With a degree in health sciences, you have a wide range of exciting clinical and nonclinical careers and work settings to choose from. By taking the time to research health science and its job positions, you can determine the best career path. In this article, we define health science and provide a list of twenty careers within health science, their national average salaries and job responsibilities.
What is Health Science?
Health science is a sector of the healthcare industry that encompasses multiple areas of disciplines. It uses fields such as science, technology, engineering and communication to aid in the health and well-being of human beings and animals. Due to its diverse makeup, health science jobs can span across public, administrative, and clinical settings.
Related: 12 Healthcare Jobs That Pay Well
Where are health science professionals employed?
Health science professionals can be employed in a number of environments. The most common include:
- Medical laboratories
- Federal government agencies
- Private agencies
- Insurance companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Consultant firms
- Manufacturing companies
- Nonprofit organizations
- Out-patient care facilities
- Physicians' offices
Job outlook for health science careers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for all healthcare-related professions is expected to increase 14% by 2028. This projection does not include those who will retire from the industry within the next ten years.
Health Science Jobs
The following list reviews 20 diverse job positions found in health science, their job responsibilities and average salary expectations. These careers will be distinguished as either clinical or nonclinical. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link by each job title below:
A career in the health sciences does not necessarily have to function in a hands-on capacity or directly fill the assumption that a career in health means tending to the sick. There are plenty of career paths related to administration, education and laboratory work.
National average salary: $16.04 per hour
Primary duties: A health educator can work as a part of a hospital, school or nursing facility, teaching the public about the importance of hygiene and how to prevent spreading illnesses from themselves to others.
A health educator should have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in health education or public health. To advance in their field, some health educators earn their master's or doctorate in a specialized area of health education.
National average salary: $56,078 per year
Primary duties: A biomedical equipment technician is responsible for diagnosing problems with medical equipment within hospital settings, and fixing them so that medical professionals can continue using them to treat patients. This position requires an in-depth knowledge of specific medical equipment and its functions.
This career requires one to have a minimum of an associate degree in engineering or biomedical technology, however, depending on the complexity of the equipment, one might be able to get a job with a high school-level diploma. To advance your career or salary prospects, consider getting a bachelor's degree in biomedical technology.
National average salary: $67,030 per year
Primary duties: A public health nurse works at the community level, employed in government agencies and nonprofit organizations to implement education initiatives among the local population. The goal of a public health nurse is to use programs to aid in the prevention of diseases or illnesses.
A public health nurse should have a minimum of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) and should pass the NCLEX-RN licensure exam to become a registered nurse. During their bachelor's degree program, they can take courses related specifically to public health. They can also achieve career advancement by pursuing a public health degree at the master's or doctorate level.
National average salary: $70,469 per year
Primary duties: A health services administrator is responsible for overseeing the functionality of hospitals, clinics or medical offices. They might also be in charge of a specific department within larger facilities. They might be required to hire, train and manage staff, enforce new treatment methods, examine areas where costs could be reduced or communicate directly with patients.
Health services administrators should have a minimum of a master's degree in public health, business administration or health care administration.
National average salary: $85,011 per year
Primary duties: Epidemiologists work within the public health sector of health science. They are responsible for determining why diseases spread, how they spread and where they will spread next. This job requires collaborating with other public health professionals to conduct tests and teaching the public about prevention methods.
An epidemiologist should have a minimum of a master's degree in public health, but a doctorate in public health or disease prevention is highly commendable to succeed within this profession.
Clinincal careers in the health sciences are typically those directly dealing with patients in hospitals, clinics and offices, but also pharmacies, ambulatory care and otherwise out in the field directly helping field. These can be careers that are demanding but quite rewarding.
National average salary: $20.18 per hour
Primary duties: A paramedic is usually employed as part of an emergency services unit. They are responsible for completing quick onsite assessments of patients, applying in-depth life-saving methods, keeping patients and bystanders calm and immobilizing patients for transport to the hospital. This health care profession requires someone to be calm under pressure.
A paramedic should have a minimum of a nondegree certification earned as part of a training program or an Associate Degree in Emergency Medical Technology. Career advancement can be achieved through experience level and certifications.
National average salary: $27.83 per hour
Primary duties: An anesthesia technician works alongside anesthesiologists in hospital settings. They clean and organize anesthesia equipment pre-surgery and assist in patient monitoring during surgery.
This career requires a minimum of a high school diploma paired with a year-long training program, however, anesthesia technicians can also pursue an Associate Degree in Anesthesia Technology.
National average salary: $33.93 per hour
Primary duties: A registered nurse assists physicians and other medical professionals in the treatment of patients. They are responsible for communicating between patients, their families and physicians, as well as administering IVs and medications prescribed by physicians.
