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To health science or to health studies …. that is the career question to ask

It’s perfectly normal to be confused about the fields of Health Science and Health Studies. For many, the titles are often interchangeable, but they are most definitely quite different. Health science is the application of science to the improvement of human and animal health through scientific research. Health studies focuses on the promotion and education of community health and wellness.

A health science (A.S.) degree invariably follows a Science curriculum with lots of math, general chemistry, general biology, and anatomy and physiology, to name a few. It is intended for students interested in pursuing a job in health care, or degrees in areas such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, medicine, public health, hospital/health services administration, dentistry, optometry, nursing, veterinary medicine, medical dietetics, or transfer of study to a four-year college.

Health studies (A.A.S.) degree programs covers a broad range of topics such as introduction to allied health, introduction to patient care, professional ethics in allied health, and health care provider CPR; all which help you develop the skills in order to follow a career in health, social care, or health education. The different types of careers in health studies include community health worker, health promotion specialist, health information assistant, and medical office assistant, to name a few.

Personally, I was always intrigued with health science. Even as a young child, I was in awe with how the body worked and how Science applied to everything we do in life. Thanks to my health science degree, I have been provided a world of opportunities. My first endeavor included the development of a free clinic in Providence, Rhode Island. As a member of the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), I contributed my role in response to the World Trade Center attacks.

In Thailand, I had the opportunity to teach HIV/AIDS prevention to college-aged students to promote peer-to-peer education. And now at Fulton-Montgomery Community College (FM), I have the privilege of sharing my passion for health science with students.

Choosing a career that most interests you is extremely important. The health science seminar, for both health science and health studies programs, provides a service learning project, where you may find opportunities to get healthcare experience in your local hospital, doctor’s office, nursing home, or a mental health center. You may also explore work experience within a holistic health practice or even volunteering on a health project in a developing country, which may provide valuable career preparation.

If you are particularly compassionate and want to promote healthy lifestyles among individuals or within communities, or if you see yourself working to cure illness or providing medical relief to human and animal health, then perhaps you should consider a career in the healthcare industry. FM has two great programs to help you prepare for a career in the health industry, the health science (A.S.) and the health studies (A.A.S.).

Take your first step towards a career in the health industry by contacting (518) 736-FMCC (3622), Ext. 8301, or visit its website at FMCC.edu.  FM – Futures Made. Here!

Flor Maria Trespalacios is a science instructor at FM.