You may already know that qualified healthcare professionals are in high demand. With a health sciences degree, you can take advantage of the robust growth in other areas of the healthcare field. The types of medical sciences degree jobs you might pursue include those that involve direct patient care as well as jobs that provide a supporting role in healthcare.
Which Medical Sciences Degree Job Is Right for Me?
Medical science is a dynamic field that offers many opportunities for stable employment. It’s a particularly ideal field for lifelong learners since technologies are continually being developed and improved. If you’re passionate about medical science, you may find it difficult to narrow down your job possibilities.
It can be helpful to think about your personal characteristics and skills. For instance, are you great with people? Do you love technology? Do you have a knack for numbers? Regardless of your particular strengths, there are many opportunities in this field that you could prepare for with a medical sciences degree.
One of the many medical science jobs you might consider is that of respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists work directly with patients who have lung dysfunctions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis or pneumonia. Respiratory therapists may even work with premature infants who have lungs that are not fully developed.
The main goal of a respiratory therapist is to help patients breathe better. Typical job responsibilities in this medical science career can include:
- Conducting thorough patient evaluations, including diagnostic tests that assess lung capacity
- Performing chest physiotherapy, which is a manual therapy technique that aids in the removal of mucus from the lungs
- Connecting patients who have trouble breathing on their own to ventilation equipment (you may need to travel to patients' homes to teach them and their families how to use ventilation equipment)
- Providing smoking cessation counseling
It’s a great time to consider becoming a respiratory therapist. Unlike many healthcare occupations, an advanced degree and extensive training aren’t needed to work as a respiratory therapist. An undergraduate degree in medical sciences and state licensure may be sufficient. The licensure requirements vary from one state to the next so make sure to check your state’s requirements.
Radiologic and MRI Technologist
Another exciting opportunity in medical science involves specializing in diagnostic equipment. If you have a keen eye for details, can readily learn how to operate new technologies and have reliable math skills, consider pursuing a career as a radiologic or MRI technologist. These professionals create medical images that allow doctors and nurses to diagnose patients and evaluate their conditions.
Some of the specific responsibilities of these professionals include the following:
- Calibrating and maintaining the imaging equipment
- Reviewing physician orders regarding medical imaging
- Preparing patients for the medical imaging procedures, such as by positioning them properly on the table
- Operating the medical imaging equipment and ensuring the clarity of the images
- Maintaining patient records
For some types of medical images, the technologist must inject patients with contrast media, similar to a dye. It allows certain bodily structures to show up more clearly on the medical images.
Radiologic and MRI technologists play a critical role in the healthcare field. A medical sciences degree will prepare you to pursue a career as a radiologic or MRI technologist. Note that most radiologic technologists are required to hold a certification or license by the state.
Few states require MRI technologists to hold certification or licensure, although employers may still require it. Additionally, it’s also preferred that MRI technologists have a few years of relevant work experience.
Are you curious about a career in nursing but not interested in taking the licensure exam? Perhaps a career as a medical assistant would be right for you. Most medical assistants work in physicians’ offices, but some of them work in hospitals, outpatient care centers and even chiropractic offices.
The role of a medical assistant is a hybrid one, as these professionals perform both administrative and clinical tasks.
Administrative tasks a medical assistant may do in their job include:
- Connecting patients to other resources, like specialists' offices
- Responding to patients' questions
- Scheduling appointments
- Facilitating communication between patients and health providers
A medical assistant’s clinical tasks may include the following:
- Showing patients into exam rooms and recording their medical history
- Taking vital signs, such as blood pressure, and recording the information
- Assisting physicians with patient exams
- Preparing samples to be sent to a laboratory for testing
- Administering medications and injections under the supervision of a physician (only when permitted by state law)
It is of critical importance for medical assistants to adhere to all professional ethical codes. These professionals have access to sensitive medical and personal information since many use electronic health records (EHRs).
Furthermore, there are few credentials required to become a medical assistant. A bachelor’s medical sciences degree may be needed for a person to pursue this career. In addition, a period of on-the-job training is common.
Many things can be learned about a patient’s health by analyzing their blood samples. Phlebotomists specialize in drawing blood to be sent to the lab for analysis, used for patients in need of blood transfusions. Most phlebotomists work in hospitals, labs and physicians’ offices, although some also work in outpatient care centers.
The typical job duties of a phlebotomist include the following:
- Drawing blood from veins (usually) or capillaries (less common)
- Labeling the blood sample, verifying the patient’s information to ensure accurate labeling
- Maintaining patient records in the computer system
- Maintaining medical instruments and keeping work areas sanitized
Some patients have a fear of needles or are otherwise a bit nervous about having their blood drawn. Because of this, it’s helpful for phlebotomists to have good interpersonal and communication skills. It’s often necessary to talk with patients about the procedure and help them feel at ease.
To pursue a career as a phlebotomist, it can be helpful to earn a professional certification after earning your undergraduate medical sciences degree.
Medical Science Writer
Not all medical sciences degree jobs involve caring for patients. If you are passionate about both medical science and writing, you might consider becoming a medical science writer, or medical writer. Medical writing is a type of technical writing job that specifically focuses on medical and healthcare documents.
Medical writers can produce a wide variety of documentation, including the following:
- Medical journal abstracts and scientific articles
- Healthcare policy documents
- Continuing medical education materials for healthcare professionals
- Regulatory documents, such as device or drug submissions to the FDA
- Patient health decision guides and presentation materials for medical conferences
- Drug or medical device white papers
The work of medical writers plays an invaluable role in getting new treatments approved by the FDA, educating patients about their health, and training the current and next generations of healthcare providers. Medical writers may work for a variety of employers, ranging from biotech and pharmaceutical companies to medical device manufacturers to medical schools. Earning an undergraduate medical sciences degree may be sufficient to land an entry-level role. However, you should plan on furthering your education with a master’s degree or PhD.
Medical Sales Representative
The job of a medical sales representative is a specialized marketing role that involves selling medical products and equipment to hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, surgical centers and individual practices. They are typically assigned to a particular territory, within which they will travel to various healthcare organizations.
The ultimate goal of a medical sales representative is to sell their company’s medical products, equipment or services. In order to accomplish this, sales reps need to be knowledgeable about the products they sell and how those products can solve problems. Sales reps who have general medical science knowledge can be quite beneficial.
Some of the specific tasks of a medical sales representative may include the following:
- Liaising with potential new customers, setting up meetings and sending out product proposals with price quotes
- Conducting presentations for physicians and other healthcare providers that explain the benefits of the company’s medical products
- Reaching or exceeding sales targets
- Maintaining good relations with existing customers, checking up on them frequently
- Staying on top of the latest clinical data regarding product performance
As you might expect, medical sales representatives need to be highly personable individuals with excellent communication skills and a strong knowledge of the problems their products can solve for customers.
What to Expect From Your Medical Sciences Degree
As you can see, there are plenty of medical sciences degree jobs out there to choose from. Regardless of what you plan to do with your degree, the curriculum could provide you with strong foundational knowledge in healthcare. Some of the specific topics you may study could include the following:
- Ethical and legal responsibilities, with a look at federal, state and local healthcare regulations
- Factors that influence the healthcare delivery system and what the future holds
- Cultural awareness and interpersonal competencies when providing transcultural healthcare
- Statistics and their application in healthcare settings
- Current trends in healthcare, including healthcare policies and environmental issues
You can begin working toward a rewarding career in the medical science field when enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree at Grand Canyon University. To learn more about earning your medical sciences degree at GCU, click on Request Info at the top of your screen.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.