The field of health science is quite varied, covering topics such as healthcare and health in general. If you want to complete a Masters in Health Science (MHS) degree, therefore, you will have a lot of employment opportunities available to you. The degree is incredibly broad, which means you could find work in a variety of sectors and positions. That said, pursuing such a degree also requires a significant investment of both time and money on your part, and it is likely that you will want to see a good return on that investment. So how do you get the best masters in health science salary?
What Is Health Science?
The field of health science is an umbrella field that covers a wealth of disciplines, all of which relate in some way to how healthcare is delivered to humans and animals alike. It takes a scientific approach, which means it focuses on technology, math, and engineering. Essentially, with an MHS degree, you will be able to take knowledge from scientific sources and then apply this to clinical and practical applications. The overall goal is to make sure that health outcomes for all living beings are improved.
Because health science is so broad, it also has many different branches. These include conventional and traditional Western medicine, folk medicine, and alternative medicine. In fact, some people now even focus on spiritual medicine.
Get the Right Degree
The first and most important factor influencing your salary once you graduate is your degree itself. In order to earn a good salary, you must have completed an accredited degree, preferably through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). If a program is accredited, it is accepted across the country, as it proves that it meets, and usually exceeds, the minimum standards of knowledge and skills required for the field.
Get the Most Out of Your Degree
While you are studying towards your MHS degree, there are a number of things that you can already do in order to maximize your employment opportunities. The more you set yourself apart as an excellent candidate, the more likely it will be that you will also earn a significant salary. Some of the things you should do as a student include:
• Joining professional organizations and student clubs. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to network with those within the industry. Often, professional organizations also directly sponsor sororities and fraternities, as well as student chapters. It is important that you have at least an idea of what you would like to do with your degree, so that you choose a professional organization and student club that align themselves with your personal career goals.
• Take part in internships and research opportunities. This is a chance for you to practically develop your skills, while at the same time build a network of professionals around you. Again, make sure that you gain work experience in areas that you are personally interested in.
• Become licensed and certified in applicable areas. You need to know what your state’s regulations are for you particular field of interest. In some states, for instance, a license is required for being a laboratory technician, whereas other states do not require licensure for this at all. Nevertheless, even if your state does not mandate licenses or certifications, you could still opt to complete additional training to improve your personal resume.
Choosing the Right Job
The key to making sure you earn a good salary is to choose the right job. Because the field is so broad, however, it would be impossible to list all the different jobs that exist. Nevertheless, to better define the field of health science, it has been subdivided into five key areas:
1. Biotechnology research and development
2. Health informatics
3. Support services
4. Therapeutic services
5. Diagnostic services
These five key areas encompass large healthcare organizations, public and community agencies, biotech companies, the pharmaceutical industry, private research centers, government agencies, laboratories, dental offices, hospitals, and much more.
Although the field is incredibly broad and varied, it seems that those who graduate from an MHS degree take preference for one of three careers. These are:
1. Environmental health scientist, in which role you will ensure that environmental regulations are properly developed and adhered to. You will conduct research to identify current and upcoming threats, and develop intervention methods to combat hazards and risks to the environment. You can choose to specialize and become certified in areas, such as pesticide management, water pollution, or food protection. As an environmental health scientist, you are most likely to work for national or local agencies, or for nonprofit organizations.
If this is a field that interests you, then do make sure that you choose the right elective courses during your MHS program. Some of the courses you may want to consider include:
◦ Industrial hygiene
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that environmental scientists and specialists earn an average annual salary of $73,930, and that a growth of 11% is expected from 2014 to 2024.
2. Biostatistician, in which role you will collect and interpret statistical figures in relation to health issues. A strong focus is on determining what the correlation is between healthcare quality and certain health conditions. Common employers include the federal government, universities, state health departments, pharmaceutical companies, and research and development departments.
If this field is of interest to you, some of the elective courses you may want to consider during your degree program include:
◦ Health research
◦ Statistical computing
◦ Qualitative social research methods
According to the BLS, statisticians earned an average annual salary of $84,440 in May 2015. However, those who worked within the healthcare industry, and particularly medical equipment manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry, earned an average of $94,470. The BLS has also projected a growth of 34% in demand from 2014 to 2024.
3. Health administrator, in which role you will manage a community care facility, insurance carrier, medical office, nursing care facility, or private hospital. You will usually head a team of managers who lead different departments. Your role will be to integrate technological innovations, complex regulations, and healthcare delivery systems.
It is very important that you choose the right elective courses if you want to become a health administrator with an MHS degree. This is because many employers now look for people who have a healthcare administration degree instead, preferably the MBA with a healthcare administration concentration. However, positions are available to you so long as you included courses such as:
◦ Applied statistical methods
◦ Health policy
◦ Healthcare administration
◦ Healthcare systems organization
◦ Management and leadership skills
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for a healthcare administrator was $106,070 as of May 2015. Those employed in hospitals earned the most, at $114,180 per year. They also predict job growth of 17% from 2014 to 2024.
As you can see, completing a masters in health science can open a lot of career doors for you. A range of other factors are of importance in terms of what your salary will be, include who you work for, your geographical location, and how much experience you have. If you are interested in the healthcare industry, but you are not interested in performing clinical work, then the masters in health science may just be the degree for you.
Jacquelyn Smith. The Best And Worst Master’s Degrees For Jobs. (2012, Jun. 8) Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/06/08/the-best-and-worst-masters-degrees-for-jobs-2/#2165739325d2
Accredited Schools & Programs. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://ceph.org/accredited/
Occupational Outlook Handbook – Environmental Scientists and Specialists. (2015, Dec. 17) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm
Occupational Outlook Handbook – Medical and Health Services Managers. (2015, Dec. 17) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm