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Public Health Science Program

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Health science refers to a large group of disciplines related to the delivery of health care to humans and animals through the application of science, engineering, mathematics and technology. In other words, it is the field in which knowledge is taken from pure science and other related sources and applied to practical and clinical practices to maintain and improve the health of living beings. The branches of health science are virtually endless, spanning traditional and conventional Western medicine as well as alternative and folk medicine. Broadly defined, it can even include spiritual-based healing processes.

The day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of a person in a health science occupation vary significantly, but always require excellent communication skills and attention to detail. Below are some of the common duties and responsibilities for two popular health science occupations, one patient-oriented and one research-oriented.

Audiologist: Audiologists specialize in the prevention, identification, assessment and treatment of hearing impairment. Job duties of an audiologist may include:

  • Working directly with patients on vertigo and other balance and dizziness issues
  • Prescribing, fitting and dispensing hearing aids
  • Employing the use of audiometers, computers and other equipment to assess patients' hearing and balance
  • Counseling patients and others regarding methods of communication, such as sign language and lip reading
  • Maintaining medical and business records, ordering supplies and equipment, and performing other tasks related to running a business

Medical Laboratory Technician: Medical laboratory technicians typically work in hospitals, doctor's offices, private clinics and research laboratories, often under the direct supervision of a physician or medical technologist. Typical job duties include:

  • Performing tests to help physicians diagnose and treat diseases
  • Analyzing all types of body fluids and recording findings
  • Operating laboratory equipment and computerized instruments, such as microscopes and cell counters
  • Training and supervising other lab technicians
  • Maintaining a clean and sanitized work environment

Education requirements for a successful career in the health sciences depend heavily on an individual's ultimate career goals. Those seeking to become physicians, for example, will normally spend four years completing an undergraduate degree, followed by four years of medical school and, depending on the specialty, three to eight years of internship and residency programs. On the other hand, a career as a physician's assistant will normally require an undergraduate degree followed by two to three years of postgraduate study leading to a master's degree. Almost all professional careers in the health sciences mandate some level of postsecondary degree or certificate, with many requiring a master's degree.

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