What Experience is Beneficial Prior to a Master’s in Health Sciences?

If you're interested in earning a Master's in Health Sciences degree, you should first consider your prior work experience. This degree can complement your existing knowledge or help you tackle a weak spot in your resume. Plus, some schools require certain background experience for specific concentrations. Here's a break-down of how your previous jobs can influence your degree.

Resource: Top 10 Master's in Health Sciences Programs Online

Clinical Experience

Most of your fellow students will have a clinical background. They might be nurses, respiratory therapists or pharmacists. A degree in health sciences lets clinicians move into management or administrative roles. If you have a previous bachelor's degree in a clinical specialty, you'll feel right at home in this degree program. However, you should carefully evaluate your long-term goals. A health sciences degree teaches new clinical and management skills. This is the right path if you're wanting to split your time between patient care and supervisory duties. If you're looking for a more specialized role in your career, consider a more specialized degree. A master's program in your clinical specialty will offer more patient-care options, while a Master's in Health Administration (MHA) or Master's in Business Administration with a focus on health care (MBA) can open more doors in the executive wing. In rural or small-scale facilities, this rule of thumb may not hold true; a master's degree in anything can lead to a high-level clinical or supervisory role.

Laboratory Experience

If you have a bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry or another scientific field, you might have done some lab work. This can be helpful during your Master's in Health Sciences degree. Many graduates use their training to become high-level lab workers or supervisors. You might even transition into environmental health or testing, which can be a lucrative field. Even part-time experience in a professor's lab can be useful once you pair it with a graduate degree.

Management Experience

Because a graduate degree in health sciences is so flexible, it can be the right way for you to switch careers. Have you ever worked in management? That can translate into useful knowledge for your organizational leadership and health care administration classes. After all, scheduling retail workers isn't that different from ensuring a clinic has adequate staffing. While you can choose between several graduate degrees for clinical management, a degree in health sciences has one advantage: It gives you some level of clinical knowledge. This will help you build better relationships with your staff.

No Work Experience

You might have read through this guide on the types of jobs that can benefit you in a health sciences degree program and started panicking. What if you don't have any prior work history? Don't worry. You can thrive in your degree program even if you enter right after an undergraduate program. Try to find internships and hands-on training options during your graduate studies so you can boost your resume. After graduation, you can look for training programs designed for recent graduates with little experience. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has many options, including internships you can pursue during your studies.

No matter your background, you can successfully complete your graduate degree. Because the Master's in Health Sciences degree is so flexible, any type of work experience can be useful.

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