radiology, pathology, or primary care, as well as one of numerous sub-specialties such as cardiac and vascular surgery, gastroenterology or psychiatry. In related fields, you might consider becoming a pharmacist or pharmacologist, a physical therapist or an occupational therapist. All of these careers require a minimum of a master's degree and several require a doctorate.
Health Sciences to Informatics
Informatics is the study and practice of information science – specifically the creation, storage, recovery, manipulation and sharing of data. In health care, that translates into ways to obtain, store, protect and use patient information for individual care or in the aggregate, to improve the public's health or inform research. Within the field, informaticists may work with medical documentation or nursing documentation, design and modify software, teach users or create tools to extract data to be used in quality improvement or for research. Although many health care informaticists have a clinical background such as nursing or medicine, it is not necessarily required.
Health Sciences to Public Health
Health science offers an excellent base for an advanced degree in public health. Many health problems are the result of lifestyle issues or environmental problems. Public health experts deal with such issues as community-acquired infections, general safety, immunization, water and air quality. Within this field there are career possibilities in epidemiology, disaster management, patient and community education, environmental management and administration. Graduates in this field may work directly for public health departments at the local, state and federal level, as consultants with firms or as independent practitioners, or work with large multi-hospital health systems.
Health Sciences to Administration
The broad focus of a health science degree provides a good starting point for an advanced degree in health care administration. Administrators are needed in health care delivery systems to manage facilities such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and emergency services operations. Other possible options for a health care administration include the field of health education in technical-vocational schools, colleges and universities. Administrators are also needed in government health care systems such as the Veteran's Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the military. Insurance companies, whether private payers or government-funded organizations like Medicare and Medicaid, are also in need of administrators.
Health Sciences to Research
Graduate education is typically required for research in the medical and health care fields. For that matter, a PhD is necessary for independent research in most cases. Research offers a wide range of possibilities. For example, pharmaceutical research is a huge field. Biotechnology is another – research in this area includes such divergent possibilities as nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, artificial limbs and genetic engineering. Research is also taking place in other fields such as veterinary medicine, dental medicine and agriculture.
A health science degree is a good springboard to graduate education. There are other graduate education paths besides those listed here. In fact, your primary problem may be making a choice among the diverse options offered to you.