College Overview: Health & Rehabilitation Sciences

Most of the time, when students are interested
in health professions, they primarily think of familiar career fields like medicine, dentistry,
nursing, or pharmacy. And while those are very important professions, there are many
other careers in health that you may not have considered. The School of Health and Rehabilitation
Sciences, which is housed in the OSU College of Medicine and offers a several undergraduate
majors, focuses on some of these. People who work in the health and rehabilitation field
make up 60% of the total healthcare workforce. They provide a range of services, including
diagnostics, therapy and direct patient care that are critical to the other health professionals
they work with and the patients they serve. There are a total of seven undergraduate majors
available within HRS: Athletic Training, Health Information Management & Systems, Health Sciences,
Medical Dietetics, Medical Laboratory Science (which has two specializations, Medical Science
and Medical Technology Certification), Radiologic Sciences and Therapy (which has three specializations,
Radiography, Sonography and Radiation Therapy), and Respiratory Therapy.
The Athletic Training major prepares students to be licensed athletic trainers when they
graduate with their Bachelor of Science degree. Athletic Trainers are expert practitioners
of sports medicine. They treat competitive athletes in professional, college, and high
school sports as well as other physically active people. They work side by side with
physicians, and they specialize in the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic
injuries. The Athletic Training major incorporates both classroom and clinical experience. In
order to be licensed as an Athletic Training professional, you must pass a rigorous national
certification exam. Once admitted to the major, students complete
rotations with over 1100 student athletes from 38 varsity level sports teams, and they
have the opportunity to work with other healthcare professionals who are a part of the OSU Sports
Medicine Team. For more information about the profession of athletic training, we encourage
you to visit the website for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
The Health Information Management & Systems major provides students with education and
training related to business and healthcare, so that they have the skills necessary to
manage the people and systems used to collect, store, retrieve, interpret, and communicate
healthcare data. Some of the curriculum topics include management principles, finance, ethical
and legal issues, and professional and lab experience. Work environments include hospitals,
managed care organizations, long term care facilities, home health agencies, state and
federal government, behavioral healthcare, insurance companies, and private practice
offices. With an increasing emphasis on healthcare communication, specifically reducing medical
errors and duplicative care, the role of the HIMS professional is vital to the healthcare
industry. For more information about the profession of health information management, we invite
you to visit the website for the American Health Information Management Association.
The Health Sciences major provides students with a strong academic background in the field
of healthcare generally. Unlike most of the other HRS majors, Health Sciences does not
lead to certification or licensure in a particular profession. However, graduates are prepared
for entry level positions in healthcare or for graduate and professional school in areas
such as medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, nursing, public health, occupational therapy,
business and more. The Medical Dietetics major prepares students
to sit for the National Registration Examination in order to become registered dieticians.
Registered Dieticians assess a person’s nutritional status and make recommendations
about food choice which can impact fitness, health and disease treatment. Registered Dieticians
work in a variety of settings including sports nutrition, food service and restaurants, hospitals,
outpatient clinics, business and industry, private practice, government, colleges and
universities, public health programs, and in research. Registered Dieticians use their
knowledge to provide education and information so that others can live healthier lives.
The Medical Laboratory Science major has two specializations: Medical Science and Medical
Technology Certification. The medical science track trains students in the pathophysiology
of laboratory diagnostics without actually teaching the students to perform the laboratory
procedures. This provides for more flexibility when scheduling other courses that may be
electives or prerequisites for professional school. This is a great major for students
who are strongly considering medical school or other graduate programs in the health professions
such as nursing, physician assisting, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and optometry.
The medical technology certification track prepares students to become certified medical
laboratory scientists. When students graduate from the program, they have the opportunity
to take the Medical Lab Scientist certification exam. In preparation for this exam, students
complete an internship in a clinical setting in which they get the opportunity to practice
their lab skills. Medical technologists generally work in five primary areas of lab testing
which include blood blanking, chemistry, hematology, immunology, and microbiology. Some of the
more common work environments include clinical laboratories, quality control, public health,
environmental health, fertility clinics, forensic labs, research labs, and industry.
The Radiologic Sciences & Therapy major has three specializations, Radiography, Radiation
Therapy, and Sonography. The Radiography specialization trains students to use highly complex machinery
to take quality x-rays and images of the internal parts of the body, to be used by physicians
for diagnostic interpretation. Radiographers may be involved in a variety of procedures
including fluoroscopy, vascular imaging, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
and mammography. The Radiation Therapy specialization trains
students to record and interpret radiologic information and administer various forms of
radiation treatment, which is primarily used to treat cancer. Radiation therapists are
an integral part of the cancer treatment team. The Sonography specialization trains students
to use highly specialized equipment to create images of structures inside the human body
that are used by physicians to make a medical diagnosis. The procedure itself uses sound
waves to produce visual images of the organs, tissue and blood flow inside the body. Sonographers
may examine several parts of the body including the abdomen, breasts, male and female reproductive
system, prostate, heart and blood vessels. The Respiratory Therapy major trains students
to perform cardiopulmonary diagnostic procedures, calculate and assess test results, and to
participate in the development of a respiratory care plan. Respiratory therapists treat patients
with disorders such as asthma, emphysema, trauma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, sleep
apnea, and infant prematurity. Respiratory Therapists use a variety of complex machines,
including ventilators, nebulizers, heart and lung machines, treadmills, and defibrillators.
Some of the more common work environments include pediatric critical care units, cardiopulmonary
rehabilitation centers, emergency departments, sleep disorder centers, community hospitals,
and other types of clinics. Students who thrive in the School of Health
and Rehabilitation Sciences possess a variety of characteristics, including a desire to
help others, a desire to work in a healthcare setting, an interest in learning a specific
technical skill set that can be applied immediately when entering the workforce, the ability to
maintain ethical and legal responsibility toward patients and the healthcare profession,
a desire to develop leadership, and an interest in being an integral part of the healthcare
team. All of the majors within the School of Health
and Rehabilitation Sciences have a competitive admissions process: they require a minimum
merged GPA of 2.5 in order to be eligible for admission, they require certain prerequisite
coursework – which varies by major – to be completed before admission, and they require
an application process which in some cases includes observation hours, a personal statement,
and/or an interview with faculty members. Although a 2.5 GPA is the minimum to be eligible,
historically students who are admitted to these majors have an average GPA between 3.4
and 3.5. Applications are recommended during a student’s first year if a student is eligible
and has completed the admission prerequisite requirements. For some of the programs, applications
will continue to be accepted during the second year. Most HRS majors have highly-structured
curricula, so it is important to decide on them early in your undergraduate career. If
you’re interested in one or more HRS majors, we strongly encourage you to consult with
an advisor to determine the application cycle for your program of interest and make sure
you’re scheduling courses appropriately. With the exception of Health Sciences, all
of the majors accept applications once per year and for most of the programs, the curriculum
in the major begins during the Autumn term. Health Sciences admits for both Autumn and
Spring. You can access the application through the Ohio State’s Professional Admissions
website. In addition to the actual majors, the School
of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences also has a pre-major option for interested students
who are confident of pursuing an HRS major but not yet eligible to apply. Students who
have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and have completed at least 12 hours at OSU are
eligible to switch into the pre-major. To change majors or meet with an HRS advisor,
you must complete the online Major Information Session available on the HRS website. As always,
you are welcome to meet with any advisor in University Exploration if you have follow-up
questions. You can schedule an appointment by calling 614-292-0646 or by stopping by
our office in 352 Denney Hall.

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