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Career Paths in Health Professions

The opportunities in health careers are as exciting as they are diverse. From forensic science to informatics to medicine, there is a health career that compliments your skills, engages your interests and puts your passion into practice.

The Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at Washington University Medical Campus, a center established in partnership between Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, offers insight into each of the seven health care professions represented within the center.

Learn more here.

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A few popular career and graduate studies paths include:

Physician (M.D.)

Medicine is a broad career path, often with physicians choosing a specialty during their training. There are two different paths to become a physician — getting a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or getting a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). For more information, visit aamc.org or aacom.org.

Our Bachelors of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Bachelor of Arts in Medical Humanities are all a great fit for students interested in this path.

Audiology

Audiologists are experts in the science of hearing, balance and related disorders. Clinical audiologists practice in a variety of settings and have the opportunity to specialize in a number of areas including pediatrics, geriatrics, balance, cochlear implants, hearing aids, tinnitus and auditory processing, to name a few. For more information, visit audiology.org.

Audiologists must earn a Doctor of Audiology from an accredited program and pass a national examination. Our Bachelor of Arts in Medical Humanities with an emphasis in Health Care Communication and our Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences are both an excellent fit to prepare for a career in audiology.

Chiropractic Medicine

Chiropractic care focuses on the relationship between the spine and nervous system and how that relationship affects a person’s overall health. An accredited chiropractic medicine program leads to a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.). For more information, visit chirocolleges.org.

A Doctor of Chiropractic from an accredited chiropractic medicine program must be obtained to practice. Our Bachelors of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Bachelor of Arts in Medical Humanities are all great majors to prepare you for this path.

Dentistry

With advances in dental research and the continued development of new tools and techniques, dentistry is a dynamic career. Dentists are at the forefront of new developments from dental implants to computer-generated imaging and are integral in the early detection of oral cancer among other conditions of the mouth. For more information, visit adea.org.

In order to be accepted into an accredited dental school, you will need to take the American Dental Association’s Dental Admission Test. After obtaining your doctoral degree, you may choose to pursue an internship or residency. Our Bachelors of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences are both great options in preparing for a career in dentistry.

Through a partnership with A.T. Still University Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health, students at the University benefit from having three reserved interview invitations per academic year for the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) program.

Learn more about the Dental Medicine program.

Nursing

From entry-level practitioner to doctoral-level researcher, nursing provides many career opportunities. Nurses are integral in the promotion of health, disease prevention and helping patients cope with illness. After a three-year registered nurse degree, you will be equipped to enter the workforce, or may continue to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing or doctoral program. For more information, visit aacnnursing.org.

To be a registered nurse, you must first obtain your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Students can earn their BSN through a dual enrollment partnership between the University and Goldfrab School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College.

Learn more about our Bachelor of Nursing program.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists have the opportunity to work in a variety of practice settings, as they help people of all ages to fully engage in their daily lives. From premature babies in a pediatric hospital to older patients in their own homes or nursing homes, an occupational therapist has an ever expanding list of specialties at their disposal. For more information, visit aota.org.

Through a partnership with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis students can take advantage of two pathways to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in occupational therapy (OT).

Students at University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis benefit from preferred admission into the School of Medicine’s OT program. Through the University’s partnership with the School of Medicine, you also are able to integrate the final year of your undergraduate degree with the first year of the Master of Science (M.S.) or Clinical Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD).

You have the option of completing one of two pathways:

  • “3+2” Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
  • “3+3” Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Learn more about the Occupational Therapy program.

Optometry

"A high cure rate, regular hours, good pay and realistic potential for being successfully self-employed" make optometry one of the most rewarding careers, according to U.S. News & World Report. With new technologies the field continues to advance, expand its scope and improve its efficiency benefiting both patients and practitioners. For more information, visit aoa.org.

After completing at least three years of undergraduate study, you will have to take the Optometry Admission Test before applying to an accredited optometry school. With a Doctor of Optometry in hand, you will then need to pass the licensure exam in order to practice. Ideal majors to pursue this career include our Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Sciences with an emphasis in Health Sciences.

Pharmacy

Pharmacists play an important role in helping people live their healthiest possible lives, whether they practice in a hospital or in the community setting. Consistently ranked as one of the best jobs in the U.S., pharmacists take pride in their accessibility and strong patient relations. The field is dynamic with many opportunities to specialize from veterinary medicine to oncology. For more information, visit aacp.org.

Through our Doctor of Pharmacy with integrated Bachelor of Science program, you will be prepared to pursue a residency or jump headfirst into a fulfilling career in pharmacy. Our Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences is a perfect match to prepare you for professional school.

Learn more about our Doctor of Pharmacy program.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists diagnose and treat patients of all ages with conditions that limit their abilities to move and engage their daily lives. They practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, fitness centers and more. For more information, visit apta.org.

To practice as a physical therapist, you must obtain your Doctor of Physical Therapy and pass a state licensure exam. Ideal majors to prepare you for this career path are our Bachelors of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences. The University also has a standing partnership with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that guarantees our graduates admission into their 3-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program, as long as all requirements are met.

Learn more about the Physical Therapy program.

Physician Assistant

A physician assistant plays a key role in providing high-quality health care. They are health care practitioners who are licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease, as well as prescribe medication to patients, while collaborating with a licensed physician. For more information, visit aapa.org.

You must graduate from an accredited physician assistant program, pass the national certification exam and become licensed in the state you wish to practice. Our Bachelors of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences are great degrees to prepare you for a physician assistant program.

Podiatry

Podiatrists focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of foot disorders. They may perform surgery, administer medications and prescribe physical therapy regimens. Because of the complex relationship the foot has with the rest of the body, podiatrists are often the first to detect serious health conditions such as diabetes. Podiatrists may work in a variety of settings including municipal health departments, private practices and hospitals, among others. For more information, visit aacpm.org.

To practice as a podiatrist, you must obtain your Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, followed by residency training. Our Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences with an emphasis in Health Sciences, as well as our Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences are great majors to prepare you for an accredited podiatric medical college.

Public Health

The field of public health covers a wide spectrum of professions, all with the goal of creating healthy communities through education, research and promotion of healthy lifestyles. Public health experts are key in emergency preparedness and response, which has spurred growth in the field. Careers in public health offer diverse opportunities in many sectors from federal to private to nongovernmental organizations. For more information, visit apha.org.

The most common degrees for this career path are Master of Public Health and Master of Health Administration. Our Bachelors of Arts in Global Humanities or Medical Humanities, as well as our Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Chemistry will build an ideal foundation to pursue the degrees necessary for a career in public health.

In Fall 2021, the University will offer a new master's degree in Global Health and Equity.

Learn more about our master's program in Global Health and Equity.

Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary medicine is a career with many paths and societal impacts. The demand for veterinarians with postgraduate education in specialties such as molecular biology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, immunology, diagnostic pathology or environmental medicine is rising. To practice, veterinarians must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) from an accredited college of veterinary medicine and be licensed. For more information, visit aavmc.org.

The curricula for our Bachelors of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences are great preparation for your continued studies at an accredited college of veterinary medicine.

For a more complete list of health careers, visit explorehealthcareers.org

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