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Careers in Health Care

Explore a career in health sciences

While most people are familiar with doctors and nurses, the health science professions actually comprise more than 60 percent of the entire health care work force and are essential to patient care and research.

Physical therapists, dietitians, business professionals and laboratory scientists, among others, make up the approximately two million professionals employed in the United States today. These essential components of the health care delivery system span more than 200 distinct disciplines.

physical therapist works with client on resistance training

At the University of Kansas, the School of Health Professions was formed to bring additional support and emphasis for a wide variety of emerging and existing programs in the health sciences.

The term "allied health" refers to an extremely diverse collection of fields in health care. In addition to medicine and nursing, "allied health" usually excludes the disciplines of dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, and pharmacy. However, there is some inconsistency in the placement of these programs in schools across the country – health science programs may be found in a school of "allied health", school of "health sciences" or may even be found in a school of medicine, education, nursing, or other academic units.

The demand for professionals in these fields has never been higher – therefore job availability is excellent. Of the 30 fastest growing occupations, 14 are in health care-related fields according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Continued advances in health sciences ensure exciting careers and offer opportunities to make a lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Is a career in health care for you?

male student looking into microscopeThere are many considerations when selecting or changing careers. Students intersted in the health sciences but perhaps unsure about what type of program to pursue should consider the following:

  1. What are my aptitudes for math and science? Do I enjoy working with people? Do I prefer to work behind the scenes in a lab or office? The answer to these questions will help you decide if you should look into therapy-related fields or more technical, business or laboratory-related ones.

  2. What are my educational goals? Since these programs vary greatly in terms of length of educational programs, carefully consider how much time you are willing to dedicate to your studies. Some programs are year-long certificates, while others are full bachelor’s level programs and beyond. Many health care professions require a master’s level degree or higher.

  3. How can an entry-level degree in a health care program help me achieve my long-term goals? Maybe your long-term goal is medical school or entails an advanced degree at another educational institution. An undergraduate degree from the KU School of Health Professions may set you on a path to success. For example, a degree in clinical laboratory science provides terrific career opportunities, and is also a great “pre-med” degree as well.

About health care degree options available from the School of Health Professions

Graduates from the school have gone on to a wide array of careers in health care, from clincians directly working with patients to laboratory scientists studying cells with highly specialized equipment.

Others enter business, administration, higher education, research and so much more. Job opportunities in health care are projected to grow faster than that of other fields over the next decade. Here are a few of the many disciplines available at KU:

 Diagnostic Sonographer


Health Information Manager

Medical Laboratory Scientist

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nurse Anesthetist

Occupational Therapist

Physical Therapist

Respiratory Therapist

To learn more about health care careers available at the KU School of Health Professions, see our academic programs list or to find out more about health professions, visit the national organization’s web site.

Find your own rewarding and exciting career while making a lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of others!

Watch the short videos below to learn about health care careers available at the University of Kansas.

Dietetics and Nutrition
photo of baby drinking from bottle
Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
photo of two female workers inserting an instrument into the ear of a man
Nurse Anesthesia
photo of a man in the simulator operating room looking at supplies
Clinical Laboratory Science
photo of woman in lab handling culture plate
Occupational Therapy
photo of young boy wearing goggles at the pool
Respiratory Care
photo of basketball players on the court during a game
Physical Therapy
photo of instructor with femal student applying force to the back of a person lying down
Health Information Management
About the School of Health Professions
photo of two people observing students in the skills lab using video monitors

Additional information for prospective students

Last modified: Dec 15, 2020

Looking for a Job?

The Kansas Recruitment Center of Rural Health Education and Services is a great resource for students seeking jobs in health care, particularly in underserved and rural Kansas. Job Listings

clinical laboratory scientist at microscope

Learn more about exciting careers in health care!

Career One Stop
Identify your interests, explore careers and find educational resources at this site sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor.
Free information on health careers, enrichment programs & educational funding for minority and low income students. Great resource for students interested in health care, including careers offered by the KU School of Health Professions.

The NIH Office of Science Education provides an excellent guide about health professions plus college preparation tips and salary potential data.