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Online Health Science Degrees in Florida: Best Programs in 2024

Online health science degrees in Florida offer a high-quality yet flexible and affordable education to help you reach your academic and personal goals. But what schools offer the best programs? Find out below.

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Working in healthcare is a personally (and financially) rewarding career path. For many Floridians, that professional journey starts with a health science degree online in Florida. A health science program provides foundational knowledge of sciences like biology and anatomy, as well as the skills you need to communicate health and wellness recommendations with the public.

This degree is valuable throughout the United States, but especially in Florida where the demand for healthcare workers remains extremely high. In fact, Florida’s share of healthcare workers is one of the highest in the nation, alongside Texas, California, and New York, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

If you’re interested in becoming one of these essential workers by pursuing an online health science degree in Florida, you’ve come to the right place. This guide details the best programs in the state, how to set yourself up for professional success, free resources, and more.

Program Profiles: Health Science Degrees Online in FL

Getting a degree in health sciences is great, but getting that health science degree online in Florida is even better. Top programs provide you with unparalleled convenience and flexibility, making it easier to balance your studies with your personal and professional obligations without shelling out a fortune on transportation costs.

Regardless of these many benefits, all online programs are not created equal. Before applying for an online health science degree in Florida, consider the program’s accreditation, academic rigor, and affordability. The three schools below rank highly in all three and can be used as a quality barometer when evaluating a health science degree online in Florida.

Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University hosts a high-quality online Bachelor of Health Science degree in Florida. The program is geared toward undergraduates who would like to continue their education with a doctorate in occupational or physical therapy after graduating from this program. Because of this, the program’s curriculum focuses heavily on anatomy, kinesiology, and other health sciences. Students also take courses in healthcare policy the American healthcare system. The program also has a research component, including an introductory research course and a final senior seminar.

Students can take 15 credit hours of electives in topics like health and human sexuality, transcultural healthcare, health communities, and healthcare technology. In order to graduate, students must complete a service-learning requirement, which may provide them the chance to work directly with communities on public health initiatives. While some lower-level courses may need to be taken in person, all upper-level courses are available online.

University of South Florida

The University of South Florida’s 100% online master’s program was designed for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in health science or a related field and can be completed in as few as four semesters. The degree may take longer to complete if students attend the program on a part-time basis.

For added flexibility, the program’s online courses are taught asynchronously — instead of logging into a virtual classroom at a set time, students complete their coursework on their own schedule. Because the program is interdisciplinary, it covers subjects in healthcare ethics, immunology, pathology, microbiology, genetics, pharmacology, among other health science topics. This approach prepares students for a wide range of healthcare careers after graduation.

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida’s Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences teaches students how to cultivate positive health outcomes for individuals, communities, and organizations. Its curriculum consists of general courses — such as medical terminology and gerontology — as well as courses geared toward helping students find a career, including a Career Essentials for Healthcare course. Students also take electives in areas of interest to them. Electives are often available in clinical research, health information, and environmental health. While the program is hosted online, students can collaborate with their peers through synchronous class discussions and group projects. These group projects explore real-world issues, preparing students for their future careers. To help offset the cost of the program, the University of West Florida offers a robust financial aid program, including scholarships and grants.

What to Look for in Florida Health Science Programs

As we’ve discussed, affordability and academic rigor are important factors when choosing a health science degree online in Florida, but they aren’t the only ones. You should also consider whether the faculty’s teaching methods and research align with your interests and whether the school offers student support services.

Accreditation, alumni networks, community partnerships, and research opportunities should also help you determine whether an online health science degree in Florida is right for you. Keep reading for a breakdown of these four factors further and schools that offer each.

Accreditation

Without accreditation other academic institutions and employers may not recognize your degree. Usually, you want to look for a university with regional accreditation. The most common regional accrediting body for an online health science degree in Florida is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

School Spotlight: University of South Florida

Alumni Network & Employment Outcomes

To expand your career opportunities, look for a program that emphasizes professional development. Strong alumni networks and employment outcomes are good indicators that a health science degree online in Florida prioritizes students’ professional lives. Partnerships with local hospital systems and Florida health companies can also be good indicators. Many strong programs list statistics on the employment outcomes of recent graduates on their websites.

School Spotlight: University of West Florida

Community Outreach & Partnerships

Health science is a field rooted in community. Whether you want to educate the public, develop wellness programs, or conduct public health research, your future career will most likely involve community outreach. To prepare students, a quality online health science degree in Florida will include community outreach efforts with partner organizations. These could be part of the curriculum in the form of a capstone project with a community partner, or through an extracurricular organization.

