Why Study Health Science?

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Health science professionals have a huge impact on our daily lives, and work in roles that apply science to health-related issues. What does that mean? Some health science professionals, like sonographers, run ultrasounds so parents-to-be can see the first images of their newest family member. Dentists and dental technicians set braces on a kid’s teeth, and walk them through what getting used to braces is like. Occupational therapists help people rebuild strength and mobility after an injury, helping their patients live with more independence. 

Whether you’re passionate about community care or technological innovation (or both), there are tons of great reasons to study health science! We’ll dive into some of those reasons below.

Looking for specific program ideas? Check out these popular health science programs in Canada and the United Kingdom.

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What is Working in Health Sciences Like? 

Different careers in health science set grads up to administer vaccines, study diseases, provide elder care, or be a calm hand in emergency situations as a paramedic or surgeon. 

Some professionals work in clinical places, like hospitals and pharmacies, where others work in non-clinical spaces like a seniors’ centre or in a patient’s home. 

Note: “Health science” can also refer to a program at some academic institutions where students study health issues, science, math, and technology. In this article, we’re looking at it in a broader sense.

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How Do I Choose What to Study?

If you’re an international student considering a career in health sciences, think about the work you’d like to do and what your ideal work space looks like. How you answer can help you find your best fit. Students might be tempted to enter one program over another because of its average graduate salary ranges. But remember, you’ll spend a third of each week (or more) at your job, which is a lot of your life. Try to consider fields you enjoy and which pay your bills: Your future mental and physical health will thank you.

When considering academic institutions, it’s vital to look at the advantages of different programs, too. Some have placements or co-ops where you can gain work experience. Others may offer research projects where you’ll work with top scientists. 

Also, consider how much you like working directly with patients. Love it? A clinical role could be a great fit. Or, would you prefer some space? Non-clinical roles range from pharmaceutical developer to x-ray tech to epidemiologist. These roles spend more time on data analysis and research.

What’s a co-op like, versus a placement? Learn about work-integrated learning opportunities on our blog.

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Join an In-Demand Field

Did you know that by 2025, there will be an estimated shortage of 150,000 full-time physicians in the United States? This lack of doctors will have a negative impact on the health of communities across America, and in other countries with similar shortages. The average age in Canada and the United States also continues to rise as baby boomers retire. These aging groups will need more support from the health care sector. Also, after the challenges of Covid-19 saw many health care workers retire, new grads in this field are in high demand. 

In response, some countries created special post-graduation work opportunities for international student grads in certain health fields. This can make getting work experience easier and facilitate permanent residency.

Earlier this year, our ApplyInsights team looked at how top destination countries are addressing a worker shortage in the health care industryBelow are a few highlights:

  • In the UK, the Skilled Worker visa includes 15 health and education occupations.
  • The UK Graduate immigration route allows international students who earned a degree in the UK to stay and work at any skill level for two years, or up to three years for doctoral students. 
  • In September 2022, Australia announced a post-study work rights extension. It allows qualified graduates to work in Australia for an additional two years on the Temporary Graduate visa. Eligible fields are likely to include nursing and other health sciences programs, as Australia has a health-care worker shortage.
  • Vacancies in the healthcare and social assistance industries made up 16% of all Canadian job vacancies from January 2020–June 2021. Some health sciences graduates may qualify for immigration through Canada’s Express Entry program. It allows skilled workers in specific fields to apply for rapid permanent residency.

Learn how top study abroad countries are encouraging international students to study and work in health care.

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Help Others Live Their Best Lives

While every generation wants their work to have meaning, Generation Z (students born between 1995 and 2010) value community or global impact when they choose where to work. So, if you want to support the physical or mental health of others in your community—or around the world—consider a career in health science!

If you study health science, you’ll gain the tools you’ll need to help others heal, grow, and thrive. Your work life will look very different depending on the path you choose. If you’re a family doctor, you’ll have a regular roster of patients, supporting them through different life events. Or, if you become a dietitian, you’ll work with a wider variety of patients for a shorter time. 

From managing hospitals to analyzing blood samples, health science professionals ensure our health care institutions, the teams working there, and the patients they see receive current and compassionate care.

Considering programs in multiple countries? Check out our blogs on how to choose where to study in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Working in the health sciences field isn’t for everyone. To specialize in medicine, you’ll take seven years of post-secondary education. Hours can be long in some health sciences careers. In others, you’ll need the strength to support people on their worst days. 

So, why do students like you choose to study health science? Whether to make a difference in their community, save lives, push the boundaries of innovation, or work with similarly passionate coworkers, there are as many reasons as there are health science workers. We hope that this post inspired you to consider a health science program! Next, watch for our blog on why studying health science in Canada is a great idea.

Ready to study abroad? Contact ApplyBoard for international study resources and support.


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