Applied Health Science, B.S.

Program Overview

Are you driven by curiosity, creativity, and the desire to improve the health of others? Are you equally fascinated by the human body and the sciences? If so, applied health science may be the perfect path for you.

A major in applied health science equips you to implement scientific principles together with practical clinical experience toward improving quality of life for patients in the healthcare and fitness industries.

A PLNU Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Science prepares you for a rewarding professional career in the rapidly growing healthcare industry. You can use your degree as a springboard for graduate school in health-related fields.

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Early courses in kinesiology, chemistry, and biology will provide the framework for you to apply concepts toward analyzing human movement, designing interventions to prevent injury, and improving function. Advanced courses in biomechanics, exercise physiology, and pathology, as well as electives like therapeutic exercise, orthopedic assessment, or neuroscience will connect your passions for healthcare, fitness, and exercise into applicable coursework.

At the same time, you can look forward to relevant practical experience working closely with other students and professors in clinical environments. With a high emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning, you will find yourself immersed in internships with local hospitals — acute care or outpatient physical therapy, emergency rooms, primary care, pediatrics, cardiac rehabilitation, or Veteran's Administration hospitals — and clinics: sports medicine, medical offices, and outpatient surgery.

As an applied health science student, you are given the support and encouragement to achieve the following during your undergraduate years:

  • Targeting the graduate schools you are most interested in attending and understanding the prerequisites unique to those institutions
  • Completing a program that includes all necessary prerequisites for your targeted graduate schools
  • Taking part in internships tailored specifically for your interests
  • Engaging in original research with the faculty and students in the Department of Kinesiology
  • Requesting professor and/or supervising internship clinicians to write letters of recommendation
  • Participating in departmental and graduate school application seminars
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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

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Career Opportunities

Those considering health science as a career are entering into a field of exponential potential. The U.S. Department of Labor expects the job rate growth of health science occupations to outpace the national average of most industries over the next eight years. PLNU applied health science majors find great success in developing the strengths and experience needed in preparation for graduate school or credential programs. Whether you go into healthcare or research, PLNU’s applied health science degree will guide you with a background in applicable classroom experiences and skills.  

At PLNU, our Applied Health Science B.S. program focuses on two goals:

  • Preparing you to analyze human movement, design interventions to prevent injury, and improve function
  • Engaging you in original research with the faculty and students in the Department of Kinesiology

What do applied health science jobs look like post-graduation?

Employment in careers related to a degree in applied health science is projected to grow. For physical therapists (one of the careers pursued by graduates of the PLNU applied health science program), overall employment is projected to grow 18% from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

What are PLNU alumni doing with their degrees in applied health science?

As one of the most common degrees chosen by those aspiring for a pre-health track or medical school, an applied health science major offers students many resources on their educational journey, including references for volunteer/shadowing/research/internship opportunities and meetings with the pre-health advisor (just to name a few). As a result, 90% of PLNU students who have applied to health professions schools have been admitted. Alumni have combined their passion for health sciences and strong academic foundation into careers in pharmacology, biotechnology, biomechanics, and many others.

Some of the positions PLNU graduates currently hold:

Physical Therapist

2020 Median annual salary: $91,010

Physical therapists help injured, ill, or elderly people improve mobility and manage pain. They often play an important role in preventive care, rehabilitation, and treatment for patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries. They must be able-bodied and strong to help patients with limited mobility. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Physically strong to help lift patients or guide them in strengthening workouts
  • Knowledge of conditions and injuries to diagnose a patients’ functions and movements by observing them stand or walk and by listening to their concerns
  • Developing individualized plans of care for patients, outlining the patients’ goals and the expected outcomes of the plans
  • Knowledge of exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy, and equipment to ease patients’ pain
  • Strong writing to evaluate and record a patients’ progress
  • Communication to educate patients and their families about what to expect from the recovery process

Physician Assistant (PA)

2020 Median annual salary: $115,390

PAs practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers in a wide range of departments. They examine, diagnose, and treat patients. The work of physician assistants depends in large part on their specialty or the type of medical practice where they work. For example, a physician assistant working in surgery may close incisions and provide care before, during, and after the operation. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Knowledge to diagnose a patient’s injury or illness and to give the correct treatment
  • Communication to counsel patients and their families
  • Ability to assess and record a patient’s progress
  • Researching the latest treatments to ensure the quality of patient care
  • Physical fitness 
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Organization 

Chiropractor

2020 Median annual salary: $70,720

Chiropractors create care plans and therapy for patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They utilize spinal adjustments and manipulation, as well as other clinical interventions, to assuage patients’ health concerns, such as back and neck pain.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Physically strong to help lift patients or guide them in strengthening workouts
  • Knowledge of conditions and injuries to diagnose a patients’ functions and movements by observing them stand or walk and by listening to their concerns
  • Developing individualized plans of care for patients, outlining the patients’ goals and the expected outcomes of the plans
  • Experience with and application of exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy, and equipment to ease patients’ pain
  • Strong writing to evaluate and record a patients’ progress
  • Communication to educate patients and their families about what to expect from the recovery process

Occupational Therapist

2020 Median annual salary: $86,280

Occupational therapists work with a variety of patients in many different places, including the classroom, work environments, and mental health settings. They utilize intervention therapy, adaptive equipment (such as wheelchairs, eating aids, etc.), and teach basic skills (such as managing time, budgeting, etc.) in order to help their patients move and function on their own.  

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Communication to ask the patient questions and educate the patient’s family and employer about necessary accommodations
  • Organization to develop a treatment plan for patients, 
  • Goal-oriented to encourage their patients as they work toward improvement
  • Physically able to help people with various disabilities and for demonstrating exercises
  • Strong writer for assessing and recording patients’ activities and progress

Making a lasting impact on patients and families

Upon completion of PLNU’s Applied Health Science B.S., you will be equipped with knowledge of how to provide quality care and support in the medical field. This program prepares you with a versatile set of skills to flourish in a variety of settings within healthcare. 

If you’re ready to make an impact and begin your journey at PLNU, head to our contact form and get connected with one of our counselors. Or, you can apply today!    

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