Health Sciences CurriculumInformation compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated November 2010
Studying in the field
Life and work experiences tend to be among the main influencing factors when people choose to go into a graduate-level health science program. Such experiences might involve time spent caring for a sick loved one, or working as a dental hygienist or physician assistant.
No matter where the idea came from, a graduate degree in the health science field will cement your career in the medical profession or in clinical research. People come from many different backgrounds as diverse as nursing and dentistry. Not all people know what they want to specialize in before attending a graduate-level institution, so your foremost concern should be picking the initial path that most fits your desires and drive.
Some of the possible directions in the field are:
- Public Health
- Peer Health Counselor Training
- Community Health Sciences
- Nutrition and Health
- Health, Disease, and Health Services
- Cancer Control
- Health Promotion
- Interventions for At-Risk Populations
- Global Health Problems
- Program Planning
It is true that the more popular route is to just attend medical or dental school as opposed to also pursuing an additional academic graduate degree in health sciences. However, this additional degree can be used in several different ways. Almost all programs involving earning a Masters or PhD in this area will involve clinical and classroom work. Some may choose this option to gain additional certifications. You may also find other areas of interest which you hadn't been exposed to due to the intensive yet diverse curriculum involved when you are taking classes and working directly in the field at the same time.
Once you have chosen a direction, the next step is the school. You will have countless programs, some quite established and some that have just sprouted. The most important part about choosing an institution is finding one that is in your area of interest and fits your needs and capabilities.
Job opportunities in the field
A graduate degree in any of the health sciences is an impressive achievement. The health science field has countless different branches. Within those different branches, there are also innumerable specialties.
While it is true your program will dictate the main direction you go, professionals with master's and doctoral degrees can be found in but certainly not limited to any of the following positions:
- Dentistry (D.D.S)
- Medical Doctor (M.D)
- Information Technology
- Public Relations
Health science professionals tend to make rather comfortable livings. Of course, it all depends upon which specific aspect of the field you choose to focus on. In addition to the field, your plans in that field can affect compensation. Examples are the difference between private versus public practice or working in administration. Even the location in where you choose to live is important. Because of the wide variety of careers in the field, generalizations tend to be quite inaccurate.
For the most accurate outlook for the future of the field on which you choose to focus, you can visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics site: www.bls.gov.
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