The healthcare industry continues to grow, due in part to a rapidly aging population and increasing access to medical services, which is why more jobs are becoming available to graduates with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. Of course, standard positions such as doctors and nurses will always be available, but healthcare facilities and hospitals are often in need of other employees to provide support services to patients. Despite being “behind the scenes,” these health science careers serve an important role in providing high-quality care. The following are several opportunities to consider if you’re seeking a career in the healthcare industry.
Community Health Organizer
Community health programs give neighborhoods the opportunity to work together to improve quality of life and implement healthy habits. Examples of community health programs include an eye exam drive or a service that provides no-charge cancer screenings. These programs are critical for every community, particularly those that may not otherwise have access to health services. The community health organizer will need a strong background in healthy habits and will be comfortable working with communities that may not necessarily be educated in the importance of healthy living skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary for community health workers in 2015 was $43,840 per year, and the career is expected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024.
A health educator understands the importance of developing healthy habits, and he or she is responsible for working with children of all ages to teach them about these habits and general human health. This may include everything from complex, in-depth lessons on the human body to why it’s important to brush your teeth. The health educator provides these services to help students gain an early, fundamental understanding about how to live a healthy life in hopes of preventing diseases and other preventable health conditions. The BLS indicates that the annual median salary for health educators in 2015 was $56,690 per year. The job outlook from 2014 to 2024 is expected to grow 13 percent, grow faster than the average for all occupations.
It’s important for patients in difficult or complicated medical situations to understand every option that may be available, especially those facing serious surgeries and/or diseases. Patient educators are responsible for working with patients to inform them of the treatments, medications and other healthcare options available. They must break down often complex terms so that the average patient can best understand the situation, laying out benefits and costs for the patient and his or her family. In addition, patient educators must be aware of the consequences of each option and dutifully inform the patient of these possible outcomes. Patient educators may also help a patient and his or her family to navigate the sometimes confusion relationship between medical care and insurance. According to the BLS, salaries for patient educators range from $30,250 to more than $92,950 per year with an average salary hovering around $43,000 annually.
Although the above positions require a baccalaureate degree in health science, some employers may prefer candidates to complete graduate school for employment. Students seeking a career in the field may also consider furthering their education beyond a bachelor’s degree in health sciences in order to gain more diverse opportunities for jobs, be considered for higher positions or to earn a higher salary.