Healthcare is in need, more than ever, of well-educated leaders. For those who wish to become managers, researchers, educators, and experts, a Doctor of Health Science (DHSc) can open the doors of opportunity. DHSc graduates are capable of working at the uppermost levels of the health and wellness field. But what exactly can you do with a Doctor of Health Science degree? Here is an introduction to this degree path as well as a selection of prospective careers graduates may consider.
What is a Doctor of Health Science?
A Doctor of Health Science degree (DHSc) prepares graduates for a career in health leadership. Those who pursue a DHSc are prepared in similar ways to those who earn a Ph.D.; however, DHSc students benefit from more flexibility and practical training. The DHSc can be completed in three years, whereas a Ph.D. can take up to six years to complete, allowing for faster entry into the professional world. Additionally, a DHSc prepares students for a more varied career path than a Ph.D. (Career paths will be discussed further on.) This variety is supported in two ways: through the selection of concentration areas, and a highly specialized curriculum.
The core coursework in the Doctor of Health Science program is designed to give students foundational knowledge of the healthcare system, nationally and globally, as well as the issues facing our systems today. Students also learn research and analysis methods that are vital to the Health Sciences. Core DHSc courses include:
- Introduction to the U.S. Healthcare System
- Research Methods for the Health Sciences
- Global Health Issues
- Fundamentals of Clinical Trials
- Healthcare Informatics
- Data Analysis and Interpretation
Focal Concentration Areas
Building off of the core DHSc curriculum, students may select a concentration area to guide their specialization. Concentrations include the Clinician Track, Education Track, and Clinical Nutrition Track. Each specialized track requires 12 credits of dedicated coursework. They are as follows:
- Advanced Disease Processes and Treatment
- Lifestyle and Health Issues
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Integrative and Complementary Medicine
- Teaching in the Health Professions
- Educational Assessment
- Curriculum and Syllabus Development in Higher Education
- Pedagogy and Teaching Strategies for College Instructors
Clinical Nutrition Track
- Advanced Clinical Nutrition I, II, III, and IV
Additionally, students in the DHSc program must select from a variety of elective credits and complete a dissertation and seminar. Electives may be selected from the following: Infectious Diseases, Medical Toxicology, Comparative Healthcare Systems, Principles of Health Policy and Management, among others.
What You Can Do with a Doctor of Health Science
As you can see, the Doctor of Health Science degree is a highly specialized and versatile career path. While those who graduate with a DHSc are qualified to work in higher education as scholars, researchers, and professors, many choose to pursue work in roles that benefit the health outcomes of their community. Using the training gained in the DHSc program, students are able to provide evidence-based care and leadership. If you’ve wondered, “What can you do with a Doctor of Health Science Degree,” here are just a few options available after graduation.
1. Medical and Health Services Manager
Medical and health service managers (sometimes called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators) plan, direct, coordinate, and manage medical and health services. They may manage an entire healthcare facility, a medical department or
clinical area, or a medical practice. Through their work, they improve both the efficiency and quality of care provided to patients. They may also work with clinicians to develop and meet departmental goals, hire and train new staff members, and organize facility records.
The median annual wage for medical managers is $104,280 per year. Salary can depend on experience as well as education level. To enter this career, a master’s degree is the common, minimum educational requirement. Those entering this role can be gladdened to learn that employment in this career is expected to grow by 32% over the next ten years.
2. Health Educator
Health educators teach individuals and communities about health behaviors and illness. They may work to assess the health needs of a specific community and develop programs, materials, and events to teach people about pressing health concerns. They may also work to manage existing conditions within the community. Those who hold a doctorate may be employed to evaluate the effectiveness of a program and may oversee a team of patient advocates. Using their training in research, they may collect and analyze data to learn more about a particular community and improve health services in the area.
The median annual wage for community health educators can vary, but can reach upwards of $101,890 per year. Salary can depend on education level, location, and level of experience. For example, health specialties professors in postsecondary education earn a median salary of $99,090 per year. With a Doctor of Health Science, you can expect to qualify for high-level and high-paying career outcomes.
3. Clinical Researcher
While it is possible to work in the field of clinical research with a master’s degree, those who hold a Doctorate in Health Science are qualified to lead a clinical research team. Clinical researchers conduct research in the laboratory to test the safety and efficacy of drugs, vaccines, supplements, and medical devices. They may test new medical treatments and use testing to develop new treatments. Those who lead clinical research teams are charged with maintaining an ethical and regulated research environment.
The average salary for a clinical researcher is $112,044 per year. The top 20% of clinical researchers can earn upwards of $200,000 per year.
A Doctorate in Health Science can prepare graduates to fill roles that are fundamentally important to the success of healthcare workers and the health outcomes of patients.
The coursework and research completed during the course of the DHSc degree trains students to become clinicians, researchers, educators, and more. With their expertise, DHSc graduates can have a positive impact on the wellness of their community. If a career working in the lab or in a medical facility interests you, consider pursuing a DHSc rather than a Ph.D.
Are you ready to pursue a Doctor of Health Science? Start your application for University of Bridgeport’s online DHSc program today!