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Best Online Degrees in: Health Sciences

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Health Sciences

Value
Arizona State University is ranked No. 275 on PayScale.com‘s list of the best colleges for value. It has a return on investment (ROI) for in-state students of 8.2% without financial aid, and 10.1% with financial aid. Out-of-state students can expect an ROI of 6.7% without financial aid and 7.7% with financial aid. In addition, U.S. News & World Report ranks Arizona State University as No. 8 out of the best up-and-coming universities. It is therefore our winner of the best online health science bachelor’s degree for value.

Flexibility
Kaplan University is the winner of the best online heath science bachelor’s degree for flexibility, due to its numerous online course options. It is also ranked as having A+ flexibility by student reviews on College Prowler. Kaplan University prides itself on being a flexible higher education institution for students that have careers and other obligations. In fact, all of the school’s classes are asynchronous, meaning that students can take their online courses any time and from anywhere with an Internet connection, as long as they turn in their assignments by deadline.

Career Support
Kaplan University has an A- ranking for career services on College Prowler, due to the extensive services it provides to students and alumni. Students can access help with writing resumes, career counseling, and networking opportunities. In addition, Kaplan University has online career fairs for its online students. It is therefore the winner of best career support.

Financial Support
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 99% of South University first-time, full-time students receive some form of financial aid. In addition, 83% of all undergraduates receive a scholarship or grant. Due to South University’s commitment to providing students with tuition assistance, it is our winner of best financial support.

Technology Support
South University is ranked No. 12 for best technology support by student reviews on College Prowler. South University students can contact tech support seven days a week, from morning until midnight. Because South University provides long hours during which online students can access assistance with technology, it is our winner for best technology support.

Student Engagement
The American Public University System is the winner of the best online health science bachelor’s degree for student engagement, as it is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best schools for student engagement and assessment. At the American Public University System, instructors track student sign-ins and hold weekly office hours, which encourages students to be active participants in their classes.

Disability Support
The University of Missouri provides students with extensive disability services, which are outlined on its easily accessible website. Students can access information about services and policies, register with disability services online, and download forms. In addition, the website provides news, resources, contact information, and a Facebook page. It is therefore our winner of the best online health science bachelor’s degree for disability support.

Library and Research Support
Arizona State University‘s library website allows online students to access journals, catalogs, and research guides. There are librarians assigned to different disciplines, who can be contacted through chat, email, and phone. Students also have access to tutorials, which help them with researching assignments and citing sources. For on-the-go access, the library also has a mobile page so students can access it through their smartphones or tablets. Arizona State University is therefore our winner of best library and research support.

Learning Support
The best online health science bachelor’s degree for learning support belongs to Arizona State University, which is ranked No. 1 for student services and technology by U.S. News & World Report. Arizona State University provides online students with advising, live tutoring, live streaming video, and a smart phone app for on-the-go access to services. It also offers career placement assistance to ease the transition from the classroom to careers.

Faculty Credentials
The American Public University System is ranked No. 31 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best online schools for faculty credentials and training. At the American Public University System, online instructors are required to receive training in online teaching, which the university finances. In addition, 53% of American Public University System instructors have been teaching online for two or more years. It is therefore the winner of best faculty credentials.

Faculty Accessibility
The best online health science bachelor’s degree for faculty accessibility goes to the American Public University System, which is No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best online schools for student engagement and assessment. According to the rankings, American Public University System instructors hold five office hours every week and respond to student emails within 48 hours. They also track student sign-ins to their classes. By being so involved, the American Public University System instructors ensure that they are easily accessible for help with online learning.

Alumni Engagement
The University of Minnesota is the winner of best alumni engagement, because its alumni website is easy to access, and provides extensive options to keep students as active members of the university community even after they graduate. University of Minnesota alumni have access to events, groups, programs, polls, and networking opportunities. There are also resources and publications, which can be found here.

Prior Learning Options
Nova Southeastern University has multiple options for students to acquire college credit, and is therefore the winner of the best online health science bachelor’s degree for prior learning. According to the school website, students can get credit for exams, like Advance Placement and CLEP exams, life experience credit, and credit for military training.

New Online Student Orientation
Arizona State University provides online students with orientation videos, which helps students learn about services, registering for classes, and participating in online classes. It is geared toward learners who cannot attend orientation on the physical campus. Arizona State University is therefore our winner of the best online health science bachelor’s degree for new online student orientation.

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences

A bachelor's degree in health sciences will provide a solid foundation in the health field, including the physical and life sciences, medical ethics, and basic patient care. Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in this area are prepared for entry-level employment opportunities in the health care industry, in which employment rates have been on the rise for decades. While the curriculum will vary by program, most health sciences programs will prepare students to diagnose and treat basic medical problems, understand insurance and other financial issues that apply to the health care industry, and learn the laws that apply to medical professionals. Health sciences programs generally require students to complete 180 hours; however, the specifications will vary by program; part-time and online programs allow for flexibility that may increase or decrease the amount of time required to fulfill degree requirements.

Class Curriculum

The health sciences major incorporates a vast field, so students will take classes in the natural and social sciences, mathematics, anatomy, medical ethics, medical record keeping, and more. Students may also have the option of selecting concentrations in specific areas such as environmental health or health care administration. The following classes are part of a standard health sciences program:

  • Anatomy and Physiology. This course will offer an integrated study of the human body. Students will understand the nature of the systems of the body, as well as concepts such as homeostasis and the relationship between structure and function. The class covers the study of cells, cellular metabolism, and tissue composition and functions.
  • Research Methods for Health Sciences. Students will explore research methodologies, including statistical analyses and study designs used in health sciences. Students will learn how to identify and discuss current trends in health-related research, covering topics such as nutrition, health psychology, exercise science, and complementary and alternative medicine.
  • Epidemiology. This course provides an introduction to the principles of epidemiology and its role in the prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Students will also learn about the methods of population-based epidemiologic research and discuss the importance of these studies related to effective public health strategies.

Evaluation methods include online discussions and examinations. An internship at a health care facility is a required component of most programs, and some may also require students to complete a capstone project that demonstrates their ability to apply health science knowledge and skills to real-world situations.

Building a Career

With a bachelor's degree in health sciences, graduates may pursue careers in a variety of health care professions, including nursing, medical assisting, medical record keeping, and more. They may work at doctors' offices, hospitals, nursing care facilities, health insurance companies, and state and government-run health care programs. Some graduates may pursue careers in the administrative sector of health care, and still others may pursue graduate study in a specific health-related field. Individuals should note that some careers, such as nursing, may require additional certification.

Since health sciences majors may pursue a range of careers, salary levels can vary widely. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage of registered nurses was $64,690 in May 2010, while for medical and health services managers, it was $84,270. Note that earnings can vary significantly based not only on the career one selects, but on the individual's level of education and experience as well.

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