School Spotlight: Florida Gulf Coast University

Research Opportunities & Innovation

While most health science graduates work in community health or a related field, some conduct research in the health sciences. Even in public-facing roles, it’s important to understand how research works so you can convey findings to the community and project stakeholders. As such, a health science degree online in Florida should offer courses in research methods as well as opportunities for students to conduct their own original research or help faculty with theirs.

School Spotlight: University of Central Florida

After Graduation: Prepare & Prosper in the FL Health Science Sector

Completing an online health science degree in Florida is a crucial step toward career success, but it isn’t the only one. You’ll also want to continue your education, receive additional certifications, and pursue additional licensure to stay competitive in the Florida health sector.

Continuing Education & Skill Development

The health sciences change quickly and as a professional in this industry, it will be important to keep up. This includes continuing your education both informally and formally. Informally, graduates of online health science degree programs in Florida can read the most popular books on health science or listen to public health podcasts. Formally, they can join professional organizations that offer educational seminars, such as the Florida Hospital Association.

Certifications

If you want to continue your education but don’t want to commit to another full degree, you should consider completing additional certifications. Popular health science certifications in the state include the University of Florida’s Certificate in Health Outcomes and Implementation Science; Florida International University’s Certificate in Health Humanities; and St. Petersburg College’s Certificate in Health Care Services.

Certifications can typically be completed in just one to two semesters and cover a specific area of health science, such as health education or wellness coaching. Since they are more specialized, they are also ideal for graduates with an online health science degree in Florida who want to gain expertise in a particular topic.

Licensure

While there is no formal health science license in Florida, there are specific roles within health science that require a practitioners to be licensed. These include 911 telecommunicators, paramedics, and telehealth specialists. Those working in clinical laboratory settings also need to be licensed through the Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel.

Visit the Florida Department of Health website for a complete list of health science careers that require licensure in Florida.

Salary & Career Outlook for Health Science Graduates in Florida

Graduates with a health science degree online in Florida are prepared to work in many fields including community education, public health, health science research, and healthcare administration. They are often hired by nonprofits, hospital systems, government organizations, and health insurance companies to fill a variety of roles in the healthcare sector.

Although many career possibilities exist for graduates of online health science degree programs in Florida, most are employed as community health workers. As such, the data for this position provides a good generalization of what to expect financially after completing your program. If — like so many of your peers — you choose to become a community health worker, you’ll be glad to hear that these workers are in a much higher demand than average in Florida, as shown in the table below.

AreaOccupationBase (2022)Projection (2032)ChangePercent ChangeAverage Annual Openings
FloridaCommunity Health Workers2,6203,14052019.8%350

Source: Projections Central

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, community health workers in Florida make $47,720 per year on average, though this can vary with experience level and location. For a better idea of how geography can impact your salary, check out the table below. Here we’ve highlighted the average salaries in Florida as well as in highly populated areas like Miami and Jacksonville.

Area10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Florida$29,470$39,770$71,320
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL$30,440$39,400$61,330
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL$27,920$48,040$70,410
Gainesville, FL$23,770$36,950$72,410
Jacksonville, FL$28,200$38,440$76,950
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL$30,130$39,840$76,950
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL$29,990$38,830$49,820
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL$30,640$48,580$61,860
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL$30,090$46,700$101,800
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL$28,320$44,190$72,010
Tallahassee, FL$26,370$38,520$56,560

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Resources & Support for Florida Health Science Students

Getting a health science degree online in Florida can be an overwhelming process, but you don’t have to complete it alone. Many organizations, resources, and scholarships are available in Florida to help you succeed financially, academically, and professionally. We’ve rounded up 15 of the best for you to explore below.

Academic

Financial

Professional

  • Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) – APIC provides networking events for professionals in epidemiology and infection control as well as resources to help them continue their education.
  • Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel – if you want to work in a clinical laboratory setting, this board provides information on licensure; resources; continuing education requirements; and more.
  • Florida Department of Health – Want to earn your license in a specific field or learn more about continuing education requirements in Florida? Check out the Florida Department of Health’s website.
  • Florida Hospital Association – This organization provides hospital workers with access to educational webinars, networking events, and information on how to tackle different healthcare issues, from retaining healthcare workers to improving rural healthcare systems.
  • Professional Resource Network – This organization was created by the State of Florida’s Impaired Practitioners Programs to help support the wellbeing of healthcare workers and improve their access to resources on continuing education, licensure requirements, and more.