To enter this profession, you need a minimum of an associate degree in dursing (ADN), or a diploma from an accredited nursing program along with passing the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain an RN license. To stand out among other applicants, consider getting a Bachelor's Degree of Science in Nursing (BSN).
National average salary: $38.36 per hour
Primary duties: A dental hygienist works in a dental office alongside a fully-licensed dentist. They perform routine teeth cleanings for patients, take x-rays and help dentists with more advanced dental procedures. This career requires a minimum education of an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene.
National average salary: $1,149 per week
Primary duties: A surgical technician works alongside a surgical team in a hospital setting. They prepare the operating theater, clean and organize surgical tools and assist surgeons during procedures. They might also be responsible for cleaning the operating theater after surgery.
A surgical technician should have a minimum of an associate degree or diploma program for surgery technicians along with earning certification as a surgical technologist (CST).
National average salary: $1,333 per year
Primary duties: A respiratory therapist works in hospitals, sleep clinics and long-term care facilities, diagnosing and treating patients with breathing disorders, such as asthma. They work with patients on breathing techniques and prescribe medications and inhalers to patients. This career requires a minimum of an Associate Degree in Respiratory Therapy and a certification as a certified respiratory therapist (CRT).
National average salary: $1,637 per week
Primary duties: A radiation therapist works in hospitals as part of the oncology team. They treat cancer patients by operating radiation equipment as a part of a patient's radiation therapy. They are also responsible for communicating with patients about possible treatment methods, recording the types of radiation therapy that were administered to a patient and monitoring a patient for any abnormal symptoms post-treatment.
A radiation therapist should have a minimum of an Associate Degree in Radiation Therapy and is recommended to go on to complete a bachelor's degree. A radiation therapist must take and pass a licensure exam before applying for jobs.
National average salary: $52,534 per year
Primary duties: A nutritionist can work in many different settings including hospitals, care facilities, clinics, schools and organizations. They assess a patient's dietary needs or restrictions and help them create an eating plan that will give them the nutrients they need. Nutritionists might also be responsible for creating educational presentations to present at schools and other facilities.
A nutritionist should have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nutrition. Some advanced nutritionist positions may require a master's degree in nutrition or a related area.
National average salary: $64,063 per year
Primary Duties: A clinical dietitian works in hospital and care facility settings. They assess patients and review their illnesses or disorders such as diabetes and heart disease. They then implement a structured diet plan to help maintain and improve their patients' health.
A clinical dietitian should have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in Dietetics or Nutrition along with state licensure to practice at the clinical level.
National average salary: $65,251 per year
Primary duties: A chiropractor works in clinical and private practices. They consult with patients regarding their back and joint pain. Chiropractors use their in-depth knowledge of anatomy to help realign a patient's bones and joints for optimal functioning.
This career requires a minimum of a doctor of chiropractic degree (D.C.) from an accredited chiropractor school. This is after obtaining degrees at the bachelor's and master's degree levels.
National average salary: $75,319 per year
Primary duties: A speech pathologist works in clinical settings or private practices, diagnosing speech and swallowing disorders in children and adults. They use techniques and treatment methods to help patients improve their spoken communication methods.
A speech pathologist should have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in Speech Therapy, although, for more advanced positions, a Master's Degree in Speech Therapy can be beneficial.
National average salary: $81,507 per year
Primary duties: An audiologist specializes in detecting and treating patients with hearing problems. This role requires an audiologist to operate equipment that can help determine a patient's hearing abilities, administer hearing aids and instruct patients on effective communication, including sign language. This career requires a minimum education of a doctorate in audiology (AudD).
18. Staff pharmacist
National average salary: $107,161 per year
Primary duties: Staff pharmacists work in pharmacies and have a wide variety of job responsibilities. They are responsible for coordinating between doctors' offices and pharmaceutical companies to order prescriptions. They are also responsible for communicating with customers, organizing inventory and administering basic health measures such as administering flu shots and taking blood pressure.
A staff pharmacist should have at least an associate degree, but it is recommended that those pursuing this career achieve a bachelor's degree in an area such as physics or chemistry before applying for a pharmacy school program.
National average salary: $197,648 per year
Primary duties: Dentists are responsible for diagnosing issues with a patient's teeth and gums. They are also responsible for conducting routine procedures such as filling cavities, pulling teeth and performing root canals on patients to improve their dental health.
A dentist should have a doctorate in dentistry, dental surgery or dental medicine.
National average salary: $200,867 per year
Primary duties: A physician can specialize in a specific area or obtain a generalized area of expertise. Physicians work as a part of doctors' offices or in their own practice. They diagnose and treat patients for various injuries, illnesses or health conditions. They are responsible for prescribing medicine to patients and coordinating with nurses to administer on-site remedies.
This career requires one to complete a bachelor's degree in an area of human science before entering medical school. After medical school, they might be in the residency stage for three to five years before earning their full credentials.